THE FORBIDDEN DIARY
from monkey business: new writing from japan #1
transl. by Ted Goossen
The Cancel-Out Apartments
I have a little brother sprouting from a spot behind my right hip. He’s about four inches long without any arms and legs, and when he gets hungry (which is like all the time) his face turns red and he starts bawling in this ear-splitting voice; and then he whips his body back and forth so that it goes whap, whap against my butt. I hate the kid, and there’ve been so many times I’ve thought about taking a razor and slicing him off, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.
Cicadas shrilling outside my window.
Heard a rumor about something called the “Cancel-Out Apartments” today. Seems it’s a two-story building with five small apartments on each floor. If, say, a cop is living on the second floor, and then another cop moves in on the first, the two cancel each other out. I mean, they both vanish, poof, just like that. If there are two babies in the building, poof, they’re gone too. If a Mr. Yamada moves in, and another Mr. Yamada’s already there, you guessed it, both gone. In one case, two tenants who seemed totally different—a thirty-five-year-old guy working part time and a sixteen-year-old high school girl—disappeared together. Nobody could figure it out. Then it was discovered that both had the same fetish for, get this, the smell of dirty socks. People living in the Cancel-Out Apartments are totally stressed because they can’t tell when someone who’s somehow like them might move in. According to the rumor, the building is right here in Tokyo.
Talked with O. on the phone for the first time in a long while. Our topic was the names of the bullet trains. If the Flash is faster than the Echo, and the Hope is faster than the Flash, then, we decided, if they made a train even faster than the Hope it would have to be called the Death, but no one would board the Death 101 for Kyūshū.
Translated a bit.
Met a dozen or so people at K. Station on the Odakyū Line and we all headed off to a bar/boxing gym called Knuckles. Everyone ordered their “sandbag set,” which gives you a drink and forty minutes punching the heavy bag for fifteen hundred yen, so we drank and pounded away to our hearts’ content.
After that we went out to a Korean barbecue place, and after that drinking in Shimokitazawa. The party broke up at 4:00 a.m.