4 July, Osamu Fujitani

文字数 3,192文字

A Strange Question


You’ve wondered about this too, I bet, but why are UFOs always sneaking around like they do?
  They’re always popping up in rural towns and mountains, spotted usually by one or two people. If you’re going to make an appearance, you want to go someplace that’s crowded, on a Saturday in broad daylight and—

Ba-boom!

Now that would be something.
  It’s also strange that they’re supposed to be from space, but no one seems to know they’re here until some random person on the street spots them. The world has any number of observatories.
  Plus, isn’t it fishy that aliens look a little like us? The universe is vast, and it would make more sense if they were shaped in ways that we earthlings couldn’t imagine.
  That’s what I always thought. Like, you know, maybe UFOs don’t really exist.
  But it turns out I was wrong. One came, yesterday. In front of my house.
  Last night, as I was locking up the house before heading to bed, it got really bright outside, and a flying saucer about the size of a mini truck landed in the yard without a sound. And then a ramp came down, and appearing from it was a tall man.
  I’m sorry to bother you so late at night, the man said. I’m just here to have a quick look.
  Who are you? I asked.
  I, uh. . . . It’s a bit difficult to explain. The man scratched his head. I’m from . . . the future of a different world.
  I had no idea what this guy was talking about.
  The world, you see, isn’t made of this world alone. There are, in fact, an infinitude of worlds.
  So, you’re not an alien?
  Yes, I get that a lot, he said. This isn’t a spaceship, it’s a vehicle that can slide in and out of different worlds.
  What do you want? It was the only thing I could think to ask.
  No, I’m just here to have a look, he said. Is it all right here?
  Is what all right?
  The future. Is the future of this world all right?
  What are you asking me for? I said, flustered. It’s not like it’s up to me to decide.
  I see. The man looked me in the eye. Then that is the future you will have.
  The man bowed his head and stuck a foot onto the ramp to get back on the flying saucer.
  Wait, wait! I called out. What do you mean by

that

?
  I’ll be back.
  Saying this, the man climbed back inside.
  Then, the flying saucer took off into the sky and disappeared.
  What would you do? If he asked you, how would you answer?
  He said he’s coming back.


Translated by Takami Nieda/Arranged by TranNet KK

Osamu Fujitani
Born in Tokyo, 1963. Made his literary debut in 2003 with

Andante

mottsarera

chīzu

(Andante mozzarella cheese). Won the 31st Oda Sakunosuke Prize in 2014 for

Sekai

de

ichiban

utsukushii

(The most beautiful in the world). His other works include

Fune

ni

nore!

(Get in the boat!),

Hana

ya

koyoi

no

(Flowers, tonight . . . ),

Moeyo

anzu

(Burn, apricot),

Neko

ga

kawaiku

nakattara

(If cats weren’t cute), and

Shōsetsu

wa

kimi

no

tame

ni

aru:

Yoku

wakaru

bungaku

annai

(Books are there for you: An easily understandable literature guide), among others.

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