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Inside a grimy six-tatami room lies a darkly stained blanket — an ominous reminder of its owner, and his demise.

Scattered on a circular chabu-dai coffee table are empty jars of “one-cup” sake and shōchū (distilled spirits), the moldy remains of a convenience store bento-box lunch and horse-racing stubs — hints that the inhabitant may have met his sudden, solitary death while contemplating his chances at the racetrack.

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