46 article(s) translated from Japanese

Spirit Summoning, Part VI

The next time we met, Yoko pretended that the Shikoku conversation had never happened. Following her lead, I didn’t bring it up either. After the summoning job was done, Yoko turned to me. “I’m…...

Reunion

In provincial towns, the hotel staff usually slides the hometown paper under the door in the morning. Unfamiliar with local news, most guests from cities barely glance through the main sections. But when…...

Spirit Summoning, Part V

Yoko asked my name. Usually I’d stop and think about it, make a point of recalling the name. This time I decided not to. I didn’t think, didn’t search for the name. Didn’t try to…...

Spirit Summoning, Part IV

“You do want to go up on the roof, don’t you?” Emi hurried after me. I climbed the stairs and, copying Emi’s technique, unraveled the chain. When I opened the hatch, once again…...

Spirit Summoning, Part III

My mother’s always been selfish and immature. She could be frustrating and drive me crazy from time to time but even I knew that there’s no such thing as a “perfect parent.” In…...

Spirit Summoning, Part II

My mother was sitting in front of the Buddhist altar as usual. She picked the habit up last winter and now spent most of each day there. “I’m home!” She turned, a vacant expression on…...

Spirit Summoning, Part I

How much longer until we got there? The road was ridiculously wide. Empty but for a thick carpet of weeds, the plains on either side stretched into the distance with not so much as a single house to be…...

from “Face”

 1 “Nine hundred thousand?” Aiko leaned forward and blinked in disbelief. The doctor before her gave an offhanded nod. She felt as though she’d been conned. “But the other…...

My Wife and Me in March 2011

Someday, sometime in the distant future, I wonder how my wife and I will look back on the month of March 2011. Obviously we’ll remember it as the month of the massive earthquake, but I suspect we’ll…...

from “Breasts and Eggs”

I’ve long been aware of the many parallels between Mieko Kawakami’s home city of Osaka, Japan, and my own hometown, Manchester in the UK. The third largest cities in their respective countries,…...

from “Install”

I left school early that day and promptly became a truancy case. Conked out as soon as I got home and slept like the dead. I woke up in the evening after a bad dream, but struggled against a mild sleep…...

That Morning, When It

Tokyo Metropolitan Highway No. 14 is less congested at 4 a.m. than it is during the day. And with fewer lights to get stuck behind at this hour, people tend to drive fast too. As I inhaled the smog-infected…...

Kid Sister

. . . and so my timing was thrown off. And so a space opened in my emotions. I became proud because I was so happy, and then, at the exact moment I had wished would last forever, before I could even ask,…...

Riverwilt

"Kawanae" (Riverwilt) is the title poem from my first collection. It was written when I was about thirty—at the end of my youth—and I worked hard in the poem to bring together a number of themes…...

Vaporization

I was spending the better part of each day in a state of vaporization. In part this was to reduce physical strain on my lower back, which often pained me. The main reason, though, was because my mind was…...

Apollo’s Head

It was a pleasant evening in late autumn. I was taking my usual shortcut home through the wooded campus of my university with its many tall ginkgo and zelkova trees. Strolling along, I came to a spot where…...

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Galactic Empire

Just when you think you’ve figured out what is going on in “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Galactic Empire,” you trip on another oblique reference to some bit of the outside…...

Underground City

One December morning, Yonekura received an announcement for a farewell show by the celebrated Japanese-style illusionist Kyokujitsusai Tenka. Holding the mica-flecked invitation, Yonekura recalled visiting…...

Record of a Night too Brief

Horse What was that itch on my back, I wondered. And then I realized: the night was nibbling into me. It wasn't that late yet, still only dusk, but the darkness appeared to be collecting just above…...

Stories from the Streets of Koza

Flowers Toward the end of March, along the side street that runs parallel to Park Avenue, the golden trumpet flowers started to bloom. People talk about how yellow the blossoms can get, but it was even…...

Fish Variations

“Fish Variations” presents very interesting challenges to the translator in its play with linguistic form. The poem involves a very high degree of phonetic engineering, with some verses grouped…...

The Farside

I know you. Your name is Kanashii. Sadness. You used to be called Shiina Kana—that’s the Japanese way, with family name first. In junior high your classmates shortened it to Shii Kana, and…...

The Hole in the Garden, Part IV

Mrs. Okada seemed much thinner when I saw her at the next PTA meeting. Even from a distance I could see that she looked unwell. As we gathered in the meeting room some people made a point of not meeting…...

The Hole in the Garden, Part III

“Hello?” There was no answer. I put the phone back down. I turned to go back to the kitchen and it rang again. I picked it up, wordlessly this time. Again nothing. As soon as I hung up it rang…...

The Hole in the Garden, Part II

The woman showed up exactly one month to the day after the pigʼs arrival. I had just finished cleaning the house and was thinking about feeding the pig before I started waxing the floors when the…...