14 June, Masakazu Ishiguro

文字数 4,084文字

Why does such a sensitive part of us have to stick out from our lower body? Where’s our modesty? Talk about imperfect. I turn away from my PC monitor and look down. I use my right hand to rub the dark red thing that’s swollen and throbbing, and a tiny yelp escapes my lips.

  I hadn’t banged my little toe hard like this since I was thirteen. That was when I broke it, and I’ve been extra careful ever since. Instead of casually throwing my feet out when I walk, I gingerly balance my weight on my toes and slowly lower them to the ground. I’ve been extra careful these last thirty years, always sure to be acutely aware of my feet when I’m in a tight space, and now look what’s happened.
  I don’t know why they have such a vulnerable shape in the first place. We live in small homes with furniture placed right on the floor, and we have to take our shoes off in our everyday life. Considering our living environment, our toes are much too defenseless. God, I envy elephants. Their feet look so solid, so sturdy. I bet you anything that they could bump into the edge of a big chest of drawers and it would be the chest that gets broken to pieces. It doesn’t hurt that they walk on their toenails, either. The entire area of their feet that touches the ground is as hard as a horse’s hooves.
  There’s another reason, besides the imperfection of the human body, that has caused me to hurt my foot. The chair in my office that I kicked hard with my little toe is something that shouldn’t be here.

  Since last year, the noise from the late-night construction work they’ve been doing on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line subway in our residential area has been echoing about endlessly.
  I’ve realized that the worst part of it isn’t the grinding noise of tearing something down. It’s the weak, buzzing vibrations from the ground that make my apartment tremble and make my life uncomfortable. It’s like standing next to a refrigerator. It makes my hair stand on end, I feel dizzy, my hands are trembling, and I lose my concentration.
  The areas that vibrate change from day to day, depending on where the construction work is going on. I’ve been trying to counteract it by moving the three desks—which had been neatly aligned—to various points around the room.
  This is why I hurt my toe. I would have kicked the air and my toe would have landed on the floor just fine if the late-night construction work hadn’t been going on. It’s Tokyo Metro’s fault. Didn’t they initially say the construction work wouldn’t go on during the day because there’s a stop for a sightseeing bus out there? Considering the present lack of tourists, let alone tour buses in operation, they must have an awfully good reason for proceeding with their midnight construction work. I would love to have them explain.

  Once again, I stare at my monitor screen, my grudge intact. I’ve been searching online for ways to get around without ever using the Ginza Line again while rubbing my sore toe, but all I’ve learned is that the Ginza Line is convenient and has a long history that dates back to 1927.
  Then how about technology to do something about the vibrations from the late-night construction work? Laser beams? 3D printers? Antigravity motors?
  Nah, it probably wouldn’t work. Despite our long history of evolution, we still can’t even overcome a tiny vulnerability like this. I frown over my aching toe, check a shopping site, and order a pair of slippers before shutting down my PC.

Translated by Eriko Sugita/Arranged by TranNet KK

Masakazu Ishiguro
Born in Fukui Prefecture, 1977. Manga artist. Made his serial debut in 2005 with





(And yet the town moves). Running for 11 years, the manga won Grand Prize in the 17th Japan Media Arts Festival’s Manga Division, and the 49th Seiun Award for Best Comic. His works include



(Sleeping idiot),


(Getenrō tower) among others. Currently serialized manga include




(Thursday’s Furutto) and



(Heavenly land infested with demons).




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