Cathy Ulrich’s Comments
These three stories are part of my Japan series, which feature the same narrator, the Japanese boyfriend, the 12-tatami apartment, and, from time to time, an additional player who is always called Takeshi Tanigawa. The series starts with a ghost story and ends with one.
Generic Magical Girl #12 is a commentary on the magical girl phenomenon and on American superheroes and their relationships. And, of course, on the sadness of the narrator, which is what these are all really about.
For Asleep, I took the title from a Banana Yoshimoto collection, Asleep, which features a story about a woman who is a paid co-sleeper (here, the similarities end). I had in mind a particular sleeping club in Akihabara when I wrote this story. This has a very hopeful ending for the narrator, but, of course, its all a lie.
A Small World is the earliest-written of this trio, and one of my personal favorites from the series. The hikkikomori (similar in nature to an agoraphobe or a recluse) is a pretty complex element of Japanese culture, these mostly young men locking themselves away from society. This story plays on that concept and, again, highlights the narrators general misery. But it also is the only of the Japan stories where I have an excuse to mention Cowboy Bebop, my favorite anime.
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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 51 | Spring/Summer 2018