A Cure to Feeling Like You Need to Be Cured: Talking to Sayaka Murata in Tokyo
I go to Japan, pulled like a magnet, to see what is mine, undiscovered or forgotten; to see what will never be mine; and to find some way to reconcile the two.
Lost in Translation
Convenience Store Woman (translated into English by Ginny Tapley Takemori)
I am not Keiko
Have you considered freezing your eggs?Don’t you think it happens just when you aren’t looking for it? Have you tried online dating?
Convenience Store Woman
So while I naively expected her to reflect some misfit tropes—disheveled, brazen, and off-the-cuff, perhaps—I got instead an elegant tea in a beautifully mod lounge in her publisher Bungeishunju’s office, talking to a deeply thoughtful, self-aware, and impeccably dressed writer via an interpreter.
New York Times
“Keiko is taking everything that comes at her,” says Murata. “It’s sort of a sumo thing, to use a Japanese reference. She’s really confronting the thing and looking at the world. Shiraha is running to what’s easiest, to a safe place where he can’t get hurt, where he can stop thinking about all this stuff. Shiraha can’t be pushed to that edge because he’s not questioning himself. He’s not interrogating himself in any way.”
Convenience Store Woman
That’s what a human is
The mistake was my desire to belong to it. To do anything other than try to understand, exist respectfully within its boundaries, and let it expand my curiosity both inward and outward, without confusing that for ownership.
OkaybirthdaycakedeathWhy is your hair so dark
I was born like this.
Aja Gabel's debut novel is The Ensemble. Aja's prose can be found in Kenyon Review, New England Review, Glimmer Train, BOMB, and elsewhere. She has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Houston, Sweet Briar College, and Pacific University, as well as at conferences and community workshops. She earned her BA at Wesleyan University, her MFA at the University of Virginia, and has a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. Aja was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown 2012-2013, and currently lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Bear.
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Tango is not a thing that can be done halfway. Neither, I learned, is memoir. You’re either all in, or you’re dishonest.