20 May, Bin Konno

文字数 4,242文字

The past month has been a blur, each day largely indistinguishable from the last. I have weathered the soft lockdown confined to the 200-meter radius between my house and my office down the street.
  Now that I spend many of my days lounging at home, the lockdown has also brought me into regrettably close proximity to my fridge. As if this habitual grazing wasn’t problematic enough, my karate dojo also suspended all classes for the interminable future, leaving me with woefully little exercise.
  As a predictable result, my blood-sugar and triglyceride levels have skyrocketed. In the words of my physician, At this rate, you’ll be a full-blown diabetic in no time.
  Ironically, any consternation over the coronavirus had blinded me to the disease already on my doorstep.
  Not one to balk in the face of a challenge, I went on a strict diet at the beginning of May. I began working out in my basement karate studio each morning, undertaking a regimen of pushups, sit-ups, and squats, while also brushing up on my karate forms. I even acquiesced, making the 20-minute commute to my office on foot.
  Stepping onto the scale, I’ve watched as my weight and body fat percentage have improved day to day. The dramatic change drove home the depths of indulgence I had succumbed to over quarantine.
  As of May 20th, I’ve lost three kilograms, and my body fat percentage has dropped two percent. Although I otherwise feel as healthy as ever, the rapid weight loss has left me with a dogged sense of fatigue. In two weeks’ time, my body should hopefully get used to the change, and I will know that my weight is successfully under control.
  For the sake of full disclosure, my list of preexisting conditions predates the coronavirus, and my recent brush with diabetes. Much of my youth was spent wracked by anxiety. I recently had another panic attack, the first in a long while.
  Presumably, staying cooped up at home in lieu of external stimuli invites the demons of acute self-criticism. The constant barrage of doomsday coronavirus media coverage certainly doesn’t help to put one’s mind at ease.
  Even the slightest discomfort becomes a possible symptom. An almost imperceptibly sore throat keeps me awake all night long. Of course, I have little chance to air such anxieties in the course of everyday life. Nor do they ever warrant discussion on the nightly news.
  Even so, anxiety is undoubtedly a very real byproduct of the novel coronavirus. Amidst the physical distancing, we cannot overlook the crucial importance of emotional and mental health.
  Today, I braved a long overdue excursion to the barbershop. Although most people apparently find haircuts to be a restorative, therapeutic experience, I can imagine no greater personal hell than having to sit still for an hour.
  Yet, obliged to stare at my own reflection in the barber’s mirror, I was pleasantly surprised by the modestly more svelte contours of my face. Three kilograms apparently makes a world of difference.
  

I

stepped

out

of

the

barbershop

a

new

man,

ready

to

take

on

a

brave

new

world.


  Well, I suppose that is what I should write, in the spirit of the short story genre. In reality, I simply sit at my desk, as the quotidian self-quarantine life drags on as usual.


Translated by Daniel González/Arranged by TranNet KK

Bin Konno
Born in Mikasa City, Hokkaido Prefecture, in 1955. Won the Problem Novel New Face Prize in 1978 for

Kaibutsu

ga

machi

ni

yattekuru

(A monster comes to town), which he wrote while studying at Sophia University. After graduating, he worked at a record company before working full-time as a writer. Won the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for New Writers in 2006 for

Inpei

sōsa

(Concealed investigation), the Yamamoto Shūgorō Prize and Mystery Writers of Japan Award in 2008 for

Kadan:

Inpei

sōsa

2

(Decision: Concealed investigation 2), and the Yoshikawa Eiji Bunko Prize in 2017 for the Inpei sōsa series. Presides over the Karate-dō Konno juku (Konno karate school), where he teaches karate and bōjutsu. His recent works include

Ninkyō

shinema

(Chivalry cinema) and

Mokushi

(Apocalypse), among others.

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