Sawami, the 37-year-old narrator of this novella, is out of work. He had been a direction assistant at an educational film production company, but was also engaged in black-market sales of pornographic photographs of his elementary-school-aged daughter, Chiharu, and other girls who appeared in his company's films. His wife divorces him and obtains a restraining order preventing him from meeting his daughter; he also loses his job.
At the end of October 2002, he is living in his hometown of Jinmachi, Yamagata Prefecture. He makes a trip to Tokyo to try to give Chiharu a birthday present, but this ends in failure. All who know him heap abuse on him for his actions. He returns to Jinmachi, where an old friend of his, now an elementary school teacher, invites him to direct a play starring two young girls. It turns out that these girls, distraught at the prospect of moving apart the following spring, are planning to commit suicide together . . .
This work serves as a narrative bridge of sorts between Abe's novel Shinsemia (Sinsemilla) and his following work, Pisutoruzu (Pistils). It also features episodes taken from his earlier novel Nipponia Nippon. In a sense, Abe has spent more than a decade continuously producing a single epic work against the backdrop of Jinmachi. Another piece in this volume, Umagoya no otome, was translated by Michael Emmerich as "The Maiden in the Manger" in A Public Space Vol. 1 (2006). Two other short stories round out the collection.