Japan has a venerable tradition of quirky and inventive means of escape from the oppression of summer, as well as from rigid social constraints and conventions. Some of them take distinctly weird forms. In Edogawa Ranpo's classic story, "The Stalker in the Attic" (1925), for example, the eccentric protagonist — as if a mosquito of tedium is buzzing inside his head — escapes from the boredom and constriction of his daily routine not by fleeing into wide, open spaces but by climbing into an even more constricted space, the closet of his apartment, and choosing to sleep there.

From that self-imposed constraint, he happens to discover a gateway into an entirely unsuspected "other world," the attic that spreads horizontally above all the apartments in his building. He draws himself up inside it and into a world of surveillance of the private lives of his fellow residents, eventually dreaming up means of cunningly bumping them off.

Within the format of a murder thriller, Ranpo was inventively making the point that an entirely new world of seeing things is available to the protagonist (and us) if only we knew how to tap into it.