This time, the holiday is Valentine's, so the designated romantic couple of the story make another appearance.
Asari also starts seriously referencing Rakugo (traditional long-form humorous stories), and it certainly won't be the last time. Here are my haphazard paraphrases of two stories which are referenced in this chapter.
Saury of Meguro
One day, a lord was travelling to Meguro for falconry. When he grew hungry, he realized that he had forgotten his lunch. However, there was a delicious smell coming from nearby. He asked his servant to investigate. The servant returned saying “It's just saury, a fish which commoners eat.”
Nonetheless, the lord wanted some. He found that the roasted saury was delicious and decided to make a habit of it. Upon returning home, at the next dinner he held he decided to serve saury to impress his guests.
However, his cook was unfamiliar with saury, having been trained to serve nobles. The cook prepared the saury by baking it, which removed the oil that gave saury it's flavor and ruined the texture. The lord's guests commented on the poor food, and the lord summoned his servants.
“Where did you buy this?” he asked. They responded that they had bought it fresh at the market. “That explains it,” he said. “You have to go to Meguro for good saury.”
Meguro is inland and far away from the sea, so the Lord's explanation is humorously nonsensical. Nobles not understanding common food is a common theme in Japanese comedy.
Chiritotenchin / Vinegar Tofu
One day, a group of poor commoners were hanging around on a hot summer day. They were hungry, but had no food. They tried finding leftovers and scraps, but the result was inedible. Even the tofu they used was rotten.
Then, they noticed a certain gentleman walking by. This gentleman was a pompous social climber, and was known for pretending to be an expert on anything. He was especially hated by the common people.
So they waved him in. “We have a rare foreign delicacy here called Chiritotenchin,” they said. “We suppose you haven't heard of it.”
“Oh, Chiritotenchin,” said the gentleman. “Of course I know it. I love the stuff.”
“Well, would you care to have some?” they asked. The gentleman ate one bite and barely managed to swallow it. The commoners were delighted.
“Do you want any more?” they asked.
“Oh, no,” said the gentleman. “When eating Chiritotenchin, one bite is enough.”