《蛙文》/ Frogscript 14 • 郭少鳳 Evette Kwok

Japanese Frog for Frogscript_Thumbnail_2 FEB 2018

Please scroll down for the English translation!

《蛙文:兔仔》

郭少鳳著

今日嘅心情真係好興奮,終於可以去期待已久嘅大久野島,又叫兔仔島。顧名思義,兔仔島,當然住咗好多兔仔,今日嘅目的就係要同佢哋打招呼!

香港呢個地方並冇野兔,唯一見到嘅都係寵物兔。細細個住土瓜灣時,我好鐘意去一間舊式寵物店,去睇金魚、倉鼠、葵鼠、兔仔……記得喺檔口有兩個鐵籠,一邊放咗好多倉鼠,另一邊就有好多白兔:嗰度啲兔仔全部都係白色,攪到我曾經以為兔仔一定係白色。我最鐘意睇倉鼠,佢哋腳仔雖然短短,但行動自如,成日捐嚟捐去,好得意、好好睇。嗰時我麻麻地鐘意睇白兔,雖然佢哋隻隻都白雪雪,好可愛,好似好天真無邪咁,但細心一望,白兔嘅眼睛全部都係血紅色,唔識點形容,但感覺邪邪地,令到我驚驚地。後來長大後,見過灰色、米黃色嘅兔仔,認識到兔仔嘅眼晴可以係黑色,先開始有所改觀。

去兔仔島,要先到一個叫忠海嘅地方,搭渡輪過去。賣船飛嘅地方有兔糧賣,細細包,即刻一人買一包,仲留意到用英文寫住:回程時,憑兔糧嘅紙袋,可以到收銀處換一份小禮物。

啱啱撞正復活節假期,又係星期日,有好多日本遊客:有情侶,亦有攜老扶幼嘅一家大細,向著同一目標出發 – 去拜訪兔仔。船程大約 15 分鐘,快過排隊買飛同埋等上船嘅時間。

一上岸,碼頭附近已經聚集咗好多遊客,但我嘅眼光當然唔係放係佢哋身上,好快已經見到一隻兔仔,米黃色,肥嘟嘟,好優哉遊哉咁伏喺大樹下。我小心翼翼、慢慢安安靜靜咁走去佢身邊,佢冇咩反應,愛理不理咁。於是採取利誘攻勢,攞包兔糧出嚟。連包裝都未打開,旁邊突然出現一隻灰色兔仔,向我要兔糧。兩隻兔仔一齊喺面前出現,呢個情景實在太可愛了,吸引咗一個拎住紅蘿蔔條嘅日本小男孩,走過來同佢哋打招呼。

眼前真係有好多好可愛嘅兔仔,不過細心啲睇,唔對路 wor,佢哋個樣都唔似野兔,而係寵物兔嘅樣,只係身上多了一點點灰塵。記得喺英國見到嘅野兔,體形比較修長,冇咁圓潤,啲毛毛睇起上嚟比較粗硬,但身手十分敏捷。於是找找原因,原來大久野島曾經有一段黑暗嘅歷史 – 係一個生產毒氣嘅秘密基地,一直都冇人定居。

大久野島嘅兔仔嘅來源有兩個講法:有人話啲兔仔係用來做實驗嘅工具,當戰事結束後,所有工作人員都要撒退時,佢哋將兔仔放生;另一個講法就話啲兔仔本來係工作人員嘅寵物,撒退時就冇帶走佢哋。無論如何,兔仔已經變成兔仔島嘅居民同明星!

碼頭聚集太多人,於是決定環島行一個圈,順便睇睇兔仔係咪真係有傳說中講到咁多。沿路,有野餐同露營嘅地方,人潮不斷、但「兔潮」也不斷,雙方勢均力敵。直到進入樹林,雖然兔仔冇之前咁多,但都真係唔少;相反,遊人嘅數量真係得返好少,間唔中先見到三、兩個。樹林裏面嘅兔仔明顯怕醜好多,佢哋冇咁主動咁問你攞嘢食,但一餵佢哋,佢哋就食過不停。仲有係,佢哋冇咁鐘意比你摸,唔似碼頭嗰啲任摸唔嬲。我估樹林裏面嘅兔仔,慢慢回復野兔嘅本性啩⋯⋯

環島行咗兩、三個鐘頭左右,慢慢行到碼頭,搭船返去忠海,憑兔糧小紙袋換過小禮物,心裏不禁要讚一讚日本人:小禮物嘅目的就係要我哋帶走自己嘅垃圾,減少兔仔島嘅負擔。離開時心裏面產生咗一個問題:唔知冬天,冇咁多遊客時,啲兔仔夠唔夠嘢食?嘻嘻,其實我心知冇可能唔夠嘅,不過我都暗地決定,下次一定要揀冬天、比較靜嘅日子嚟探兔仔!

Ōkunoshima Rabbits

“Frogscript ● Rabbits”

by Evette Kwok

I’m feeling very excited, since today I’m headed to Ōkunoshima ― also known as Rabbit Island ― a place I have been dying to go to for ages. As you can tell from the name “Rabbit Island”, a lot of rabbits make their home there, and my goal today is to go and meet some of them!

There are no rabbits living out in the wild in Hong Kong; the only ones we get to see are pet rabbits. In To Kwa Wan, as a little girl, I loved visiting an old-fashioned pet shop to look at the gold fish, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and so on . . . As I recall, there were two metal cages near the entrance to the shop, one containing a large number of hamsters, the other, numerous white rabbits. All the rabbits were white, which gave me the mistaken idea that rabbits were always this colour. My favourite thing was to watch the hamsters: although they had little, short legs, they moved about with great agility, darting here and there, cute and fun to watch. Back then, I had no strong interest in rabbits: yes, they were snowy white, adorable and very innocent-looking, but if you took a close look the eyes of these white rabbits were all blood-red and, although I couldn’t explain it, I found them creepy and I was frightened by them. It wasn’t till many years later, when I had seen grey rabbits and off-white ones and I realized that they could have black-coloured eyes, that I began to change my mind about them.

To get to Rabbit Island, first of all you have to go to a place called Tadanoumi to catch the ferry. At the ticket-office, there are packets of rabbit food for sale, tiny little packets, and immediately, each of us bought one. On it, it said in English: Present your rabbit-food packet at the counter on return to receive a small gift.

As it turned out, it happened to be the Easter holidays and a Sunday as well, so the place was filled with Japanese tourists: couples, as well as whole families including the aged and the infant, were setting out with one and the same objective in mind ― to pay a visit to the rabbits. The trip by boat took about fifteen minutes, less than the time it took to queue up for tickets and wait to go on board.

When we arrived, there were already crowds of people milling around in the vicinity of the pier, but it wasn’t people I was wanting to look at. Before long, I caught sight of a rabbit: it was off-white in colour, rather plump, and sitting in a very carefree and leisurely fashion beneath a large tree. With great caution, slowly and calmly, I walked up to it. It didn’t really react in any way, acting rather stand-offish. And so I took the offensive by trying to lure it with the promise of gain, taking out by bag of rabbit food. Before I’d even managed to get the bag open, a grey rabbit suddenly appeared from one side to get something to eat from me. The scene was a very cute one ― two rabbits together right there in front of me ― and attracted a little Japanese boy, who came over to say hello to the rabbits holding a carrot in his hand.

It’s true: there really were lots and lots of adorable rabbits before me, but if you looked carefully, you got the feeling that something wasn’t quite right: they didn’t really look like wild rabbits but pet ones, perhaps a bit dirtier than pet rabbits but more or less identical. I had seen rabbits in the wild in England: they were thinner and longer [than these ones], and not so sleek-looking. Their fur seemed rather coarse and stiff, but they were extremely agile in their movements. I tried to find out the reason why this was so: as it turns out, the island of Ōkunoshima has a dark chapter in its history, because it was once a secret base for the manufacture of poisonous gas. No one ever lived here on a permanent basis.

There are two explanations for how rabbits came to be on Ōkunoshima. There are those who say that they were used in experiments and, when the war ended and all those involved had to leave, all the rabbits were set free. Another explanation is that the rabbits were once kept as pets by the people working on the island, and were left behind when they departed. Whatever the case, the rabbits are now the sole residents of Rabbit Island ― and its superstars!

Since there were too many people in the vicinity of the pier, we decided do a circuit of the island just to see if there really were as many rabbits on it as it is rumoured. Along the path, there were spots for picnicking and for camping, and so there was an endless stream of people ― but the “stream of rabbits” was just as endless. The two were evenly matched. Things stayed pretty much like this until we entered the forest. Although there were less rabbits than before, there were nevertheless a large number of them; in contrast, the number of tourists had dwindled to almost nothing ― every now and then we saw two or three. It was obvious that the rabbits that lived in the forest were much more timid, and were less inclined to come up to you to get something to eat but, once you did feed them, they would eat and eat without stopping. Another thing was that they didn’t like to be patted so much, not like the ones by the pier who didn’t mind at all. My guess is that the forest rabbits were slowly reverting to their original state . . .

After more than two hours walking round the island, we slowly wound our way back to the pier and caught the ferry back to Tadanoumi. When I redeemed the bag that contained rabbit food for my gift, inwardly, I couldn’t help feeling admiration for the Japanese: it was a clever way of getting us to bring back our rubbish with us, reducing the burden on the island. As I left, a question suddenly crossed my mind: would the rabbits get enough to eat in Winter when there weren’t many visitors? I chuckled to myself: I knew that there was no way they would not get enough, but resolved to make sure that next time I went back it would be on a quiet Winter’s day.

Translated by Simon Patton

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s