Tips for Buying EarthBound

March 20th, 2009 | EarthBound, Itoi, Uncommon Knowledge

In EarthBound, you can buy a house in Onett if you’re willing to pay enough money. But when you go in, you see that it’s a really crappy, rundown place. It’s so bad that it’s even missing a wall! The only good thing about the place is that there’s a magazine in one of the drawers. Here is what it says:

“My Secret Life, chapter three.” (Story from the previous chapter.)

I was neither a murder suspect, nor a target for an international spy organization. But I drove a car down the Jersey Turnpike at 80 mph….

A police officer pulled me over and asked for my driver’s license. He said I was going 20 mph over the speed limit. I instantly pointed to my wife and said “I’m in a hurry, my wife is in labor.” Fortunately, my wife actually had a big stomach. I hoped he’d let me go with this excuse.

“Oh, since it’s an emergency. I’ll lead you to the hospital with my police car,” he said.

“No, it’s not necessary.”

“Why not?” asked the officer.

“Uh… well…”

“Let’s get going,” said the officer…

“No, no! We can’t! This baby is a demon child!”

This isn’t anything new, of course. But at some point, a rumor started spreading on the Internet that this story came from a book that Itoi co-authored with famous Japanese writer Haruki Murakami.

I don’t know where this rumor started, so I got a copy of said book (“Yume de Aimashou” or “Let’s Meet in Our Dreams”), and gave it a look-see. The result: the rumor is false.

While it’s true that the book is filled with tiny, strange little stories along the lines of the demon child story, the demon child story doesn’t appear in the book. So if you happen to see people talking about this rumor, now you can set the record straight.

The book is pretty interesting though. In it, the two authors go along the Japanese alphabet and choose theme words that starts with each letter, then they write stories that are anywhere from half a page to 4 pages long. It’s very good for the attention deficient. But I don’t think there have been any English translations made.

So, just for fun, here’s one of the little stories Itoi wrote in the book. The theme for this one is “jinx”. Note that these stories are all just 100% fiction, Itoi wasn’t in the running for the Nobel Prize or have a black cat or anything.

Jinx
Having a black cat cross your path is nothing at all. After all, I own a black cat of my own.

But bad things do happen on days I don’t win the Nobel Prize. For instance, when I inserted a 10-yen coin to make a phone call, I didn’t get my coin back even though the line was busy.

Days in which I lose a leg in a car accident are often quite unlucky, too. One time a hot dog fell right out of a bun I was holding.

Rainy days aren’t much better, either. One time an umbrella I had just bought got completely wet.

Unlucky things often happen when I’m mugged at night, too. Why, just the other day, I forgot to throw out the trash.

Bad things happen when I go into a classroom and see beautiful girls all sitting at their desks. In some cases, I’ve been so elated that I wet my pants.

Even so, the very worst is when you lose your life. The day it happened to me was the same day they announced the winning lottery numbers.

The whole book is weird and funny. It was published in 1986, but even almost 25 years later, I don’t think it’s been translated into English. If I knew how to go about getting things like this done, I’d see about getting an official translation of this (and other interesting stuff) myself, but I don’t even know where to start.

 

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30 Comments to Debunking the Demon Baby


Aurilliux said on Mar. 20, 2009

A book like that sounds like something I’d like to read. Do you think it’d be too difficult for someone who isn’t really good with Japanese, though?

Mato said on Mar. 20, 2009

Yeah, I wouldn’t really recommend something like this until your Japanese is strong. It might still be interesting to try to piece together as you’re learning new words and grammar though.

Greenzsx87 said on Mar. 20, 2009

That is probably my favorite text within the entire game. I never heard of the rumor before. ah… the more I know.

solidpit said on Mar. 20, 2009

Bad things happen when I go into a classroom and see beautiful girls all sitting at their desks. In some cases, I’ve been so elated that I wet my pants.

So he’s a pedophile?

Mato said on Mar. 20, 2009

Not if they’re college students, which is what I assume he means.

Kurisuellegarden said on Mar. 20, 2009

Ha! Well, I’d have to say my japanese isn’t good enough to read it… =\

JoeWuzHere said on Mar. 20, 2009

You know that this text is also in MOTHER3, right? its in the Chimera Lab somewhere.

Marco said on Mar. 20, 2009

Well, the Demon Baby thing is kind of odd to see in EB. Kind of creepy if you were a kid.

I believe that people theorized that it was referring to Mother or something. I don’t know, really.

solidpit said on Mar. 20, 2009

@ Mato
Oh, that makes sense. Thanks for clearing that up.

Kyven said on Mar. 20, 2009

I don’t know if this is where the rumor originated but I first read it in this article:
http://www.largeprimenumbers.com/article.php?sid=mother2

As for getting translations published. I’d imagine that Jay Rubin or Philip Gabriel (two of the people who translate Haruki Murakami’s work) could give you some tips. You can find their email addresses here:
http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~rijs/people/faculty/j_rubin.html
http://eas.web.arizona.edu/people/gabriel.html

MW said on Mar. 20, 2009

I’d definitely consider reading more of Itoi’s works if they were ever translated into English.

Jungyin said on Mar. 20, 2009

That rumor likely came from Tim Roger’s article/review of Mother 2.

JoeWuzHere: Of course he would know, Tomato was the translator after all.

Blueblue said on Mar. 20, 2009

Well, this fits with the Giygas Theory perfectly!~~~

AssKetchum said on Mar. 21, 2009

Tomato, have you considered contacting Vintage Books with a proposal of translating this text? They publish the majority of Murakami in this country and maybe interested in this.

Maybe explain what a cult figure Shigesato Itoi is and maybe they’ll show some interest.

AssKetchum said on Mar. 21, 2009

http://www.randomhouse.com/vintage/catalog/results_author.pperl?authorid=21587
This is pretty much all the Murakami avalible in the west.

http://www.randomhouse.com/vintage/contact.html
It says they’ll only take submissions sent in by an agent. Maybe how you are interested in translating a pre-exsisting work, you might not have to go through these parameters.

I would ask just to be safe.

lxa said on Mar. 21, 2009

Chewy’s been working on translating some of these; I’m excited to see the results.

Incidentally, Murakami’s probably a tough get–he’s got three translators more or less on call, and he’s also pretty stingy about not releasing, in translation, what he considers to be his weaker, earlier work.

santiagoff said on Mar. 21, 2009

Nice find! Pretty cool way to disprove a rumor!

8BitWalugi said on Mar. 21, 2009

You can buy a house in Earthbound? Where? I never found it.

ChickenHunter said on Mar. 21, 2009

I guess i know what book im buying next. oh wait its not in english. Curses :(

Viewtiful_Justin said on Mar. 21, 2009

He’s got a really strange sense of humor, and I find it hilarious!

Luna said on Mar. 21, 2009

Oh, dude. What page is that on? I looked under the ‘shi’ header but I didn’t see a jinx story…!

Also, just to be annoying, there’s stories longer than 4 pages- ‘Lark’ is 6 (well, 5 and a half. :B), and I think there’s one or two more like that.

I’m reading it for 301 this term. ‘Interview’ is probably my favorite so far. :(

Mato said on Mar. 21, 2009

I don’t remember, and I put the book away so I’m too lazy to try to find it in my mess pile again, heh.

I almost translated Interview instead though, it was pretty funny. But it was longer than I was looking for.

Chewy said on Mar. 22, 2009

Luna: Look on the next line, there are more in the ‘shi’ section on the bottom of the page (last one before ‘su’). It’s on page 103.

I’ve got a few stories done, and without any other idea of where to post them, I’m sure I’ll end up including these on the MOTHER 2 Novel Translation blog. :)

One story I finished and have to highly recommend is “death match” on page 138. Sooo funny <3

Luna said on Mar. 23, 2009

Oh, weird– I went across, not down, hehe.

…also, rofl @ death match. I just read ‘Disney Land’ the other day- Itoi sure doesn’t seem to like that place, hehe.

SerialPsychosis said on Mar. 23, 2009

Ah… the ol’ Jersey Turnpike story… I always loved that story since I live in Jersey heh heh :D

Blood Donor said on Mar. 23, 2009

Murakami books and the Mother series… my two favourite things.

Seeing this book translated is my dream for a long time…

I would happily contribute donation to help this happen, would anyone else?

Hawl Enroygall said on Apr. 10, 2009

Since you are being chased by the Ultimate Chimera when you find it, I always assumed it was a refrence to Clock Tower on the SNES. A Japan Only survival horror game, and the second one ever made (First survival horror game was Haunted House on the Atari 2600) in which you find more about your assiliant, a young boy called Scissorman, from a record about demon twins written by the protagonist’s late father.

Didn’t know it was in Earthbound/Mother 2 as well.

anton said on Nov. 6, 2009

almost 25 years?? dude you scared the crap out of me. since that year is on my DOB.

Dark Jaguar said on Feb. 6, 2011

That story was hilarious! He kinda lost me at the wetting his pants part, but the rest of it was just incredibly funny.

[…] what is its function?  Some thought it was an excerpt from a short story Itoi wrote, but that was debunked.  So why’s it in here?  Could it be foreshadowing the final boss fight against an evil […]


 
 

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