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Posted 8/20/13

lessiehanamoray wrote:

I took an Asian Lit class recently and really fell in love with Murakami's Kafka on the Shore. Keep meaning to read more, but I'm currently obsessing over Lovecraft when I read. Definitely want to read more Murakami and wouldn't mind poking at some of the other authors some more either.


Last night I finished reading Murakami's Norwegian Wood. Loved it, and was considering moving on to Kafka on the Shore.

But first, I've promised myself that I'll finish The Tale of Genji.
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Posted 8/28/13 , edited 9/6/13
I'm starting to read 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

slowly reading it lol

never mind, this book is boring. I quit

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Posted 8/29/13 , edited 8/29/13
Don't really know if this counts....

But I'm reading Romaji Diary and Sad Toys by Takuboku Ishikawa.
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Posted 8/30/13 , edited 8/30/13
I really love Murakami's earlier books - A Wild Sheep Chase (and its semi-sequel, Dance, Dance, Dance), Hardboiled Wonderland..., Norwegian Wood etc.
Actually, my favorite book of his might be Spuntik Sweetheart, which a lot of fans seem to dislike intensely. It features one of the most heartstopping, creepy scenes in modern literature. If you've read it, you probably know what I'm talking about.

As much as I've enjoyed his later output, I feel like he's falling into the trap that she shares with many authors who have a distinct literary style - it feels like he's consciously writing to appease his fanbase, and that he's not really developing as a writer anymore. I guess that's okay, but sometimes his later books almost feel like a parody of his own writing. I even got that sense with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle a little, although that novel really is him distilling all of his obsessions and themes into one handy volume.
Many years ago, I think it was after the release of the movie Fallen Angels, I read an interview with the HK film maker Wong Kar-wai, where he was asked if he'd ever develop a film based on Murakami's works, as the interviewer (Jonathan Clements, who some of you might know - he's worked as an anime translator and critic on occasion) noticed distinct similarities between Wong's and Murakami's output.
Wong replied that he really hated Murakami's work. He found the characters and dialog stilted and unnatural. He went on to say that, around the time of publication for Norwegian Wood in Chinese, lots of angsty teens would affect speech patterns similar to Murakami's characters. Well, I can imagine how grating that would be. Murakami's protagonists are almost always detached, empty vessels lacking in much color or personality. I think that's the point though - these characters inhabit the fringes of a bland existence, where strange, magical realist, things occur and the people they meet are never what they first appear.
Anyway, please excuse the rambling. Just wanted to recommend some of his earlier books. Also, his short story collections - The Elephant Vanishes and After the Quake. The Elephant Vanishes actually contains the story that was later re-worked as the opening chapter of Wind-Up Bird. The short stories, and earlier, shorter novels are probably a really good place to start if you want to explore the Murakamiverse.
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Posted 9/24/13
I absolutely loved Norwegian Wood by Murakami. "Ice Man" was also an interesting read. Though I've been studying Yasunari Kawabata's short story style with Palm of the Hand Stories.
Literary fiction, plus short story style-- perfection.

I own 1Q84, but I only read like two pages. It didn't catch my interest and I am also not too fond of third person narratives. Ah, right, I also have Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino and The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto. Grotesque is dark, but good.

There were also quite a few short stories I read of Japanese origin, but I do not own the book from which I read them, so I unfortunately can't give any names.
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Posted 10/12/13

Sixx7 wrote:


fcasano wrote:


Squisky wrote:
It makes sense that you would have up to date data. That's interesting though. Can't say I'm disappointed, we'll have more readers. Also, parents buy their kids inappropriate things all the time anyway. Video games, movies etc.



I'm just of the belief that there are things, no matter how popular, that are conceptually difficult for people to understand. For a long time, certain types or aspects of anime were conceptually beyond me because I lacked basic understanding of Japanese culture - there were things I didn't really get about anime, like why the characters with moms who worked seemed to have "weird" families, that sort of thing. I'd never buy a book like BR for my 8-year-old. But I might be old-fashioned...


I agree with this sentiment. Every culture has their own viewpoints and especially with comedy, some things will translate better than others. I would almost say that if you want to jump into Eastern literature, you should look into tragedies before you look up something humorous. Most tragic themes are universal but comedy...not so much.

Eastern storytelling is very unique in its style. Even watching Japanese films, I noticed that the way films are done is very different compared to Western films: there's more emphasis on faraway shots while in America, we love to get close-ups of everyone's face so we can really see their inner turmoil. I've only just started to read translated novels but already I notice that, like most Japanese films, the stories are very inner monologue-heavy and when it's not monologue-heavy, it's almost jarringly distant from the characters. You read the story as if you're a God, unable to do anything but watch in horror as the tragic events unfold. But I really like what I've read so far.

Has anyone read anything by Haruki Murakami? My friend loaned me her copy of 1Q84 and it's excellent. She also told me to check out another book by him titled, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle . Apparently the second book is significantly better. But the one I'm reading now, while insanely long, is a really interesting story that follows two different people. If I say anything more, it'll spoil the story but trust me, it's worth checking out.


Yup, I've read Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore. Both of them I find good, although the former had a bad ending (and by that, I mean no ending). I have the first two books of 1Q84, which I picked up for the low price of £2.00 at a charity shop I went to work experience for.
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Posted 10/12/13
Has anyone ever heard of the book Train Man? It's about a geek who saves a rich girl from a drunk on a train, and wanting to deepen the relationship, he starts a new thread on 2-channel and asks for the help of the members there.
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Posted 2/1/14
Hello. I am new to the forum and have read only two books written by Japanese authors, No Longer Human and Norwegian Wood . I am not sure where to go from here and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions?
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Posted 2/1/14

ihauc1 wrote:

Hello. I am new to the forum and have read only two books written by Japanese authors, No Longer Human and Norwegian Wood . I am not sure where to go from here and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions?


It depends on whether or not you want contemporary or classical, or even light novels.

Haruki Murakami works have been widely translated. If you liked Norwegian Wood, you should check out more of his works.
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Posted 2/5/14
I have read all of Murakami's novels as well as:

Kawabata's: Snow Country, Beauty and Sadness, and Thousand Cranes.

Yoko Ogawa's: Hotel Iris and The Housekeeper and the Professor.

Abe's: The Box Man, The Woman in the Dunes, and The Ruined Map.

Soseki's: Kusamakura and Kokoro.

Mishima's The Sound of Waves.

Tanizaki's: The Key and Some Prefer Nettles.

Shohei Ooka's Fires on the Plain.

Hiromi Kawakami's Manazuru.

and Junichi Saga's Confessions of a Yakuza (non-fict).

I love Japanese fiction for its subtlety and deeply felt emotions. There is always an underlying stress
on beauty as well, that is incredibly attractive to me.
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Posted 3/7/14 , edited 3/9/14
For the folks who like Murakamis' works, try the works of Ha Jin. Chinese author I believe (so maybe a bit outside the purview of what this thread is about), however there is a sparse poetry to his prose which compliments the feeling one gets from reading Murakamis pieces.
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Posted 3/19/14 , edited 3/19/14
Thanks for the suggestions. I have just finished Hotel Iris and Snow Country . I plan to start Beauty and Sadness soon.
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Posted 3/19/14
A good contemporary author you should check out is Banana Yoshimoto. I like her sense of humor even though her topics aren't funny.
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Posted 3/28/14
I agree with the feeling you have while reading Japanese literature that it is deeply emotional and uses beautiful imagery. American lit. has become cinematic in nature because of the society, but I feel that Japanese lit. has maintained the writer reader relationship where the reader has to do the work inside their head to form the image in their head to understand the story.
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Posted 3/29/14
I love Akutagawa but mostly read light novels these days.

I agree that Japanese lit is more emotional and evokes beautiful imagery. It isn't the language as much as it is the style. Very different from western lit.
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