From The Gate (1910) by Natsume Sōseki, translated by William F. Sibley (2013):

For the first two or three weeks after their arrival in Tokyo the days went by in a dizzying blur. Along with the predictably hectic business of setting up a new household and settling into a new job, they were nearly overwhelmed by the concussive stimuli that, day and night, filled the air of the bustling metropolis. They lacked the time to think about anything at leisure and the composure to weigh their options with any care.

I do not get the purpose of the writer by "concussive stimuli". Does it just mean "in the bustling city they came across some things that were convulsive and made them worry"?

1 Answer 1


Concussive means something that leads to a concussion, a brain injury caused by a hard blow. The characters who have newly arrived in Tokyo are overwhelmed by the sensory experience of the city, such that the stimuli, i.e., the sounds, sights, smells, etc., feel like an assault. They are not worried by something specific that they come across; the noise and movement of the big city is just too much for them.

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