28 August, NISIOISIN

文字数 3,489文字

Street for you


If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you want to go? I want your top three. When this question was presented in my social studies class, my immediate response was Las Vegas. For its get-rich-quick image. Of course, Las Vegas isn’t so much a gambling city as a city of adult entertainment that includes some gambling, and it’s no place for little elementary school boys, but I didn’t know that then. Next, I triumphantly wrote Paris. What a clear illustration of my longing for the fashionable and artistic. Exactly how I was back then, when I came to school in tracksuits. And the last thing I wrote, after much indecision, was Antarctica. I wanted to stand out by picking something eccentric that I thought nobody else in class would write down. In reality, Antarctica is a famous place where the world’s researchers flock for work, and over half of my classmates had chosen it. Some of the bravest even put it as their top pick. Darn, should I have chosen the North Pole instead? What’s more, everyone had picked Las Vegas and Paris, too, meaning that I realized that I had nothing original about me and neither did anyone else, except one person.
  Although the specific place names chosen didn’t stick in the head of an elementary school boy at all, one kid’s answers were somewhere in the midst of a civil war, somewhere with extreme poverty, and an oppressed country. He had a common reason for choosing those places: because if I go somewhere where a lot of people are in trouble, I can help a lot of people. Of course, this invited laughter from the whole classroom; the teacher only scolded him, saying, This is Social Studies, not Morality. Stop trying to show off.
  Maybe that’s what I was doing. Sorry, my classmate said, apologizing for messing around.
  Twenty years have passed since that day and now, thinking about it, I can see that the student was far more earnest than the teacher. He admitted that he’d been trying to be impressive, that he had picked those places for moralistic reasons rather than because he wanted to go there. Through the process of elimination, he had chosen places beyond Antarctica and the North Pole which nobody else in class, as sickeningly lacking in originality as we were, would have also picked. Anywhere he could get by without running into the kind of people who simply laugh at or scold others. That was where he really wished he could go. That being said, I feel like, since I became an adult, I don’t run into any of the kind of real outcast weirdos which there used to be one of in every class when I was in elementary and middle school, but nevertheless, I wonder if he’s made his dream come true, unlike the rest of us, who now cannot go anywhere.


Translated by Morgan Giles/Arranged by TranNet KK

NISIOISIN
Born in 1981. Debuted with the 23rd Mephisto Award for

Decapitation:

Kubikiri

Cycle

. He has authored numerous books such as the Zaregoto series that begins in the same work, the Monogatari series that begins with the animated

Bakemonogatari

, and the Bōkyaku tantei series that begins in the TV drama

Okitegami

Kyokō

no

bibouroku

(Okitegami Kyoko's memorandum). He is also active as a manga author, and his representative works include

Medaka

bokkusu

(Medaka box) and

Shōnen

Shōjo

(Doomed boys and girls). His newest work,

Deribarī

rūmu

(Delivery room), is slated for publication on September 30th, 2020.

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