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Life among the morlocks

Several years ago, I wrote a story called "Subterrania," about a girl who decides to cut herself off almost completely from the outside world, and just stay in her room, for presumably the rest of her life. At the time, I thought I was writing one of those quirky, CW 111-type stories, to be classified under "non-realistic fiction." It was after the story was published and won a prize that I learned that such self-imposed urban isolation was, in fact, something of a phenomenon in Japan.

The word for these "adolescents and young adults that feel overwhelmed by the Japanese society, feel unable to fulfill their expected social roles, and react with social withdrawal" is hikikomori. And now, well, there's even a movie. (Lord knows if it's any good; the plot doesn't seem promising. But then again I suppose many of my favorite films would sound stupid when reduced to a two-paragraph summary).

Anyway, rereading "Subterrania," it's kind of nice to recognize the state of mind I was in at the time I wrote it, to remember what inspired it (sunless weeks semi-working over a pointless thesis, and general withdrawal from most social activities), to know that the prospect of becoming hikikomori-like was once oddly appealing, and to realize that, for one reason or another, I don't feel like that at all, these days.

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4 Responses to “”

  1. Blogger Budjette 

    The brother of my friend is going through this "hermit" like state. Has been at it for several years. He used to work (in a bank?), then quit, and now just stays in his room playing video games. He asks his sisters to buy him the stuff and he just stays home all day.

  2. Blogger Luis 

    Hi Budjette! Oh, man. My knee-jerk reaction is to say, "That's sad," but I don't know him, much less have an idea of what's going on in his head. Perhaps he's happy, and if his family has the means to support such an existence, maybe it's not such a bad thing. Or maybe it's a cocooning stage of sorts, and he will soon stagger out blinking into the light, like a Dong Abay or Brian Wilson.

  3. Blogger Adam 

    uy, morlock!! 'di ba, sa PAROKYA 'yun?

  4. Blogger Pauloy 

    Have you seen 'Thomas in Love?' It's exaclty that, but in French with a sexual twist.

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Best described as a Murakami detox support group, we're all fans of the quirkily brilliant Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, and writing about such things as films we've seen recently and books we're reading (not to mention meandering musings on the man's work, of course) helps us to pass time while waiting for the next book from Haruki-baby.

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