Goldilocks and the Three Bears
One day, a salaryman named Tatsuhiro receives a phone call from a stranger who calls herself Goldilocks. Her voice reminds him of a young woman named Sakura who was found murdered in a field when Tatsu was seventeen. Goldilocks tells him he must meet her at the apartment of the three bears, located in a highly populated sector of Tokyo. Tatsu packs an overnight bag for reasons he cannot explain and travels to the address. He rides an elevator down many floors and knocks on the door of the three bears, but there is no answer. He enters to find an empty room except for three chairs, three beds and three bowls of ramen on the floor. Tatsu is overcome with hunger. He tastes the first bowl of noodles, but it is too cold. He tastes the second bowl of noodles, but it is too hot. He tastes the third bowl of noodles and remembers that Sakura’s ears were as soft as velvet. Tatsu is overcome with fatigue and lies down on each of the beds before finding one that is covered with a traditional Japanese quilt called a kakebuton. He sleeps for three days and awakens to discover that one of the chairs has been smashed. A door has also appeared, leading to a small, windowless room, which Tatsu enters to find only a cat and an open book on a table too high for Tatsu to reach. The cat then reads a long tale about a simpleton named Yoshio, a veteran of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, who lived his final days as a sheep farmer. The three bears enter the small room, but they have no faces. Terrified, Tatsuhiro flees, returning to his own apartment. Suddenly hungry, he prepares a meal of yakitori chicken skewers, which he eats without pleasure. The phone rings, and it is Goldilocks, who thanks him for his service and hangs up. He enters his bedroom to find the cat, whom he names Sakura.
Jack and the Beanstalk
After his girlfriend Akiko disappears without a trace, Jack returns to his native village to live with his mother. Jack sleeps all day and is awake at night, while his mother keeps opposite hours, so the two never interact except for notes and meals left for each other. One evening, while he is listening to Mahler’s 5th Symphony, a handsome man appears at the door and gives Jack a sack of beans. He explains what it is to know the unknowable and departs. Jack attempts to make a bean soup called zenzai, but it is a disaster. He pours the bean mixture out the window. In his sleep, he dreams of Akiko, but it is not Akiko. In the dream, they have rambunctious but unsatisfying sex. When he awakens, an incredibly tall beanstalk is growing outside Jack’s window. Beside it is a deep well. Jack spends three days sitting in the well, imagining what could be at the top of the beanstalk. Then he climbs the beanstalk through the clouds. On top of the clouds, there is an entrance to a subway station. He descends and waits for the train. Instead, a cat walks down the track. Jack follows the cat to the next station, where he meets a detective who suspects Jack in the disappearance of Akiko. Jack senses that the detective knows he had dream sex with Akiko/not Akiko and lies to the detective about the whereabouts of a painting of the Emperor Hirohito. When they hear the distant ringing of a bell, Jack and the detective decide to find the source. They follow the sound to a dark castle owned by a giant, but it is in reality only the idea of a castle, and the “giant” is two feet tall. Jack steals a golden key from the castle and flees the “giant,” who is killed when the detective drags him through a portal to the Dimension of Other Notions. Jack descends the beanstalk and uses the golden key to unlock the door to his mother’s room, where he finds that it is not his mother at all but has been Akiko the whole time. She is heavily pregnant.
Little Red Riding Hood
An unnamed woodsman receives pornographic photographs in the mail. Soon after, he is hired by a man with white hair named Mr. Watanabe to hunt and kill a wolf in the forest. In the forest, he meets a teenage girl in a red riding hood making her way to her grandmother’s house. She tells the woodsman she has had a dream of the wolf but has written of its death, so she is not afraid. The woodsman tells her about the pornographic photos. They then have a frank discussion about breasts and come to the conclusion that pendulous is best. They part. Before long, the woodsman spies a house in the woods but feels unable to approach it. Instead, he catches glimpses of the occupants through a window and discovers he is able to hear their conversation in his head. He hears the girl in the red riding hood tell whoever is in the bed that it has big eyes, big ears, big teeth, big breasts. The woodsman knows it is the wolf but remains frozen in the spot. A cocoon on the forest floor opens and reveals Mr. Watanabe, who seals the woodsman inside the cocoon and becomes him. Mr. Watanabe/the woodsman enters the house and splits open the stomach of the wolf with an ax. Inside is a cat. The cat leads him and the girl to a pit on a mountaintop where the grandmother sits contemplating two visible moons. It is revealed that she is the woman in the pornographic photos and that her son is the woodsman, who emerges from the Not Real Moon/cocoon. They reunite. The woodsman asks his mother if he can get a cat. She says okay. They look for the cat.