The Strange Young Man, Shinichi Hoshi

Here's the rest of the story. I was kind of disappointed by the end, but the more I think about it the more terrifying it seems to become. My only question is, why wait five years?

You can read the first half of the story here.

"The Strange Young Man", by Shinichi Hoshi, continued:

"Your name is...?"

"The name you had when you were alive doesn't mean anything once you're a ghost, does it?"

"Yes, you're quite right." The manager thought as he said this. The young man was certainly was a strange person. What he was saying and his way of speaking didn't seem flippant at all. So was he disturbed? If he was somehow made sane again, he'd clearly remember who he was, wouldn't he? The family could be informed, and the hospital could demand medical fees.

It was for the young man's own sake, too, and there was no doubt that the hospital's reputation would be improved as well. To start, a patient this strange was a first. He couldn't restrain his curiosity.

The manager took the young man with him to the neurologist, and informed him of the circumstances. The doctor also showed an interest, and began to question the young man again.

"So it seems that you're ghost..."

"Yea, I'm a ghost."

"I see, and about when did you become a ghost?"

"Five years ago."

"How did you become a ghost?"

"Doctor, don't you know that kind of thing? How people become ghosts?"


Translating (a bit) on the Fly

Recently I've been looking for a short story to translate. I'm not sure I really have any criteria outside 'interesting', and I'm not that well-versed in Japanese authors outside the famous ones that have already been translated. The other day I went to the library and just picked out a few that seemed promising. The story I've settled on reading so far is called "Not Only Bread", by Meisei Gotou (「パンのみに非ず」、後藤明生). He's been translated into English ("Shot By Both Sides") before, but this collection isn't.

While his sentences don't seem terribly difficult, and there isn't a ridiculous amount of kanji for me to trip over, he does have some long sentences, kind of as if someone was talking to you or writing in stream of conscious, so I'm a little worried as to whether or not I can get the right tone. It's pretty humorous, as far as I can tell; it's the story of a guard at at a weight-loss center on the top of a mountain. I say weight-loss center, but the Japanese is 断食道場, which I suppose is literally 'fasting place'. Googling a bit it seems more like what we'd call a health and wellness center, or something, so that might be the better term, since I'm not sure if the people there have weight-loss in mind when they come to fast. I've only really translated the first page, and I'm not very happy with it. I'm going to read far ahead with as little dictionary interruption as possible, and then try to go at it again.

If you're looking for something Japanese to read, Shinichi Hoshi's stuff is fun. The sentences are straightforward, so I've been reading him in between other more difficult things; otherwise I run away to English books (or worse, the internet), and get no studying done at all. Here's a bit I did from おかしな青年. I translated it on the fly, so I'm sure there are things that aren't quite right, but I'll only put up enough to make you want to read it yourselves. Shinichi Hoshi does have a collection published in translation, so if you think you're reading skills aren't up to snuff, you may be able to find it in English (with a less clunky opening than my own).


"The Strange Young Man", Shinichi Hoshi

There was a large hospital. In this general hospital, with both internal medicine and surgical departments, there was also quite a substantial amount of medical examination equipment. The receptionist, wearing a troubled expression, came to the manager with some news.

Actually, there's a strange person here, and he won't leave.”

Is he sick?”

He doesn't look sick, but he must be.”

What's strange about him?”

He's mumbling nonsense.”

Now I'm interested. Lately all we've had is cut-and-dry cases. The consistency gets tedious. Let's have a look at him then. Bring him in.”


The woman returned with the young man, and had him sit in a chair. It's this person here.”

I see. Well then, please get on your with work...” The manager began to talk to the young man. Well then, what seems to be the trouble?”