In a faceless apartment in Tatekawa, Tokyo, an American woman hires a Japanese woman to translate interviews about Japan’s declining birthrate. The American woman is presumptuous in her knowledge of Japan; the Japanese woman suffers from a self-professed excess of critical distance. They grate, fight, and crash together in love or lust, at which point their story gets hijacked into science fiction territory, as the translator interrupts their work sessions with stories from a world infected with the knowledge of its own demise. This neighbourhood has already known devastation, having been wiped out the night of March 9th, 1945, by American bombs.
The third protagonist is the Tatekawa itself, the canal covered by an elevated highway that runs past the translator’s apartment, which gives the neighborhood its name. Reflecting back the concrete world in distorted patterns of blue, green or glittering black, the Tatekawa transports a shifting procession of birds, shoes, condoms, crabs, plastic bags, flowers, big fish, little fish, death, life.
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