novel translations

Clock Tower

Author: Ukari (translated with author’s permission, please visit their website to see the original Japanese works!)

To say here is far, and to call yonder nearby. Stories on the edge of the every day, strange tales you may or may not be moved by. Strange, curious, fantastic stories told by me, you, him and her. There are many stories but they’re all concluded within a single page, each story around 200 to 1200 characters in length, a short story collection you can easily read. Please enjoy them. Updated every Saturday at 6pm.


There’s a clock tower over there. It’s 17 metres high. There are clock faces all over the inside and outside walls. But not just analog clocks. There are also fluorescent digital numbers peeking out from the gaps here and there. It almost looks like the clocks themselves were compiled to make the shape of a tower. But no matter how you look at it, the only thing you can call it is a clock tower.

However, there’s no way to tell the time. The clocks hands all intertwine with those of other clocks. The short hands are all tied together like ribbons, and the long hands chase the other long hands. The Arabic numbers are connected by the dozens in horizontal rows, so it’s hard to tell where one begins and one ends.

And inside the tower, there are so many clocks joined together like thorns that it’s impossible to enter. It’s like the clock tower rejects people entirely.

But according to the clock tower keeper, “This clock tower keeps the time of every country, city, house, and even person in the world.”

Once it’s pointed out how they each represent subdivided individual time, no-one can point out how any of them are wrong. Because it could be the time of someone living somewhere on this planet. It might even be your own time.

But if the role of the clock tower is to represent time, then it really doesn’t function as a clock. If you look up to see what the time is, nobody can give you an answer.

“And that’s fine,” the clock tower keeper said. “Here is time from all over the world. Meaning, it is the truth of everything on this planet, and it is the answer to all as well. The truth is valuable because it’s not so easy to find, and while the answers are unique to each individual, they are also tied to the truths and answers of everyone else as well. The world is made up of individuals, but it cannot be made up of individuals alone.”

‘Yeah, that makes sense,’ I thought.

If so, then one day I’ll find a watch that suits me and me alone. That was what I thought.


Original Japanese

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