Konna yofuke ni banana ka yo
[A Banana? At This Time of Night?]
Bungeishunjū (Bunshun Bunko), 2013. 560 pp. ¥760. ISBN 978-4-16-783870-6.
Also published in: n/a
Those who answer his call are mainly university students and housewives, who form a community with Shikano at the center. The book describes the cohort of some 500 people.
Shikano admits himself that he is self-centered. He must rely on others not only at each of his three meals a day but also for assistance in going to the toilet and bathing, removal of phlegm with a suction device, and administration of medicine. Even so, he does not hesitate to give orders to the volunteers. Once he even wakes a volunteer in the middle of the night, saying that he wants to eat a banana—the source of the book’s title.
Nonetheless, the volunteers keep coming. They are not helping him out of simple kindness; they seek to reconsider their own situations, finding this an opportunity to think seriously about how they should live their lives. Through caring, they gain valuable experience and learn a lot. This is described in great detail via the daily routine of someone with a disability, the lives of volunteers, and the changes in their thoughts and inner feelings. (CK)
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