Saturday, 11 April 2015

Day Seven, the Final Day: Journal of Hikikomori

The final day: will David renounce his lifestyle? Or will his obsessions prevent him from re-entering society? Are the two mutually exclusive? Created using the pen-to-paper RPG, Hikikomori.

There is not a surface in my house which is not now covered in perfect graphs. The challenge now is to create smaller graphs to fill in the gaps, so that they will tessellate. I can almost see it in my mind’s eye- it’s beautiful…

When Lin woke up she made us some instant noodles and watched me work for a long time, in silence. We ate the noodles and then, finally, she spoke. She said that she’d never forget what I’d done for her, but she had to go back to the real world. I was confused, I didn't understand- we’d only just met and already… well, I had graphs to draw, and that’s what I did.
Later in the afternoon there was a knock at the door. The old woman, Han, was there. She came in to see me, explaining that she knew all about me and had been watching me for some time. She asked me about the graphs: I couldn't explain, I just said “I like them, I think they’re beautiful”.She spoke for a long time about how I had a bright future and there was much for me to contribute to the world. I smiled, it was nice of her to say all of that stuff, but she had no idea what my place in the universe is.When she left I thought about Lin for a while. At first it made me sad, and then I remembered how I’d enchanted her in the first place, and what Han had said. It gave me an idea.I still had some woodfilla in the cupboard under the sink. I went downstairs to my neighbours door, carefully repairing all the scratches I’d made a few days ago. It made me sad to erase the perfect graph that I’d put on his door, but I knew that he’d like it. While the filla dried I gave my own simple flat a thorough spring clean (keeping all the perfect graphs intact, of course) and hid what few belongings I had into the cupboard next to the door.Returning downstairs, I rubbed my neighbours door down with sandpaper and gave it a really nice, new gloss coat. It would be dry by the time he got home. I placed a note beneath his door, it said: “EXHIBITION, 9PM TONIGHT: DAVID’S APARTMENT, ALL WELCOME”. I made more copies and slid them under the doors of my other neighbours, including Mrs Han.I still had one secret ingredient beneath my kitchen sink: glow-in-the-dark powder paint. I rubbed the powder into every etched surface in my house, then turned on every single light I had to “charge” up the paint.When my neighbours arrived, they were wary at first, but they seemed… overwhelmed. “Just like Lunar New Year!” said one of the kids, beaming. Mrs Han smiled at me, and I felt a strange feeling inside.Once everyone left I felt something that I haven’t felt for a long time: loneliness. I felt sad that Lin had gone, but also that Mrs Han and my crazy neighbours had gone, too. I hope I might see them again tomorrow.


HOPE:                            2d10

Obsessive Hobby:           (9d10)       42
Real Friend (Lin)            (5d10)       31
Rescuer (Han)                 (3d10)       22
Delusion (paranoid)        (2d10)       8

  • Hobby: 38- indulge in hobby, lose 2 actions, gain 1 die
  • Real Friend: 29... friend outgrows me (that didn't last long)
  • Rescuer: gives some cheer, but little else.

Just one action, because of my hobby...
  • Use hobby for good: 58!
    • "You truly touch some lives, in a way that makes you re-evaluate your life.
    • Hope & Hobby gain 1d10
With all that down, all that remained was to roll on the end game table. My 3d10 came up with 16, meaning that nothing has changed. After all that David’s been through, he’s really not got much further: his made a friend, lost her and gained a rescuer. His psychotic delusions were overcome and have been supplanted by paranoia… his hobby is getting increasingly out of hand, but it seems to enable him to make connections with people. Maybe it will offer him a way out, or at least a way for others to come in.


HOPE:                            2d10

Obsessive Hobby:           (11d10)     
Rescuer (Han)                 (3d10)       
Delusion (paranoid)        (2d10) 

Looking back on this exercise, I admit I'm a little bit disappointed by the quality of the writing, and with how I dealt with re-telling the dice rolls in the context of the story. The temptation to re-edit it was strong, but that wouldn't really be in keeping with the purpose of these posts.

I developed quite an attachment to David, and was disappointed he never found a way out. It's important, however, to remember that David was merely a fictional creation. RPGs are great because players are able to immerse themselves in the skin of someone else- but it's important not to lose sight of who you are! Ewen Cluney sums this up beautifully in his rules to Hikiokmori:
Once you have all that figured [the final outcome of the game] out, write an epilogue. Once you’ve done that, take a moment to pull yourself back into reality as thoroughly as you can. Even if you’ve been thinking about things you might not have ordinarily, you are who you were before you started. Now think about how you can make your life better. It’s in the rules of the game so you have to do it

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