Image: Masaru Tatsuki, Mt. Osore in Winter, 2010. Lambda print, 60cm x 60cm
Guest Editor Michael Emmerich,
The second part of our double issue of Japanese writing presents writing grounded in the everyday, with uncertainty and confusion roiling underneath. Guest editor Michael Emmerich has selected pieces about ordinary people in ordinary situations, struggling with discontent and longing for change. In two tales of plastic surgery, Aso Nonami shows a woman in the grip of obsession and deception, and Akutagawa Prize-winner Kawakami Mieko looks at breasts and implants. Young sensation Wataya Risa finds an alienated high-school girl trying to throw out her life, while Motoya Yukiko's numb young woman drifts through her early twenties. Sakurai Suzumo sets marital discord against the devastation of March 11; Tsushima Yūko sees a day at the beach turn dark; and Nomura Kiwao evokes the landscape of childhood. The issue is produced in partnership with the British Centre for Literary Translation. We thank the BCLT, and David Karashima and the Nippon Foundation, for their generous support. Elsewhere, the great Adonis introduces Egyptian poet Abdel-Moneim Ramadan.
The Real, the Familiar: An Introduction
By the middle of July, things were back to normal. Tokyo was hell.
Even if we were to remove the crow’s feet, there's still the overall balance of your face to consider.
My Wife and Me in March 2011
I began to realize how disgracefully I was behaving.
from “Breasts and Eggs”
Just as I’m thinking it’s about time to get out, she suddenly whips off her towel and shows me her own breasts.
And if you ask what I was doing, I was lying in the garbage like this pretending to be a nonconformist.
That Morning, When It
I can’t say I wouldn’t have sex with him if, after a few drinks, the mood felt right.
Just then my right arm hit something and pain pierced my flesh.
For now I’ll just give it that name, repelling all water, still