Lemon by Motojiro Kajii

A collection of poetic short stories written in 1924. The eponymous novel is one of his few books to be translated into English and are recognized today as masterpieces in Japan.

The story follows a tuberculosis and anxiety ridden man that comes across a grocery store selling lemons whilst walking aimlessly in Kyoto and buys one that he likes the look of. The cold textured lemon makes a profound effect on the man, eliminating the heavy weight of his anxiety.

“Although I would not like to admit it, for a great many years I had been searching for nothing else but such simple pleasure of the sensation of touching something cold; the sense of touch; sense of smell; vision, now embodied in this lemon. It seemed to me to be a mystery”

He takes his lemon to a popular book store in Kyoto; Maruzen and makes his final action of placing the lemon on a pile of books imagining that it were a bomb, soon exploding with his unease.

This subversive act of defiance became tradition in Japan, leading to no end of people placing lemons on books in Murazen stores in as tribute to this book.

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