Rieko Matsuura, the bestselling/prize-winning author of "The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P," did an interview with Reuters the other day, finally explaining how she got the idea for a bizarre book about a woman who wakes up one morning with a penis for a big toe. It’s like The Metamorphosis for timid straight dudes…
"I’d thought for a long time that I wanted to write about a woman whose views on sexuality change in response to various experiences, but I wasn’t sure how. Just having a woman’s spirit take root in a man’s body was too cheesy."
One night, she had a dream that she had an extra penis instead of one of her big toes, and the story was born:
"This seemed to be the best way to challenge accepted thinking about sex, a woman with something that looked like a male sexual organ. Having her be naive would be more effective too, I thought.
"There are a lot of people in the world like her, who just imitate sex and gender roles without questioning them. Having her meet people who are far from the sexual norm themselves helped open her eyes."
Though Matsuura lamented that change in Japanese attitudes about gender and sexuality has been glacially slow in the 17 years since the book was written, there are still positive trends, which she attributes to greater opportunity for women. [ABC News, via Reuters]