Famous Japanese in Spain

I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what’s at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while.

Those were my first favorite words I have ever read by Haruki Murakami. This quote is from one of the 25 short stories within his collection “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman”. More than two years and several Murakami books later from the initial time I read him in Rome, I found this famous Japanese in Spain. In early September, I traveled among the Basque country with my personal itinerary giving more variety than to just stay in the popular destination of Bilbao. Not much credit was given to Bilbao for the trip other than the fact it is where the plane landed, the Guggenheim loomed for a long visit, and the convenience of a bus station that linked this city to other jewels of the Basque country. One day, wandering aimlessly through Bilbao, I found Plaza Nueva and its Sunday morning market which offered a number of libros de segunda mano. It is here I was surprised to see Haruki Murakami’s “Kafka on the Shore” (in English, nonetheless!).

My favorite book of his remains to be “Norwegian Wood”, and I enjoy his short stories even more (I highly suggest also reading “The Elephant Vanishes”!). Maybe because his writings have an uncanny, yet magical type of aura that loses my attention in a novel, but his short stories give me just the right amount of dose? Possibly, this factor did not allow me to place “Kafka on the Shore” down with satisfaction after finishing it. Many Murakami followers state not to over-analyze his writings, but with this book, I could not help to analyze, think, ponder, etc because I was utterly confused…especially at the ending.

Yet, “Kafka on the Shore” is not without some snippets to catch a second glance:

  • “God took a knife and cut everyone in half, right down the middle. So after that, the world was divided into just male and female, the upshot being that people spend their time running around trying to locate their missing half.”
  • “When I first met you I felt a kind of contradiction in you. You’re seeking something, but at the same time you’re running away from all your worth.”
  • “In everybody’s life there’s a point of no return. And in a very few cases, a point where you can’t go forward anymore. And when we reach that point, all we can do is accept the fact. That’s how we survive.”

Actually, upon visiting the Basque country, I also discovered somewhere in the world I must live at some point. But that is a secret not to be shared because I am selfish to keep this place for myself. And of course, this place is beautiful. The world “beautiful” does not do it justice to describe such a place. It was the same emotion I felt when I fell in love with the Coloseo at night. I was moving into my flat in Roma for the first time, and the taxi that picked me up from Termini was veering a right 5 minutes away from my neighbohood, then I saw the Coloseo through my left window with my mouth agape and eyes widened. Subsequently, I would “take the long way home” to walk past it at night. And up until that Italian night I thought the Eiffel with its sparkling lights aglow the heavy armor of night and steel was the most beautiful thing to see…how silly of me.

You see? I wrote about falling in love with yourself, falling in love with someone else, now I am writing about falling in love with a place.

To continue with talks of beauty, comes the subject of my next book. Which is not from one of my piles of books waiting to be read, but from a list compiled of books I plan on reading. As I mentioned before, I do not like buying brand new books so I find it easiest to borrow books from the public library. A helpful website in my searches is Worldcat.org which assists me to find a book from a library internationally.

The next book on my agenda is based on a set of lectures that can be found at: Tanner Lectures.

Apologies ahead of time: the book is being delivered to a library closer to my place of residence; and therefore, my next post will be delayed longer than usual.

My current read: On Beauty and Being Just by Elaine Scarry.

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