Before she left again, Min said the world had changed. It was not something she could see or explain easily, and yet she was sure something was different. When I asked, she said it was like opening a book she had read a long time ago and realizing the story was not as she remembered it.
“The words are the same as they always were,” Min said, “but now there is new meaning in them, and I can no longer see them any other way.”
I thought of the books I’d read with this concept at their heart — where the characters discover hidden truths beneath a surface of well-crafted lies — and how I could always put them down and return to the life I knew. But for Min it was different. The world was a story she wrote as she went; she could not simply put down the book because the book was her life. …
This story is part of the Internet Time Machine, a collection about life online in the 2010s.
As a writer, I often go to house parties. These parties take place at the homes of some guys I know. You’ve probably heard of them: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. They’re alright people most of the time.
House parties are a bad idea for writers like me. When I’m at them and I don’t talk, I feel like I’m not supposed to be there. When I’m at them and I do talk, I feel like an idiot. …
I went to Shimabara because of a newspaper article. It said a young man by the name of Keigo Kirino had died at a local speed eating contest. It was a riceball that did it; a chunk which became lodged in the young man’s throat and refused to leave. He died on route to the hospital.
He was 29.
Apparently, nobody had died at a speed eating contest before. …