Tokyo Knife Attack

June 8th, 2008

There are very few times in life that you can look to and say, “Now I know that ‘x’ book changed my life.” Usually, whatever way a book might have changed you is subtle and insidious. You never notice the choice you made or the shift in your reactions.

Today was not like that. My reading of this BBC article was changed by having read Haruki Murakami, I’m not sure for the better. My initial reaction, upon reading that the knifing happened on the same day as another knifing from 2001, was to think that it would be a Murakami story in a few years. A lot of his work is about finding order and shape to the seemingly meaningless events that surround us. Once the matching dates came in, it just felt like one of his stories. Combine that with an increase in mass stabbings… and well, I start to feel a little guilty thinking that way.

This Just In…

December 25th, 2006

Murakami, like so many of the successful artists in this world, comes from money. Small yawn. I remember a friend in college saying that he wanted to bring back the age of the patron. I’m at work now, so I can’t say that I blame him. The sad fact of the matter is that making art takes time. No one ever reads the first, second, or third draft of a novel. Most art forms are like that. The time you need to work on it has to be, in effect, bought. And now, back to work.

Wild Sheep Chase

December 10th, 2006

A while ago I read A Wild Sheep Chase by Murakami. I kept talking about it until Mark asked me to let him borrow it. He liked it too. The other day we came up with a drink we were both quite happy with, and we decided to name it A Wild Sheep Chase. While it’s served cold, I do think think it’s a nice winter drink. Here’s how we made it.

A Wild Sheep Chase
2 1/4 oz dark or medium rum
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes lemon bitters (we had Fees)
1 dash aromatic bitters (again, Fees)

I’m thinking of making it two dashes of the aromatic, but that’s because I love aromatic bitters, and on some level I want to add them to every drink I make.


Norwegian Wood

December 2nd, 2006

At around 4 A.M. I finished Norwegian Wood. The last sentence did not sit right with me. I had loved it up to that point, and then the last sentence left this little sour note in my mouth. I have a friend who speaks Japanese and was pretty sure that he had read it, so I shot him off an email.

He had read it. He also knew the translator of the official release. Based on his trust of the translator, he told me that the last line was probably well translated, though he didn’t have his Japanese copy to check for himself. Small world.

Even with the last line reading the way it does, I think this has become a favorite novel. I was tempted to re-read it the moment I finished, not that Murakami needs my good words to make his fortune, as the book was a wild success.

When reading something in translation, I always feel a little sad that I won’t be able to experience the story in the language which the author created it. There is something about the way that Murakami writes that does not leave me with as much of this melancholy feeling. What I like about him is what he chooses to put into a scene, the objects and things he chooses to describe, and not the way that he describes them. It may be I would get even more out of the way he describes them. I’ll have to live without that, but either he, or the translators that handle his work, are very good at softening the blow.

I can’t wait to get to Kafka on the Shore and Wind Up Bird.

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