2021 Reading Challenge – Week 26 – The Emissary

Wednesday, the day after withdrawing from classes, I left work and went to a cute little part of St Louis called the Delmar Loop. It was a day for celebrating. My first day of freedom! My first full day free from worrying about grades, free from worrying about school debt, free to goof off as much as I want (outside of work).

Spending some time at the Loop was a way to celebrate. I went for Vietnamese food after work and ate it without having notes sprawled out on the table. Got some bubble tea without rushing over to a laptop to access textbooks. Then it was off to the art store for some watercolor paints! Because you can bet your buns that I’ll be doing more painting now.

just a little sketch to see what the watercolors are all about!

Best of all, I went to a little book store and got 2 new books! One was Catherine Cohen’s God I Feel Modern Tonight: Poems from a Gal About Town, and the other is Yoko Tawada’s The Emissary. The first one, I plan on reading tonight, and the second? Today I finished reading Tawada’s The Emissary at about 0545 while on the bus to work.

Y’all, I highly recommend this book! It made me chuckle, it made me sad, and it made me really think about a lot of things that I might not have otherwise considered.

Also known as The Last Children of Tokyo, The Emissary is a sci-fi novel that takes place in, you guessed it, Tokyo, Japan. After an ambiguous national disaster contaminates the soil of the island, Japan reinstates an isolationist policy, closing themselves off from the outside world. The oldest generation, raised on uncontaminated foods and lands, isn’t just strong; they grow stronger by the day, wondering if they’ll ever die. And the newest generation? They’re all weak and diseased and always growing weaker.

They’re also….hopeful? No, that’s not quite the word that I’m looking for. But what is?

With deterioration as their new normal, the last children of Tokyo don’t despair. They don’t wallow, or mope. They just take each day as it comes. Is a long life full of vigor worth the emotional toll of raising a generation of youth knowing that their life will be full of pain? What’s the toll of knowing that they will die before you, never having been as lively you now are at 120 years old?

P.S. Freshly Stale briefly reverted to a previous WordPress plan and I had to revert the site back to how I like it. This ended up deleting the last post I made! It’s saved onto my computer, and will be put back up ASAP. Thank you for your continued support! 😊


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