Kamisama no Memochou:Volume 8 Afterword
It will soon be ten years since I worked at a dirty mahjong parlor in the Takada Riding Grounds. Both the staff and the regular customers had quite peculiar personalities, so it was an interesting work place that took three whole years worth of life experiences. I read lots of novels in that parlor, and I started writing and submitting novels there, too, because I had free time. That, and I was broke.
When the parlor got a new owner, we were all fired. What would have happened had I kept working there?--Even now, I often wonder that. I probably wouldn't have become a novelist. Anyway, it was a comfortable work place. Four days a week I worked for twelve whole hours, and the other three days I did nothing. Had I kept gambling, I would have probably ended up taken by the police while playing dice, praying at the morning sun in Totsuka's police station.
Lately, when someone asks me if I like mahjong, I reply with “I've been playing it my whole life”, which isn't really an answer. With the idea of inhaling second-hand smoke the whole night, every night, thanks to playing with people that aren't even my friends, I really don't know if I like mahjong or I hate it anymore. But it's true that I don't really feel like playing too much.
Well, as I had to write a short story and the deadline was drawing near, the only idea I had was “Yondaime's old man will appear”, I was in a quite bad situation, and then suddenly mahjong surfaced inside my head. The plot was put it order surprisingly fast. It was strange. Even if I lost the mood to play, the electrifying sensation of holding the tiles and being smeared on tobacco and nicotine probably won't disappear until the day I die.
Like that, this 8th volume includes the two short stories I wrote for Dengeki Bunko Magazine's 20th issue.
The second chapter could be called a short story too, since it surprisingly ended up taking much more pages than expected.
By the way, if you watched the anime, you might have noticed a strange coincidences. The truth is that the second chapter of this volume was the original idea I had for the scenario of the first episode of the anime. In the end they almost didn't use my scenario except for the introduction of the case, and since they left the general outline behind, it ended up being a different scenario altogether. Since I have the mentality of a poor person, I included that original draft in volume 8. I think the ones who have the Blu Rays or the DVDs will find it interesting to compare the story with the anime. Yes, this is publicity. Ah, but sorry, when this volume comes out, the Blu Rays/DVDs won't be out yet. They come out in September the 28th.
I revived the idea that I had suggested to be put in the anime but wasn't used, and you could say that this whole volume consists on recycling, so I advanced from the planning stage to the manuscript quite smoothly (chuckle). As a result, there were lots of unworkable ideas that had to be completely renewed before the deadline, though, so I found out that I had counted the chickens before they hatched. My deepest apologies to whom it may concern.
I've been writing Kamisama no Memochou for quite some time now, so when I remember things from the past, I get filled with deep emotions. It's the series that continued for the longest time in my career, so when I write it, some strange vectors are born in the story. It's not like I think and then write, but the story itself asks me to write it; that kind of feeling.
Of course, that's just an illusion (if it wasn't, I'd patent it and sell it to people on the same business!), but it's still a special and pleasant feeling. I'd say it's close to the feeling you get with the Gestalt Collapse, in which you don't know if it feels good or if it's scary.
Anyway, this volume has that “I received a phone call, so I went to look for something I forgot” kind of feel. This must be the most confusing afterword I've ever written so far, but I can't really explain it better. I want to believe you'll understand when you read it. We novelists get our food on the table precisely because be write things that one could only understand after reading 300 pages.
Speaking of which, I kinda think that life would be quite fascinating if I could bring food on the table just by writing four afterword pages. Just kinda, okay? I love writing a lot. Yes. Really.
Editor in charge Yuasa-sama, illustrator Kishida Mel-sama, and the whole staff and cast from the anime who rowed to widen the world of this series: I apologize for just sitting snugly on the back of the boat to gaze at the landscape. For giving me that place, I offer you all my warmest, warmest thanks.
September 2011, Sugii Hikaru.
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