Wednesday, June 30, 2010

some more from Murakami's "Norwegian wood"

Reyko about Watanabe: You’ve got this funny way of talking. Don’t tell me you’re trying to imitate that boy in ‘Catcher in the Rye’?

*
Despite her protest, Reiko played a fine "Michelle".
"That's a good one," she said. "I really like that song." She took a sip of wine and puffed her cigarette. "It makes me feel like I'm in a big meadow in a soft rain."

*
Reiko: But really, though, what are you good at?"
Watanabe: "Nothing special. I have things I like to do."
"For instance?"
"Hiking. Swimming. Reading."
"You like to do things alone, then?"
"I guess so. I could never get excited about games you play with other people. I can't get into them. I lose interest."

*
I said I liked her wrinkles a lot. She thanked me.
"But don't ever tell another woman that you find her wrinkles attractive," she added. "I like to hear it, but I'm the exception."

*
“Can’t we talk about something a little more cheerful?” asked Naoko.
I didn’t have anything cheerful to talk about.

*
Sleep came and carried me into a mass of warm mud. I dreamed of willows.

*
"Morning is my favourite time of day," said Naoko. "It's like everything's starting out fresh and new. I begin to get sad around noon time, and I hate it when the sun goes down. ..."

*
The sky was a fresh-swept blue, with only a trace of white cloud clinging to the dome of heaven like a thin streak of test paint.

*
"So if you understand me better, what then?"
"You don't get it, do you?" I said. "It's not a question of 'what then'. Some people get a kick out of reading railway timetables and that's all they do all day. Some people make huge model boats out of matchsticks. So what's wrong if there happens to be one guy in the world who enjoys trying to understand you?"

*
We got back to the cafe a little before three. Reiko was reading a book and listening to Brahms' Second Piano Concerto on the radio. There was something wonderful about Brahms playing at the edge of a grassy meadow without a sign of anyone as far as the eye could see.

*
Reiko: "I have a lot more patience for others than I have for myself, and I'm much better at bringing out the best in others than in myself. That's just the kind of person I am. I'm the scratchy stuff on the side of the matchbox. But that's fine with me. I don't mind at all. Better to be a first-class matchbox than a second-class match".

*
On my way to the gate I passed several people, all wearing the same yellow raincapes that Naoko and Reiko wore, all with their hoods up. Colours shone with an exceptional clarity in the rain: the ground was a deep black, the pine branches a brilliant green, and the people wrapped in yellow looking like otherworldly spirits that were only allowed to wander the earth on rainy mornings. They floated over the ground in silence, carrying farm tools, baskets and sacks.

*
I felt exhausted, desperate for sleep, but it simply refused to cooperate.

*
Midori: "Sometimes," she said, rattling the ice in her glass. "Sometimes, when the world gets too hard to live in, I come here for a vodka and tonic."

*
"Whenever a sex scene starts, you can hear this 'Gulp’ sound when everybody swallows all at once," said Midori. "I love that 'Gulp!' It's so sweet!"

*
Yellow and white chrysanthemums in a vase on the table by the window reminded people it was autumn.

*
I wrote a letter to Naoko on Sunday morning. One thing I told her about was Midori's father. "I went to the hospital to visit the father of a girl in one of my lectures and ate some cucumbers in his room. When he heard me crunching on them, he wanted some too, and he ate his with the same crunching sound. Five days later, though, he died. I still have a vivid memory of the tiny crunching he made when he chewed his pieces of cucumber. People leave strange, little memories of themselves behind when they die".

*
Nagasawa puffed on his cigarette while I thought about Midori's father. There was one man who had probably never even thought about starting Spanish lessons on TV. He had probably never thought about the difference between hard work and manual labour, either. He was probably too busy to think about such things - busy with work, and busy bringing home a daughter who had run away to Fukushima.

scanned and spellchecked by the blog author, as per edition

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