Megami Buchigire - Chapter 60 - When I Stepped on a Grain of Rice
Chapter 60: When I Stepped on a Grain of Rice
This is the process by which the edible part of grain is loosened from the stalk. But nowadays, all the work is done by a combine in an instant, so there isn’t many who have seen someone thresh rice by hand.
Way back in the past, threshing is done by running a comb-like tool through the rice plant heads, and was a quite time consuming process.
The next invention that greatly reduced the burden of this process in one fell swoop is something that surely everyone has heard of: the senba-koki1. However, it was only around the Edo period when the senba-koki appeared, so it’s actually relatively recent within the broad picture of Japanese history as a whole.
Considering how it was during the Taisho period (1912-1926 CE) that the stepping-style threshing machine2 was made, and how even that got automated not long after, the senba-koki actually didn’t really get to shine that long.
Perhaps this is one example of how technology is improving at an accelerated rate
Conclusion: combines are the best.
“But I seem to remember that threshing was a source of income for widows, right? It’s something that even people without much strength can do, but it’s so troublesome that they’d rather hire someone else to do it?”
“Yep, that’s right. Lots of grain fall on the ground during threshing, so that’s why it’s suitable for women to do, as they are more detail-minded. Though that thing over there made that task a lot easier to do.”
“Ahh. So because of this, many widows lost their jobs.”
What Asuka-san, with Sukunabikona-sama riding on her shoulder, is slapping rice plants against is a large comb-like contraption.
This is a senba-koki. Slap the plant against the teeth. Then pull, and the grains fall out. It was truly a revolutionary invention in its heyday.
But of course, there are still numerous steps, such as hulling and polishing, before rice finally turns into white rice.
Why on earth did the Japanese make such a troublesome food their main staple?
Cus it’s delicious, duh!
“Um, you guys, can’t you connect this to a water wheel and make it automatic?”
“…… What’s with the brilliant comment all out of the blue, Saros-kun?”
Despite having been wordlessly helping with the threshing work up to now, the adolescent who finds this extremely boring suddenly says something completely off the wall.
But then again, in consideration of the automated version of the stepping-style threshing machine as mentioned above, that idea may not be that crazy after all. The quest for convenience is what has fueled human inventions throughout history.
Even a certain seeker of truth has once said that all humans are fundamentally NEETs.3
“Speaking of which, Asuka, what happened with the request for technological instruction from the Senate?”
After reaching Fit, Asuka-san and Sukunabikona-sama have been living carefree lives dedicated to farming at their own pace, but their knowledge that far surpasses that of this era’s, as well as the results that bear witness to the success of their ‘brand new’ techniques, have caught many eyes.
That’s why high up politicians of the country had reached out to Asuka-san, who they believe to be the central figure behind these results, but……
“Un. There were a bunch of pretty self-important people who came and told me to go to some national research facility or something. But halfway through, they saw Sukunabikona-sama and laughed through their noses, so Sukunabikona-sama roundhouse kicked them and they flew into the cesspool where we were making fertilizer.”
“Oh yes, those people. They knew just how to push my buttons. I do not regret what I did a single bit.”
“WHAT DID YOU TWO RETARDS DO?!”
Saros-kun could not help but to tsukkomi with force at hearing of Sukunabikona-sama’s surprising act of violence towards the country’s higher ups.
Incidentally, falling into a cesspool might sound like a joke, but in reality, that might lead to suffocation or serious illness and generally has a high possibility of leading to death, so do let’s be careful.
“Well, I intended to just leave it with the roundhouse kick, but it seems they encountered bad luck (un). As in, the cesspool kind.”4
“OH ENOUGH ALREADY!”
Sukunabikona-sama’s smug face at what he thought was a great joke evokes another tsukkomi from Saros-kun.
“But I myself also don’t want to leave this village, and the people who came had terrible attitudes, so I told them ‘if you want me to teach you, then you make your own damn way here☆’.”
“WHAT DID YOU DO?! WHAT ON EARTH HAVE YOU TWO DONE?!”
Asuka-san beaming like the sun while spitting acid from her mouth causes Saros-kun to tsukkomi once more.
Due to Japanese people and Japanese gods not keeping themselves in check, the stress on otherworlders is enormous. At this rate, Saros-kun might go bald despite his young age.
“What are you guys even going to do if they use pressure to crush our village?”
“Nahh, there’s probably no chance of that. After all, the queen consort of Galdeia Kingdom is a Japanese.”
“So she’s from the same homeplace as Asuka. But how’s that relevant?”
“If this village is destroyed and the harvesting of rice is obstructed, the Galdeian queen consort would break down the doors of the Keros Senate.”
“HOW SAVAGE ARE YOU JAPANESE?!”
Hearing of a country’s queen consort bulldozing her way into another country’s ruling body with a single fist leaves Saros-kun in shock.
The Japanese are actually one of the most gentle peoples in the world, but when food is involved they have a relatively low threshold to completely go ballistic so be mindful when handling them.
“Speaking of Japanese, Amaterasu contacted me and told me that there’s a Japanese chef who’s making his way over from the Dwarven Kingdom to check on how our rice has turned out.”
“A Japanese chef?”
News of someone from her homeplace coming gives Asuka-san a brief moment of delight that quickly turns into anxiety.
“Nothing much. But it’s just that the person who’s coming is a chef, right? It’s my first time growing rice, so I don’t know if it would match the expectations and standards of such a professional person.”
Asuka-san confesses her worries. After silently looking at her for a few moments, Sukunabikona-sama suddenly gives her cheek a light slap as if to cheer her up.
“Don’t worry. You’ve got all the essentials down and you also took care of the plants with care and love. Above all, I was there helping you through every single step. I can guarantee that it’s good enough even to present to a king.”
“…… That’s true, too! Being anxious about it even after all the help from Sukunabikona-sama might earn me divine punishment!”
Asuka-san seems to have regained her cheerfulness from Sukunabikona-sama’s words, but Saros-kun is tsukkomi-ing inside his heart about how the god on her shoulder is in no position to deliver (physical) divine punishment.
Today, too, this otherworld is at peace.
1 The senba-koki looks like a wooden frame supporting a large comb with the teeth facing upwards. Then one merely has to run the grain plant through the teeth and all the grains would fall out. Here’s an example of one in action.
2 This one doesn’t require the whole body to move to pull the plants through a comb. Stepping on a pedal causes a rough wheel to turn, such that just by putting the rice plant to the wheel the grains would fall off. Here’s an example of one in action.
3 This is referring to Gatou Monji from Fate/Extra. Here’s a transcript.
4 The word for ‘luck’ is ‘un’. The word for shit is ‘unko.’ So yep, it’s a pun.