For our modern Japanese lit class, we read A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami. We had only one week to go through the book on our own, reading it in two big halves. Mind you, I could have started long before but I delayed it and ended up finishing more than the three quarters of it on one thursday night. I thought that I might stop reading after a while, but I got sucked into the story after a while and forced myself to stay awake to finish it.
It’s only my third Murakami book but I still had the same sort of nostalgic feeling (for a lack of better word, can one be nostalgic of a book?) when I finished and I still can’t get use to it. The way he finished his books seems (for at least these three) to be quite abrupt and even if I did not really like the narrator that much, I felt sad we had to part so early. It’s an annoying feeling, it’s almost three in the morning yet, you cannot sleep because there is a man on a beach crying. And he is not real. And you don’t really like him.
It’s interesting because we are also watching Spirited Away in the same class and finishing a Miyazaki movie tends to leave me with the same sort of longing and sadness. It was a nice ride but I wanted more.
It’s funny because I probably watched Spirited Away more than any Ghibli movie yet it still manages to draw me in when I watch it. We stopped out screening (because the class is only one hour long) when Haku gives the rice balls to Chihiro. It’s a moving scene. Especially because of the music.
There is also something similar to the Wild Sheep Chase book and the movie. In both, the protagonist get dragged into weird situations that have their own ways of functioning.
One part of WSC that really impressed me was when the narrator and his girlfriend went to Sapporo. They had enough money to cover their expenses, they did not care about jobs or other person (or cat, because someone took care of him). In short, they were free. They had something to do, but they could do whatever they judged necessary for it. I like this weird idea of freedom. Especially the fact that they knew and did not know what to do, trying their best but getting by because of luck.
The way they choose where to stay, for example, had a sort of magical aura to it. Sometimes I wish I also had something to do, and had a weird magical power that will lead me to it magically. I will just go somewhere, just like Joel went to Montauk in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And the places where I’d stop would be relevant. The people I’d meet will make me move forward.
It seems to happen to people often in Murakami’s novels. It’s how the main protagonist of the Wind up Bird Chronicles meets Nutmeg and gets a job. Or how Kafka ends up in the library, I think.
Or maybe, how Chihiro and her parents ended up somewhere else too.
The pillows-Brand New Love Song (vocals)