Five authors from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan come together to write a tale of fantasy and intrigue based on the theme of “chopsticks”. In the miraculous stories that unfold, chopsticks become much more than eating utensils; they are also family treasures, as well as conduits to divine power.
Chopsticks: simple, ingenious, essential. A central and utterly unremarkable feature of life in East Asia. A symbol so powerful it is almost invisible – that is, until five authors from Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong invoke it as a central theme for five wild stories of fantasy and intrigue.
Japanese author Mitsuda Shinzo opens the tale with the story of a young schoolboy who is seen at lunchtime performing a wish ritual before a pair of chopsticks stuck into his rice (an action considered strictly taboo in East Asia, as vertical chopsticks resemble graveside joss sticks). The 84-day ritual promises to bring a response from the spirits, but the boy and his classmates must be careful what they wish for.
Taiwanese author Xerses echoes the schoolyard setting in her chapter, in which a boy who wears a pair of coral chopsticks around his neck finds himself the center of female attention. Under the female protagonist’s searching eye, his relationship to his chopsticks – and the divine power they store – does not stay secret for long.
Hong Kong writer JeTauZi turns things even darker in her tale of a famous YouTuber who is poisoned while livestreaming, and his girlfriend’s quest to uncover his killer. But all three stories come to a surprising climax in Xiao Xiang Shen’s fourth chapter, which weaves all three stories together in a single tale of dark intrigue that ends with a bitter twist. Finally, award-winning author Chan Ho-Kei brings everything back to his native Hong Kong, rewriting history and transforming the backstory into a masterpiece of science fiction, cosmic entities, and Lovecraftian horror.