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Bucket of Eels

Mitsuyo Kakuta

‘I was gazing into my empty bowl and realizing how little time it takes to eat when you’re not carrying on a conversation’

A Clean Marriage

Sayaka Murata

‘Frequency of sex since marriage: zero.’

Breakfast

Toshiki Okada

‘If I had known she were heading for Tokyo then, and if I had known she thought of Tokyo as a city of zombies, I would have wanted to know, of course, whether she saw me that way, too.’

Variations on a Theme by Mister Donut

David Mitchell

‘But what if he answers in Martian? I’ll die.’

Things Remembered and Things Forgotten

Kyoko Nakajima

It was something Takashi remembered but Masaru had forgotten.

Final Fantasy III

Tao Lin

‘On the F train to Manhattan I emailed a friend in the UK. I said I couldn’t write my essay about Japan.’

Spider Lilies

Hiroko Oyamada

‘The breeze smelled of many things: autumn and earth, the green of the countryside, face powder and old age.’

Pig Skin

Andrés Felipe Solano

‘A perfect impostor.’

After the War, Before the War

David Peace

‘At last, at last. His first steps, on Chinese soil.’

The Dogs

Yukiko Motoya

‘I once lived with a whole lot of dogs.’

Pink

Tomoyuki Hoshino

‘Spinning makes all that is illusory fall away. The things that remain – those are the things that are real.’

Filling Up With Sugar

Yuten Sawanishi

‘The vagina was the first part of her mother’s body that turned to sugar.’

Hush . . . Hush Sweet Charlotte

Kazushige Abe

‘The crucial thing was to cool the baby off, bring the fever down.’

Japan Lights

Sarah Moss

‘She kneels and bows her head almost to the floor, as if pretending he’s one of her idols.’

Eight Trains

Alberto Olmos

‘To go is always to go somewhere; returning, you return to nowhere. That’s the way it is.’

Bakamonotako

Brenda Shaughnessy

‘Bakamonotako felt she didn’t need all eight of her appendages. Four would do.’

How Am I Supposed to Talk to You

Lauren Holmes

‘Okay don’t sell yourself,’ said my mom, ‘sell the American dream.’

Eyes That Have Seen the Sea

Tomás González

‘He had just finished unpacking his rucksack, new only ten days ago and now a sodden, salty, decomposing rag, when they called him.’

Sand

John Biguenet

'We unroofed our homes, unhinged the doors, threw open our windows to the desert, hoping the cresting dunes of sand advancing on the village would pass through our houses'

The Indian Uprising

Ann Beattie

‘Then winter ended and spring came, and I thought, even if I don’t believe there’s a poem in anything any more, maybe I’ll write a story.’

Thank You for Having Me

Lorrie Moore

‘Every day there was something new to mourn and something old to celebrate.’

Dangerous

Joy Williams

‘Grief knows how to love them because we don’t know how to do it any more.’

A Killing

Katherine Faw Morris

COKE SMELLS COLD AND CHEMICAL LIKE THE INSIDE OF A REFRIGERATOR. It’s what back then smells like, now when she thinks of it.

Off the Road

Andrew Brown

‘She acted as if her own desires magnetized the world, and when you were close to her, she magnetized your moral compass too.’

Spelling Problem

Lydia Davis

‘A woman from Barnard College calls me and asks if I would please spell ‘hemorrhaging’ for her.’

Small Differences

Catherine Lacey

‘The conversation ended but I stayed where I was for a while, nostalgic for the Team Jesus Cheer Squad.’

After Ida

Elise Winn

‘The year I turned seventeen, the cicada chorus was deafening, as if they were impatient for the real beginning of summer and didn’t realize they were it.’

Car Concentrate

Etgar Keret

‘Women mostly touch it tentatively with the backs of their hands.’

The Glitch

Rebekah Frumkin

‘Who wants to know? Link wants to know. The Eye said nothing in response.’