JUNKO HASEGAWA, author of The Unfertilized Egg, was born in 1966. She is well-known in Japan for her regular appearances in a variety of magazines as a writer of "illustrated reports"; humorous, comic-strip style essays in which Hasegawa depicts the trials and tribulations of the generation of Japanese women to which she belongs. She has recently embarked on a career as a writer of fiction and essays. "The Unfertilized Egg" is taken from her first short story collection, Germination.
An interview with the author
Q: What inspired you to write your particular short story in this collection? Is it something you read about in the news media? An incident from your own life?
A: The idea for this story sprang from my worries about my own love life, uneasiness about my own future, about being single, and then all the little things that can happen in the course of a day. But when I looked at the finished story, I didn't feel it was particularly a reflection of my own life and feelings. I just felt it was a picture of the usual, average life of a single woman.
Q: The stories from INSIDE AND OTHER SHORT FICTION explore the multitude of women's identity issues and a major overriding theme—the difference between the woman the world sees and the woman one is inside. Do you believe the inside self and the outside self are always different? Is this an issue you've confronted on a personal level?
A: A lot of women seem to believe they have to conform to certain expectations. Women who are perceived to not conform to these expectations can end up losing self-confidence. I'm still not married, and I don't have children; I don't have a steady job or a reliable income, and I often worry that people think of me. As a woman in her late thirties, leading a life in which I only have myself to think about, I feel that as a woman, as a human being, I am somehow inferior. But recently I've started to feel that if I can pour everything I've got into my work as a novelist, then that would also be worthwhile, and this makes me regain confidence in myself.