Ulthar in the Fourth Dimension: Hagiwara Sakutarō’s “The Town of Cats”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

This week, we’re reading Hagiwara Sakutarō’s “The Town of Cats,” first published in 1935 as Nekomachi; the English version in The Weird was translated by Jeffrey Angles and originally appeared in Modanizumu in 2008. Spoilers ahead.

“When the inhabitants did anything—when they walked down the street, moved their hands, ate, drank, thought, or even chose the pattern of their clothing—they had to give painstaking attention to their actions to make sure they harmonized with the reigning atmosphere and did not lose the appropriate degrees of contrast and symmetry with their environs.”

Summary

Narrator, once an avid traveler, no longer has any desire to explore the physical world. No matter where one goes, one finds the same ...