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Tetsuyuki is nominally a university student in 1970s Osaka, though given his atrocious attendance record, this could hardly be classed as a campus novel. Any pretence at pursuing an education is abandoned when his father dies, saddling Tetsuyuki and his mother with a hefty debt. The yakuza are quickly called in to collect, prompting Tetsuyuki to run off.

The novel begins on his first evening in his shabby apartment on the outskirts of the city. Attempting some basic DIY in the dark — the electricity has been disconnected — he accidentally nails a lizard to the wall. The lizard survives this onslaught, though only just.

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