300 short stories:: story 210

story: “An Exotic Marriage”

author: Yukiko Motoya

year: 2018 (English translation)

where: Train in Japan, Kyoto to Hiroshima

note: This story was actually a novella, not much shorter than The Great Gatsby 

a line: “The wife explained that it had all started with the stones in the flower dish she’d put by their bedside. ‘They’d get to look so much like him, and I had to keep swapping them out.’”

theme(s): transformations, marriage, partner knowledge

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300 short stories:: story 189

story: “Man-eating Cats”

author: Haruki Murakami

year: 2006

where: in palestra

note: a reread, a favorite, a fantasy!

a line: “The wind was the wind at the edge of the world. An inescapable retro color filled the place. It made me feel as if I were being quietly swallowed up by an alien reality, something foreign and just out of reach, vague yet strangely gentle. And the shadow of that substance colored the faces, the eyes, the skin of the people gathered in the harbor.”

300 short stories:: story 186

story: “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman”

author: Haruki Murakami

year: 2006

where: midday and golden

note: I love Murakami’s introduction to this collection. He writes, “My short stories are like soft shadows I’ve set out in the world, faint footprints I’ve left behind.”

a line: “My cousin lived nearby, but I was just over a decade older than him and we had never been what you’d call close.”

300 short stories:: story 182

story: “Men Without Women”

author: Haruki Murakami

year: 2017

where: golden chaise

note: I haven’t picked up this collection since summer 2017.

a line: “I already know what it is to be the second-loneliest man on earth. But I still don’t know what it is to be the loneliest. A deep gulf separates the second and the first loneliest on earth.”

300 short stories:: story 147

story: Wealth and Poverty (Himpuku-ron)

author: Ueda Akinari

year: 1776

where: bed

note: from Ugetsu Monogatari or Tales of Moonlight and Rain (Routledge Revivals) : A Complete English Version of the Eighteenth-Century Japanese Collection of Tales of the Supernatural, Routledge, 2012

a line: “If a man is idle, he can in time consume even Mt T’ai. In the end he can drink dry even the rivers and oceans.”

extra line: “It’s impossible for any samurai to sleep peacefully on his pillow. As matters stand now, the government seems un­likely to endure. Can anyone bring unity and give the people peace?”