Tag Archives: Murakami


In the span of 2 weeks: What started off feeling like a muscle strain in the right foot degenerated into tendonitis. The slight discomfort experienced while walking has become full-out limping. It goes without saying that I won’t be playing the piano with my right foot pedaling for awhile.

But I am also immensely thankful that in this foreign country, I still have people I can go to for help, people who take care of me without asking for anything in return, people who call to check on me just to see if I’m ok.

And simple pleasures I can still partake.

Prayers and well-wishes are greatly appreciated for now!

Writing About Writing

“…writing a story isn’t a means of self-therapy, it’s nothing more than a meager attempt at self-therapy.”

– Murakami, Hear The Wind Sing

Although Mr Murakami seemed to have taken a rather pessimistic view towards writing as a form of self-therapy in his first novel, I’d like to think that it works rather well for me.

Thoughts that feel jumbled in my head, thoughts that I fret about, thoughts that lurk around in hidden corners of my brain – somehow they assume a certain natural order and form when I pick up a pen and attempt to coax them out. Through writing, I can rationalize my thoughts, analyze why I think or feel in certain ways, and strategize what I can do about them. The more I write, especially with pen and paper, the more I feel that the processes happen naturally.

Sometimes I read what I wrote in my many previous notebooks, and surprise myself by finding the words increasingly unfamiliar, as if they were penned by someone else. And perhaps they were – A hidden being in the depths of my consciousness.

We all need an outlet for expression, and writing works for me, more so than verbal expression. I’ve always been selective about who and what I confide in and about. Furthermore, with voice, I may get distracted by tone, thrown off by subtle vibrations and feel overly conscious about vocal quality. Not forgetting body language, eye contact, and a host of other things to consider when it comes to expressing yourself verbally. But writing, a largely silent and private activity, feels more patient. It provides space, and the possibility of  expanding it. I can take as much time as I need between each word, to coax my hidden thoughts, their motives and intentions to life. And because I don’t always need to let the whole world know what I’m thinking, I relish getting to know that hidden part of my being, sometimes all too easily buried under the 21st Century’s emphasis on impressive appearances, confident delivery and effective presentation.

South of the Border, West of the Sun

Read this a few years ago, and recently re-read it again.

It’s amazing how some books can be so impactful in terms of the emotions they conjure in me, yet I don’t remember anything about the storyline after awhile.

Because sometimes, all that remains … are the emotions.

Reading this book again made me realise how it is possible that I could easily forget the storyline. The characters are not dramatic. The events are not action-packed. If anything, the story is scene after scene of seemingly mundane conversations, short exchanges, reminisces, and self-reflections.

“Only now, when that thirst is satisfied, do I realise how empty I was. And how I’ve been hungering, thirsting, for so many years. I can’t go back to that kind of world.”

But what stayed on after the text had ended were not these scenes. What stayed on in the sea of my mind were the emotions, poignant and thoughtful, easily buried yet also easily resurfaced.

“No one will weave dreams for me – it is my turn to weave dreams for others. That’s what I have to do. Such dreams may have no power, but if my own life is to have any meaning at all, that is what I have to do.”

Feelings are a mysterious thing. And words are powerful tools, potent in the hands of a master storyteller.

I could… But…

I could go on like this forever, but...

Had a conversation with a friend the other day, about what is meant to be will be VS working hard to change what will be.

How do we know when we need to continue working hard for what we want, for the goal could just be a few hidden steps away, reachable by a little more effort, a little more time, a little more…?

At the same time, how do we know when to accept that certain things are never meant to be, never will be, will only bring disaster if it were to be, and we therefore should let it be?

In other words, when do we accept our lot, and when do we continue fighting?


When I received the call today, and heard the rather disheartening news, my mind came back to this conversation.

I guess I could have fought back, even a little. I could have argued. I could have said something. Asked questions. Anything.

Instead, I kept quiet. Silent.

Until her “hello?” forced me to reply with a “…Ok.”

I guess, I just felt so tired. Tired of explaining myself, tired of justifying what I want to do and achieve to people who probably don’t and won’t understand.

How long can you keep fighting a battle for your dreams, before you start to feel that maybe you are not pursuing the right dreams anymore?

Perhaps it is relative, and perhaps it is still too early for me to say such things. After all, Nelson Mandela waited for more than 20 years before he saw a glimpse of his dream coming true.

But I know this – my heart is restless, and I want to do what I think I can be good at doing, before it is too late to do it.

I just hope I still get a chance.

“…I dreamed a dream of time gone by

When hope was high and life worth living…”

“…So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed…”

Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood Screen shot

I once wondered what is it about rain that makes people love it so much. Where did the romantic idea of sitting by a window, reading a book in silence, while the rain falls outside, soothing our souls with its falling rhythm, come from?

I found the answer in Norwegian Wood. Murakami has never failed me yet.

“When it’s raining like this,” said Naoko, “it feels as if we’re the only ones in the world. I wish it would just keep raining so that the three of us could stay together.”

And it dawned on me that perhaps the nature of rain does have an inert power to make us feel safe, to make us feel as if we’re  enveloped in a cocoon, which nothing could ever penetrate. As long as the rain keeps falling, time will stand still. We are safe.

And in our world of constant changes, in our world where so many of us have been hurt because we trusted wrongly, where so many of us have been disappointed by lack of stability, we yearn for the security of the rain, falling in the distance, wrapping us in an invisible cocoon. We yearn for it, even if we know it will not last forever.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World


“It’s not so strange that when your memories change, the world changes.”

“Most human activities are predicated on the assumption that life goes on. If you take that premise away, what is there left?”

A world of dreamreaders, unicorn skulls, Calcutecs, Semiotecs, sound removal technology, and nameless librarians. And as if one world wasn’t enough, the story alternates between two parallel worlds.

And in usual Murakamian style, the plot kept suspense till the end, making one wonder whether we might all have an “end of the world” within our souls.