I built a strange and fantastic castle, mixing reds and blues throughout.
Motojirô Kajii, Lemon, 1925*
On that day, I was unusually doing my shopping at that particular shop. In doing so, I discovered a most rare lemon. Lemons are pretty common. This shop was not particularly shabby, no different to any other greengrocer and so I had not spent time browsing here before. Oh how I loved this lemon! The colour of this lemon was exactly like simple, solid lemon yellow paint squeezed right out the tube…taking the form and shape of a spindle… Eventually I decided to buy this single item. From here, I wondered where would I go? I walked down a street for a long time. The continuous oppressive pressure of the ominous lump on my heart that seemed to slacken ever so slightly, just for an instant, which made me wonderfully happy. To the extent that for the first time I was distracted from the persistent depression, I perhaps should have been doubtful that this lemon brought so much happiness, but it was paradoxically real.
at Nagoya University, 2010
Another amateur translation to be found here.
Lemon, edition Cold Green Tea Press,
translated by Chinatsu Komori and Kenneth Traynor
A poor and ill young man roaming through the streets of Kyoto stops by a greengrocer and buys a lemon. He becomes fascinated by the commonplace piece of fruit and begins seeing it as a bomb ready to explode. Kajii's work Remon (The Lemon) has become a major reference* in Japonese modernism.
*A discussion of the short story with Suzuki Sadami, author of a dissertation on Motojirô Kajii, The world of Motojirô Kajii, p.21
5 Motojirô Kajii, photo Wikipedia, author unknown