Sakura and Snow


Author's notes - Prologue:

The flashback sequences are taken from Rika Takahashi's translation of the Subaru character file CD.


Author's notes - Chapter 1:

On batarei ya sowaka is a chant that Subaru used during the opening credit sequence of the first OAV. It seemed to be sort of a lead-in to his actual summoning of a ghost, so I’m using it as a power-building chant here.

On nama samanta, etc. I borrowed from a poem by Gary Snyder. The poem is called “Spel against Demons”<sic>, and in context the line reads:

He who saves tortured intelligent demons and filth-eating
hungry ghosts, his spel is

As you can see, I adapted it a little to match Subaru’s other spells.

I think mitsu-in translates as something like “esoteric gesture”; it’s something like a mudra or meditative/power gesture. The “seed-syllable” or “Om” (rendered “on” in Japanese), is the primal sound, the word that signals the begining of creation. Ofuda are the cards that Subaru and Seishirou use in their spells and to create the spirit constructs known as shikigami.

Seishirou, by the way, is drinking plum wine in this chapter. (I don’t have a clue what music he’s listening to, though.)



Author's notes - Chapter 3:

The first song that Seishirou listens to is Enigma’s “Return to Innocence”; see also Kristin Huntsman’s fanfic of the same name. The second one ought to be obvious enough to X-fen, but it’s “Forever,” the end theme of the X movie. And an enka is a melancholy genre of Japanese song, supposedly listened to usually by older people. From what I’ve heard, it’s apparently their cultural equivalent of the country-western “my wife left me, the dog died, and now I’m crying in my beer” kind of song.

Mrs. Nakamura’s name and general cluelessness (although nothing else about the character) were borrowed from Mimi Zhou’s fanfic “The Strange Case of Dr. Seishirou/Sakurazukamori.”



Author's notes - Chapter 4:


The genkan is the step down in the entryway of a Japanese home where people take off and leave their shoes.



Author's notes - Chapter 5:

"Nukume dori" is a Japanese painting subject for the month of December. It shows a falcon holding a small bird in its claws. However, the falcon doesn't intend to eat the bird--merely to use it as a foot warmer so that its talons don't get cold. When the next morning comes, the falcon lets the bird go, and as a reward doesn't hunt in the direction that the bird has taken until a day has passed. (Seishirou is therefore being a little creative with his interpretation.)



Author's notes - Chapter 6:

The following quote from Subaru's flashbacks--


"For today, sleep. Because I'm with you.

"Even if somebody comes....

"I'll chase them away."


--is from Tokyo Babylon 4, the story in which Subaru evokes the ghost of a little girl, wanting to offer her mother comfort, and is forced to lie to the woman when the child has no comforting words to give. Subaru stops by Seishirou's place afterward, and Seishirou, seeing that Subaru's upset, gives him hot tea (or something) and puts him to bed. The quote is excerpted from Seishirou's words to Subaru, from the translation by C. Sue Shambaugh.



Author's notes - Chapter 7:

The idea of Arashi being romantically inclined toward Subaru probably came from reading Kristin Huntsman's fic "Lyric: I Heard It Through the Grapevine," which was derived from an observation by Yin Lai on a peculiarity of the Chinese translation of the X manga. Whew! So go and read K-chan's fic.(It's in the CLAMP Fanfiction Archive.)



Author's Note - Chapter 8:

Detective Yamakawa is from the first Tokyo Babylon OAV. (I'm taking it for granted that Seishirou was telling the truth when he said the detective was going to be all right.)



Author's note - Chapter 10:

Regarding Subaru's reading matter at the beginning of the chapter: although Chinese kanji would ordinarily have the same meanings as Japanese ones (the latter being derived from the former), apparently ancient Chinese is quite different from modern Chinese. Also, Taoist texts like this one seem to have made great use of doubled and obscured meanings. So I've taken the liberty of imagining that there could be some way of writing "Earth Dragon" that Subaru might not be so familiar with. Special thanks to Sunsun and Monica for their advice!



Author's note - Chapter 12:

If you didn't get Subaru's little joke at the end, try rereading the end of "Tokyo Babylon" Vol. 1: "Babel." For those of you who don't have it:




"...Am I sexy?"


Gee...and it only took Subaru nine years to answer.

Thanks for this chapter go to Shanti for her advice on ogling. <eg>



Author's note - Chapter 13:


The geography of this section is actually more or less accurate, although the descriptions of specific areas and buildings are invented. Thank you, Baedecker and Lonely Planet!

Detective Kono is the policeman from the second OAV.

The song, once again, is "Return to Innocence" by Enigma. Remember these lyrics; there'll be a quiz later. ^^;;;

The possessing spirit that Subaru fights in this chapter was invented. It bears some relationship to the Japanese "hungry ghosts" and some to the North American Wendigo.

On sowa hamba shuda saraba taraman wa hamba shudokan: This is one of the chants from the first OAV; I believe it's the one Subaru uses to deactivate the curse ofuda planted at the construction site.

On shira battaniri un sowaka: I found this one in a book, but I was foolish and didn't write down which book it was, and now I can't find it again. My bad. These chants actually do have meanings, although they're mystical meanings unrelated to any linguistic meanings that the syllables themselves may have. This one signifies: "When this spell is chanted, the faith in me reaches everywhere, and by the true power of the Buddhist precepts, evil and misfortune will be abolished and luck and wisdom attained, suffering removed and comfort achieved, and pain transmuted into delight." Yup, all that in five little words! Subaru is using this spell to divert the sakanagi or magical backlash that is the inevitable result of using spells to do harm. The idea of grounding energy in the earth after a spell probably owes more to Western magic than to onmyoujitsu, but it seemed to work well enough for the purposes of this story.



Author's note - Chapter 14:

The second half of this chapter was originally released as a separate Christmas story. I've since done a few very minor revisions on it and attached it to the first half; the original version is still available at its old link.

The girl on rollerblades is a cameo by Kamimura Shirushi and appears courtesy of her author, Jessica L.

The quote "But I love this Tokyo..." is from the first book of TB. The translation, as usual, is by C. Sue Shambaugh.



Author's note - Drift III - Exchange:

Herewith, entirely too much information for a smut fic:

* sumi-e - a brush technique in Japanese painting

* Matsuzaka beef can run to about US$144 for a grilled steak. Yes, that's *one* steak. The restaurant Yoshihashi does in fact exist in Tokyo, although I think it's not quite as exclusive as portrayed in this fic. I also don't think they grill the food on open flames, but hey: artistic license. I think the fic would be much poorer without Subaru-in-firelight, don't you? (You can read a review of the restaurant here.)

* omiai - a first meeting between a prospective bride and groom, something that you usually don't spring on someone as a surprise. Bad Grandma. The girl Subaru talks about made a split-second appearance in an earlier chapter of "Sakura." Cookie for you if you can figure out where.

* "mou" - a little frustrated noise. Though I try not to do the fangirl Japanese anymore, I just couldn't come up with anything in English that was exactly appropriate for Subaru, so I stayed with this. Also, in my head Seishirou actually says "Express elevator!" in Engrish, but I didn't want to get into cumbersome spelling contortions to try to get that across, so I let it slide. But now you know. ^^

* The song that Subaru dances to is "Marco Polo" by Loreena McKennitt.

* The poem quote "The minute I heard my first love story..." is from "Music Master" by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks in The Essential Rumi. Yeah, I'm probably stretching reality by having Seishirou quote Rumi. I blame the poem quote for being just too perfect.

* Ah, yes, the Taoist sex. Although I did do a fair bit of research for this scene, I'm sure I've taken quite a few liberties, so please don't take this for an authentic description of what Taoists practice (or, gods forbid, a how-to manual!). My main reference was Tao: The Chinese Philosophy of Time and Change by Philip Rawson and Laszlo Legeza (Thames & Hudson, 1987), which among other things describes both the role and nature of sex in Taoism as well as the process of Taoist inner alchemy. Essentially, I munged the two together, taking a meditation on the circulation of energies and adding sex to it. The book also includes a diagram linking the various energy centers (tanden, or tan-t'ien in Chinese, meaning "elixir field") to hexagrams of the I Ching, which is where I got the four-word invocation that Seishirou uses to awaken Subaru--I found the Chinese character for each hexagram, looked it up in my kanji dictionary, and converted it into a Japanese reading. Yes, this is way too much research for a lemon fic! If anyone's really interested, maybe at some point I'll do a more in-depth write-up of how I got from book A to fic B and what exactly is going on during Seishirou's working, but for now, ki is spiritual energy, meridians are energy channels in the body, dragon lines are tracks of energy running through the land, and that should be enough to go on. (Note: "Hii" should really have been "Hi," but that just read wrong to an English speaker.)

Thanks to Sheri for fashion advice for the dressing scene. I also have to give a nod to Ankoku-jin for her story "Fair Play," which first did Subaru up in an expensive suit and which I tried hard not to copy. Thanks go out as well to K-chan, Shanti, and Rackham Rose for comments. Oh, and regarding Subaru's position in the first half of this fic--yes, I know. Just keep saying to yourself, it's okay, he's a CLAMP character, he's got legs that go up to his neck and an unusually high tolerance for pain. ^^



Author's note - Drift IV - Dissolve:

The song that *I* was listening to while writing this was "#1 Crush" by Garbage. Whether this is actually the song that Subaru was listening to must remain mysterious. ^_^



Author's note - Chapter 18:

At last, the infamous party chapter. A bounenkai is, in fact, "a party to forget the year." If you're curious, here's Pizza-La's current English-language menu. It took me so long to post this chapter that they're apparently no longer offering the Pescatore or Baccarat pizzas; I believe the former was some kind of Italian seafood pizza, and the latter was divided into four sections: tomatoes, raw ham, and basil; potatoes and crab sauce; seafood and basil sauce; snow crab and shrimp.

The thoroughly inappropriate song that the characters dance to is, of course, Enigma's "Return to Innocence," followed immediately by the next song on the album, "I Love You, I'll Kill You." Seishirou is singing Sarah McLachlan's "Ice Cream," or, more likely, a Japanese near-equivalent, which I'm sure must exist.



Author's note - Chapter 20:

Gogyou is the Japanese term for the Chinese five elements. There are two ways to go around the circle of elements: metal-water-wood-fire-earth, which is the “mutually arising” or creative cycle; or metal-fire-water-earth-wood, which is the conquering cycle. Subaru chose a less-aggressive and somewhat unconventional direction (at least to Seishirou’s mind).


Author's note - Chapter 21:

The two quotes in Seishirou’s first section are from the first volume of Tokyo Babylon (translation by C. Sue Shambaugh); the quote in Kamui’s first section is from volume 6 of X (translation by Fuu Hououji).


Author's note - Chapter 22:

“Rin Pyo To Sha Kai Jin Retsu Zai Zen!”: Seishirou is using a technique called kuji-kiri, or nine syllable cuts, in an attempt to wrest control of the ward from Arashi. Previous to that, Arashi’s chant, On chirichi iba rotaya sowaka, is accompanied by a mudra known as “seal of the ring of the sun.”


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