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Cutting Off a Piece of the Sky

Cutting Off a Piece of the Sky

There once lived a man who was trying to cut himself a piece of the sky. “You know, I have eaten a cloud before.” (This was his single source of pride.) Now he was thinking he’d like to cut off a piece of the sky, prepare it like a bar of purple youkan bean paste and eat it. So he hurled kitchen knives, scissors, and other blades up at the sky, flinging them up, over and over again. This continued for a year. But the blades kept falling back to earth, and countless cuts now covered his arms and head. He realized, “I’m just not going to be able to slice the sky with cutlery.” With no other options, he went down to Akasaka and bought some high-quality youkan. He spray-painted it blue then ate it.


This short story originally appeared as 「空を切り取る」in the book『ただいま、おかえりなさい』 (Tadaima Okaerinasai).

INUI Akito

Translation by
W. David MARX

Illustration by
TADA Reiko

October 12, 2007

Inui Akito is a playwright and founder of Tokyo theatre group Crack Iron Albatrossket.

W. David Marx (Marxy) — Tokyo-based writer and musician — is the founder and chief editor of Néojaponisme.

Tada Reiko is the drummer for the band Kiiiiiii and an accomplished illustrator. Her artwork has graced t-shirts at Tower Records and Beams, the horoscope page of CUTiE, and a whole slew of tour products for popular band The Boom.

Posted in Fiction and Literature 4 Comments »

4 Responses

  1. erisdiscordia Says:

    “Posted in Fiction, The Future”?

    I guess Andy Warhol had it all wrong.

    The future is not about short fame for everyone.

    The future is about spray-painted bean paste.


  2. neogeisha Says:

    youkan is for japanese authors what the motorcycle is for their american counterparts.

  3. patrick Says:

    Think there might be a small typo in the Japanese transcription, wouldn’t it be 「買いに行って」 in the second to last phrase in place of 「会いに行って」? Although going to Akasaka for a romantic rendezvous with some youkan is a beautiful image! I love these stories by the way, I feel like my mom is reading me a bedtime story, but then someone hits me on the head with a rock.

  4. W. David MARX Says:

    Good eye, Patrick. That was my transcription error.

    Whoa did we get hacked. I just got back from a small vacation, and we’ll get new content up once stuff gets fixed.