11 May, Sōsuke Watari

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Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, an emergency declaration was issued, and everyone was requested to refrain from going out for nonessential or non-urgent reasons.
  There was no legal force behind this request, but the vast majority of people seemed to be spending their days quietly as requested.
  So, on May 11th, after the declaration of such an emergency, what I, Sōsuke Watari, was doing was. . . I had nothing to do, so I spun around in circles in the swivel chair in my home office, and as a result, I felt sick and had to lie down for about an hour.
  Yes, I’m an imbecile. The coronavirus has exposed that much.
  By the way, I was born on May 8th, 1972, so I had turned 48 just three days earlier. Oh, you’re very kind. I mainly write novels set in the Edo period, so I often get labeled as a historical novelist. I’m a 48-year-old historical novelist. And I myself am astonished by the kinds of things I get up to.
  So, as of May 11, there are rats in my house. I had heard that since restaurants were closed due to the government’s request, hungry rats were streaming out of the main streets, but there are only ordinary houses around mine and it’s far from any restaurants. I hadn’t heard about rats in other houses in the neighborhood either. So it may not be an effect of the new coronavirus, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.
  Which is why I decided that this was an essential outing, and I went to a drug store and bought rat repellent. Rats can be driven out by smell. I set it up in the attic and. . . I got choked out by the smell and had to leave the room.
  Let me say for the sake of the manufacturer’s honor that it worked on the rats, too. They’re now skittering around above the room where I am now. Apparently we moved together.
  In other words, the sad conclusion is that it worked but it was pointless. So you might think, in that case, that it would be better to set up the repellent above the room I’m in now, but please forgive me for not doing so, as then I myself would have no escape. There’s little else left to do, so my household is currently looking for an experienced stray cat, whichever one has the best and strongest arms. We will only accept applications from the cats themselves. Thank you for your understanding.
  So, all I can say about how I spent May 11th, under a state of emergency, is summed up in these two events: I, a 48-year-old novelist, spun around in a chair so much I had to lie down for about an hour, and I set up rat pesticide and managed to exterminate myself, too.

Translated by Morgan Giles/Arranged by TranNet KK

Sōsuke Watari
Born in Tokyo, 1972. Graduated from Meiji University. Made his literary debut in 2008 with









(The woman who laughs in the canal: Rōnin Samon’s specter coaching), for which he won the 38th Mephisto Prize. Many of his works feature historical mysteries intertwined with Japanese ghost stories, with writing enriched by his unique sense of humour. Two of his most acclaimed series have been Furudōgu-ya Kaijindō (Antique shop Kaijindō) and Dobuneko nagaya: Hokora no kai (Dobuneko row house: Mystery of the shrine). The most recent series, Kaidan meshiya Furudanuki (Ghost story eating house Furudanuki), starring a strange eatery where you can eat for free in exchange for telling a ghost story, is now on its second volume.




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