Saturday, 13 June 2009

Wind-Up Birds and Other Things of Trivial Import

Well, it is my third day of being home sick. Technically it is Saturday, so I wouldn't have been in to work on a regular week. However, since today follows two days of being home sick and since I was planning yesterday, when I was feeling a little better in the evening, to go in today for a few hours to finish something up, I feel as though I am skipping work again. Gah. Now my Saturday's all ruined with feeling sick and guilty again. Well, after I finish this post I will go grocery shopping. Get out of the house a bit. That might make things better. Also, I will set up my own computer for a bit so I can get some documents onto portable storage. I want to continue writing. Actually, a piece I just mentioned on a comment on Jon's blog--a conversation between a half-dozen characters--required finishing, so I'll tackle that maybe.
OK, on to the titular topic: I just finished reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Well, OK, I read an English translation. Anyway, it's quite enjoyable, if a little odd. It's about a man named Toru Okada trying to rescue his wife (and his life) from supernatural forces. Only "supernatural forces" doesn't quite cover it. I'm not talking so much about demons or ghosts or other things that Western lit fits under that title. It's more people who do supernatural things and some ambient-but-less-than-ambient force (tao, way, energy, qi) that permeates history. Trying to explain it does not good at all, because it's not easily categorizable or quantifiable. It's very reminiscent of Eastern religion in that sense. "The tao that can be explained is not the Tao." That's from the Tao Te Ching. It's right at the beginning.

Anyway, Okada is searching for his cat and then his wife, both of whom disappear. He encounters strange and interesting people, including a morbid but friendly sixteen-year-old girl struggling with the sorts of things rebellious sixteen-year-old girls struggle with, such as how to relate to her thirty-year-old male neighbour; an entirely mute young man and his rich and fashion-perfectionistic mother, who will buy clothing for and essential dress everyone around her; a "psychic prostitute" (that's a phrase from the back of the book), and her equally psychic sister; an unhappy war vet from the war in Manchukuo; and other strange and intricate characters. The point is, it's well written and was engaging from the moment I started. Something about it is strikingly Japanese, at least to my generally Asian-ignorant point or view. I wouldn't recommend the book for everyone, but if you're fine with novels that don't fit into traditional genre categories, I think you'll like it.


I watched For a Few Dollars More Thursday. This is the second of the Man with No Name trilogy, in which Clint Eastwood became famous for being a cowboy. The first is A Fistful of Dollars, and the third is The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I enjoyed this one more than the first. Getting used to the older conventions, and the improper audio-visual alignment, took so work. The pacing was also a problem. However, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm not sure why. Something about the sunniness of it. And I just like the Western atmosphere, I suppose.


I watched Max Payne yesterday. Not a fan.

A life secluded in an apartment does not lend itself to interesting topics of conversation. Ah, well.

Over and out.


roz said...

get well soon christian!!!

Christian H said...


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