Shota had not seen his parents for two years, although they lived in the next room. In the early evening he stood silently at his bedroom door, listening. He slid the paper screen open an inch and waited; there was nobody. He opened the door wider so he could bend down and pick up the tray. On the tray was a bowl of chirashi – a home-style recipe of sushi rice with smoked salmon, avocado and egg – and a pot of green tea. He returned to his room, slid the door shut and ate his meal in silence.
Shota’s mother blamed herself. And why not, everyone else did, including Japanese society and Shota’s father. “Amae”, his father spat, using the emotive word for the co-dependant collusion between mother and son. Every day Shota’s mother tried to imagine the reason for her son’s withdrawal, tried to calculate the moment his life stalled. Sadly, the root cause was unknowable to her. The truth was it was such a small thing that had such profound consequences. Like the leaking sink in the airliner galley that causes a chain of events that leads to the crash; the complex machine destroyed by drops of water.