February 23, 2006


Feeling homesick - or nostalgic or however you want to call it - for Japan doesn't happen a lot but if it does, it gets triggered by small things.

Music, or a random comment on tv, or something like a pre-publication from the latest Haruki Murakami book. Which is what I was reading last night in a favourite magazine: Vrij Nederland. [The fact that the magazine has a pre-publication of a new book every week is part of why I like it]

The narrator was describing a place like Shibuya or Shinjuku with all its chaos and noise - karaoke signs, game arcades, Japanese kids on the streets etc etc. Ah, I'd LOVE to be back there again. Wandering the backstreets in Tokyo - better yet, Osaka - watching people, going out for great food on the 50th floor of some building in Shinjuku, etc etc.

Murakami is one of my favourite authors, with his book Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the end of the world on top of the list.

His latest book, After Dark, has been out in Japan for a while and the translation will be published next month (and the pre-publication was of this edition). I have a thing about wanting to read books in their original language, if at all possible. Theoretically speaking, it should be possible and I'm so tempted to get the book off Amazon even if I shouldn't be spending money (which I am as it is, so that's really not an argument). But, I still have half a shelf of J-books waiting to be read... :s
Not to mention the fact that I'm trying to stay away from my Japanese books because I'm struggling with French. Why did I ever think languages were fun?

[Can a Japanese reader at least let me know whether the book has been published in pocket-edition yet? Amazon only shows the hardback version. Ta!]

Unrelatedly, I have to laugh at some of my engineering colleagues. My work is very very simple, but I just had someone on the phone asking how to use the fax machine... You wonder how they get around to doing their own work at times.


daniel leussink said...

i have been giving a go at one of murakami harukis books too - it has 6 short stories, very nice. i read about 1 page per hour, missing half of the points (and the kanji !) still, it is a very enjoyable experience.

at the japanese bookshop in amstelveen they have plenty of jap books and also murakami ones. they might even have his new one. otherwise maybe the guy can order it.

machiruda said...

Ah, you mean 神の子どもたちはみな踊る? That was my first Murakami in Japanese as well I think. I really enjoyed it although the stories talk about very simple things.

There's also a bookshop 'specialized' in Japanese books in Leiden, although I was quite disappointed with their selection. I should just order it off the net though..

daniel leussink said...

no, its a different book i am reading ! the first story is called 'robbery of a bakery', as is the book.

the one in amstelveen used to be in the okura hotel (before i went to japan) but a year or so ago they moved it to amstelveen. guess that is where the jap community is in holland. it is run by a japanese man, with his family, i think. he has been here for 20 years or so. it is the biggest japanese bookshop in the benelux !