There was a section of the train journey on the Tobu-Matsuki Line, roughly halfway to Tokyo, a little over an hour’s journey in either direction, where he always felt lonely. Looking around him now he got the impression that it wasn’t something which only affected him. Faces paused, on the verge of emotion, mouths slightly open at a sudden pain inserting itself, eyes glazing.
We’re all alone, aren’t we?
In post-millennial Japan an innocent faith in the collective good, in continuity, is being replaced by cynicism, sexual curiosity, and a crumbling of social foundations. For a group of high school students and their teachers, for Sayaka, battling illness, and Koji, struggling through loss, it is a test of tragedies threatening to derail the future—as rage, humour, eroticism, and hope interweave to tell a story of modern Japan in whose reflections we see ourselves.
“There is much meat here, minutely packaged in the fluid, often arrestingly sparkling prose that is a hallmark of the author … A nature study in alienation and frustration and a reflexion on estrangement.”
— Marcel Barang, literary translator