Things are constantly coming into being, and ceasing to be. Nothing lasts.

i spent three hours (or more?) today talking to a man i'd just met (who'd randomly walked by and found the store) about Buddhism. i feel that i can relate to Buddhism way more than any other religion i have ever tried to accept into my life.

Buddhism, the man said, is about finding your true self, your inner being.


all of a sudden, the man asked me if i read Haruki Murakami.

he then took up a copy of Murakami and pointed to it, saying, "He writes really blue stuff. He's so blue that his writing makes you want to jump off a building."

i don't know how but we started having a conversation, and then he started talking to me about Buddhism, which he had started exploring a few years ago.


i was really curious about him. he was telling me about the history of Japan and China, and he seemed really knowledgeable. i thought he was a history teacher, but he'd told me that he doesn't work in the arts/creative industry, "far more it, in fact", according to him.

he kept telling me about how blue Murakami's novels are.

i asked him, "So you are a pessimist?" because he really sounded like one, but he said, "No, I'm not a pessimist, but it's true that this world is full of suffering and pain. The only way you can end the suffering is to become enlightened. Then you won't have to reincarnate endlessly into other forms of being. Then the suffering will stop."

maybe that's how we started talking about Buddhism.


he especially likes Murakami's "Pinball, 1973". that is my favourite Murakami novel as well, after "Hear the Wind Sing". he was particularly moved by one scene which describes a car moving along the ups and downs of a hill, like a cat. i don't remember the scene, but he kept insisting that it happened, and that it's a beautiful scene.

the car, the hill, like a cat.


"Pinball, 1973 (1973年のピンボール ,1973-nen no pinbōru?) is a novel published in 1980 by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The second book in the "Trilogy of the Rat" series, it is preceded by Hear the Wind Sing (1979) and followed by A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), and is the second novel written by Murakami.

All three books in the Trilogy of the Rat have been translated into English, but Pinball, 1973, and Hear The Wind Sing, the first two books in the trilogy, were only printed as English translations in Japan by Kodansha under their Kodansha English Library branding, and both only as A6-sized pocketbooks. They were never widely distributed, and are now out of print, however Pinball, 1973 is by far the harder to find as it was almost certainly not printed in as many copies as its precursor. Murakami is alleged to have said that he does not intend for these novels to be published outside of Japan. Whether or not this is true, both novels are much shorter than those that follow and make up the bulk of his work, and are less evolved stylistically. Because of its limited publication, the English translation of Pinball, 1973 is the most rare (and the most expensive) novel published by Murakami. The title, 1973-nen no Pinbōru (1973年のピンボール) reflects the title of the well-known Oe Kenzaburo novel, Man'en Gannen no Futtoboru (万延元年のフットボール)."


March 31, 2009 at 1:57 PM マイケル said...

Murakami kills me everytime.

I can't wait to swing by SG and visit your shop. I've been reading your blog the past weeks and i can't help but sigh at how tragic that i am not anywhere near your street.

"Anyone who falls in love is searching for the missing pieces of themselves. So anyone who's in love gets sad when they think of their lover. It's like stepping back inside a room you have fond memories of, one you haven't seen in a long time." — Haruki Murakami

March 31, 2009 at 9:24 PM Sputnikm said...

Just like music, the arrays of music you listen to are a mirror images of yourself. People are attracted to them because they see themselves in it. They are blind together by what the lyrics got to say. The same goes with books too.

I love murakami' novels, not because he is blue. It more of a case that I see myself in each of the characters' that he formed.

March 31, 2009 at 10:10 PM Stephie said...

i'm a recent murakami fan - caught DINNER WITH MURAKAMI, a documentary about his works. it's interesting, you should catch it!

I've read a wild sheep chase, never knew it was part of a trilogy. now i am intrigued! i'm curious, if PINBALL is so hard to find, where in Singapore can i find it?

March 31, 2009 at 10:19 PM R said...

stephie: it's almost impossible to find "pinball, 1973" in bookstores. the english version is out of print already ;(

the chinese translation (which is the one i read), however, is readily available in local bookstores and public libraries!

マイケル: you're currently living in tokyo? come visit us if u ever come to singapore!

Sputnikm: i agree with you. just like how i read ginsberg and think i see myself in him. murakami's fiction, i feel, is full of the sadness and loneliness and emptiness of modern existence, and i think this is something that we can all relate to.

March 31, 2009 at 10:24 PM R said...

oh by the way, stephie, i saw on your blog that you'd watched Dinner with Murakami, unfortunately when i knew abt it the festival was ending already. hope i will get to catch it somewhere in future!

March 31, 2009 at 10:29 PM マイケル said...

Shopkeeper, R: Yes, I'm currently living in Tokyo, doing grad school on weekdays, and an absolute sloth doing random things for fun that someone wouldn't care about on weekends.
i hope i could come by singapore this year to visit some would be my pleasure to visit your cafe, too.

March 31, 2009 at 10:34 PM R said...

マイケル: where were you originally from? (sorry, but i have a particular obsession with people's origins and history and life stories..heh)

well i have plans to visit tokyo as well at the end of 2009, but my plans never work out. instead, i always end up travelling somewhere else on a whim. anyway, yes, you should come visit singapore! ;)

March 31, 2009 at 11:41 PM Stephie said...

thanks for that - ok i go and find from library... should be quite a LONG and struggling read if its in chinese (:

yes, dinner with murakami is really good, try to check it out... he doesn't appear in it, but has a lot of critics discussing his work. best part of the documentary is when the director gets random passersby on japan streets to read a passage from his books, and discuss what they think abt it as a japanese.

April 1, 2009 at 3:10 AM マイケル said...

R: I was born and raised as a Filipino.

But you know this feeling that somehow, your existence is some cosmic joke, and you'd rather believe that you belong to the bigger world in general, like a global hobo, like how Jewish thinks they aren't particularly Jewish, now that they are everywhere. But don't take this like some kind of a treason to patriotism. I love everything about my country.
but then..."there's nowhere to go but everywhere. keep rolling under the stars, generally the Western stars"---Jack Kerouac, On the Road

April 1, 2009 at 1:12 PM Sputnikm said...

"No man should go through life without once experimenting healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness. Finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true & hidden strength."

- Jack kerouac, Lonesome traveller

April 7, 2009 at 11:26 AM Anonymous said...

here's a copy of pinball 1973... that is if you can afford it.

anonymous j