A lonely high school girl finds nowhere she feels at ease, so every day she visits a famous shopping mall in downtown Tokyo, wearing the only clothes she can relate to, Emily Temple cute, a Lolita designer’s brand. After school she hangs out in front of the Emily Temple cute shop, identifying herself with that brand. Then she meets another lonely soul, clad in another designer’s brand. But this turns out not just to be an ordinary boy-meets-girl relationship. Both kids have their own miseries. They might look like quintessential Japanese Otaku nerds, but they’re only too human. Their awkward friendship builds as they each suffer from bullying and harassment, as well as worry about their futures. A very contemporary fable, told in the spirit of the Victorian novels and fashion that embody the Lolita lifestyle, “Emily” was a finalist for the annual Yukio Mishima Prize, a literary award in Japan.
The collection includes two more stories, “Corset” and “Readymade,” introducing you to the apparently strange world of outsiders today. Through the magical storytelling of Novala Takemoto, tragedy ends in happiness and optimism. This volume is the most favorite title of the author’s devoted readers in Japan, and when you read it, you’ll surely relate to the geek aspect of contemporary culture.
That’s where I was the first time you talked to me, at La Foret, the fashionable mall located at the intersection of Omotesando and Meiji Dori. There were a few chairs there that anyone could use to pass some time. Rising up between the chairs was a great tree, looking like it belonged there. I don’t know if it was a gingko or a poplar or a gum tree. There were green leaf-shaped objects in the space between La Foret and the street. Instead of show windows, the stores inside La Foret used these hollow translucent objects for shop displays. I sat behind the leaf-shaped objects, on the side of the building, facing the entrance to La Foret, hiding behind the leaf that had the list of shops on it. I sat directly on the ground, hugging my knees to my chest. I didn’t look at anything in particular, and I didn’t think about anything in particular, and I stayed there in the same position until the store closed. That was the only place they’d let me hang out.
Why didn’t I run when you spoke to me? Why was I able to answer you, even with a stammer? I would normally be frightened by any male—whether it was the police, a high school boy trying to hit on me, a poor old country bumpkin confused and looking for directions, or a little Boy Scout holding a donation box. If any male tried to communicate with me I would flee in a flash. Somehow you were special. You’re still special to me. Special things are always special right from the start and remain special until the end.