Kama Sutra

As part of their final, students were required to translate a story called Kama Sutra. This is my own translation. It is not as literal as any I would require my students to submit, but then I’m not being graded…

by Murakami Haruki, from Yume de aimasho, 1986.


appy Birthday” she said, as she held out a pretty small box tied up with green ribbon.

We were eating roast beef, while drinking scotch and water in a splendid restaurant on the thirty-second floor of a high rise building. It was, after all, my birthday.

“So what do you think it is? Take a guess.”

“Hair clippers,” I said. But I was joking, of course.

When I took off the wrapping paper, there appeared a small box, ruby-red and shining with a glitter. Inside this small box was a piece of paper the size of a movie ticket. And on this piece of paper was written, “Pleasure Ticket.”

“You can redeem it any time you like,” she said.

When I got home, I opened the top drawer of my desk. Tucked away inside were seventy-eight “Pleasure Tickets” of various colors that I had received from seventy-eight different girls.

When I took them out, I added the new ticket, making it seventy-nine.

A manageable number.

I dug a hole in the garden with a shovel, and buried the seventy-nine “Pleasure Tickets” I had stuffed into an empty grape-candy can. And then I pulled out the hose and watered it.

That’s the… how can I put this? That’s the kind of personality I have.

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