I am not going to tell you what I think of this story (PDF which you can download free until March 2012). Because I translated it and that would be some kind of conflict of interest. I will just suggest that you read it. And then donate. Because this is a more than worthy cause. (And of course, you can read the story in Japanese by buying it here, with all the proceeds going to charity.)
If you are less than interested in great causes, it is a great story by a great author who has yet to make his presence felt in the English-speaking world. But really, that’s only a matter of time. (Oh, wait. I said I wasn’t going to tell you what I think of the story. Uh, sorry?)
And Toh EnJoe’s musings on rockets and the nature of writing itself are not the only excitement. Up-and-coming young Japanese authors of all stripes have contributed stories (including recently discussed Mieko Kawakami), and all kinds of amazing translators have donated their efforts to bring you these stories in English. So click through, read some great fiction and send what you can spare to the Japanese Red Cross, who are still hard at work in the hardest-stricken areas of northern Japan. Because a thing like the March 11 earthquake, you don’t just recover from that overnight.
UPDATE: Guess who won the Akutagawa Prize! Mr. Toh EnJoe himself! (He is the guy on the left if you click on that link.) “Silverpoint” is not the story he won for, but it’s still a great story and pretty representative of his style. And it’s up on these interwebs for a good cause, so go download it already, and put some money in the Red Cross hat.