24 May, Jirō Akagawa

文字数 2,970文字

Waiting


He waited for his name to be called. Every few seconds he’d glance over at the door, but it remained firmly closed. Time ticked on.
  He was ready; resigned to accepting whatever the outcome might be. After all, this was the natural consequence of his own actions.
  Still, he couldn’t relax; striding up and down the room, coming to sudden stops. He was surrounded by such ugliness everywhere in this world. A world relentlessly assaulted by disasters, both natural and man-made. Every time, lives were lost, yet nobody ever took responsibility. The worst possible accident—a meltdown—had befallen a supposedly fail-safe nuclear power plant. And then, before the memory had even begun to fade, a decision had been made to host the Olympic Games. It was like desperately sticking your fist into the hole in the bottom of a sinking ship, and announcing, Okay, folks, let’s go on a world cruise!
  But it wasn’t his fault. There was nothing he could have done to change the outcome. Still, he’d made sure to display the proper anger. . . .
  But then again, he wondered, was that really enough? There must have been more he could have done. . . .
  There were so many things that made him angry. That a man could rape a woman in her sleep, but avoid arrest because he was cozy with someone in authority. What sort of country would permit that to happen? And yet . . . hadn’t he himself got a little too physical with a female colleague when he was drunk? He’d never given a thought to how that woman might have felt.
  Yes, there were always going to be things in life that made him angry. Nevertheless, none of it was really his fault. And besides, he was only one person. There was nothing he could do about it.
  No, that’s not true, he muttered, stopping dead in his tracks.
  Whatever this world threw at him, it didn’t matter how much hard work it took, how much of an ordeal it turned out to be, he was going to endeavor to make it a better place. It didn’t matter how small, how insignificant one person’s contribution.

  The door opened and a nurse appeared.
  Congratulations! You have a healthy baby girl.
  May 24, 2020—the day his daughter was born. And the day he was reborn.


Translated by Louise Heal Kawai/Arranged by TranNet KK

Jirō Akagawa
Born in Fukuoka Prefecture, 1948. Made his literary debut in 1976 with Yūrei ressha (Ghost train), for which he won the 15th All Yomimono Mystery Prize for New Writers. He has written many popular series, including Yonmoji jukugo (Four-character idiom), Sanshimai Tanteidan (Three sister detective team), and Mikeneko Hōmuzu (Calico cat Holmes). He also has a wealth of knowledge in the field of classical music, and enjoys theater, bunraku , and films. Won the 9th Japan Mystery Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement for his contributions to the field of Japanese mystery literature, and the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for Literature in 2016 for

Tokyo

zeronen

(Tokyo year zero).

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