Theme: is the conflict between generations in changing Japan. Meaning the ways of past generations are giving way to new values that have not been fully developed in the younger generations. One exanple of this being that suicide, carried out in the face of defeat have now lost of its meaning and honor in younger generations.
His mom is the ghost
The fugu fish and the story of Mr. Watanabe and his family are subtle hints about the end of the story, foreshadowing.
Are you moving to California THEME
Symbols: Fish, mom, ghost
Fugu is a fish caught off the Pacific shores of Japan. The fish has held a special significance for me ever since my mother died after eating one. The poison resides in the sex glands of the fish, inside two fragile bags. These bags must be removed with caution when preparing the fish, for any clumsiness will result in the poison leaking into the veins. Regrettably, it is not easy to tell whether or not this operation has been carried out successfully. The proof is, as it were, in the eating.
Fugu poisoning is hideously painful and almost always fatal. If the fish has been eaten during the evening, the victim is usually overtaken by pain during his sleep. He rolls about in agony for a few hours and is dead by morning. The fish became extremely popular in Japan after the war. Until stricter regulations were imposed, it was all the rage to perform the hazardous gutting operation in one's own kitchen, then to invite neighbors and friends round for the feast.
At the time of my mother's death, I was living in California. My relationship with my parents had become somewhat strained around that period and consequently I did not learn of the circumstances of her death until I returned to Tokyo two years later. Apparently, my mother had always refused to eat fugu, but on this particular occasion she had made an exception, having been invited by an old school friend whom she was anxious not to offend.... [continues]
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