Hello, this is Honobu Yonezawa.
As I admit it would be in poor taste for me to provide commentary on my own novel in its afterword, allow me to instead share with you some memories of mine.
The first short story in this collection, “What’s Inside the Box,” centers around an election to choose the student council president. In my own high school, we had a system wherein only the position of president was voted on, and that president once elected would then fill in the remaining positions with their own choices—essentially the same as how presidential elections work in America—and the system in this short story was based on that. That said, I naturally don’t remember anything about the vote submission boxes or how they were handled.
In “Not Reflected in the Mirror,” our characters find themselves atop the school roof. The first time I ever set foot on the roof of my alma mater was when we did the location scouting with other members of the Hyouka adaptation crew. The area was normally completely off-limits to the students, removing the need for any protective fences around the edge, and I can’t say I felt very safe being up there with the strong wind blowing against me. I am, well, not a very big fan of heights.
I rarely have specific people in mind when writing my stories, but I wrote “Is it Sunny out in the Mountains?” based on a rumor I heard in my school days that claimed there was a teacher there who had been struck by lightning three times in their life. Of course, I do not guarantee the accuracy of such rumors, and I did not use any aspect of that teacher as a model for Mr. Ogi aside from that simple inspiration.
Although “Our Legendary Volume” dedicates a large portion to the reading of Oreki’s book report, I’m not sure I ever actually wrote an opinion essay on a book of my own choosing like that. In fact, I seem to recall doing such book reports was entirely optional. I do remember needing to submit some kind of poster design to a competition put on by the local road authority, and I drew something along the lines of a bus being destroyed by some falling rocks, but it didn’t made it past the first round. Thinking back on it, I probably should have drawn a picture showing how the road authority was doing something to prevent such a thing from happening instead.
In the flashback featured in “The Long Holiday,” the word “pilotis” makes an appearance. This word refers to an architectural technique where the first floor of a building uses pillars in lieu of walls, known to be a staple in Le Corbusier’s designs. It’s rather annoying to write about things that are so commonly seen yet have such unknown names, and while I’m sure nearly everyone encounters things like grates and bread tags in their daily life, how often do you see them pop up in novels?
The titular short story in this collection, “Even Though I’m Told I Now Have Wings,” was something I had in mind for a very long time. It was probably ever since “Approximating the Distance Between Two” was published that I knew how this aspect of the series was going to progress and play out. Even earlier than that, it became increasingly clear to me that I would need to write about Chitanda specifically.
The book began with Oreki making stir-fried noodles and ended with him making chilled noodles. Oreki’s method for making stir-fried noodles, or yakisoba, is nearly identical to my own with one main difference—I make sure to thoroughly press down the noodles over a high heat so that it gets grill marks and doesn’t unravel. Refrigerated noodles like that normally unravel when they heat up, which prevents them from developing that dark color.
Each of the short stories in this collection was something that I knew had to be written. Now that you, the reader, are able to read them, I feel like I have managed to carry out one of my great responsibilities.