I always feel a burden when someone asking me about Haruki. I think many people I know, recognize that I read Haruki a lot. But why? Why do I read them? What make his works special? Is he really that good?
The thing is, Haruki came to me just right at the perfect moment. In 2008, my old friend K introduced him to me. I really like K. Without her consent, K is probably one of the most influential person in my life. I won’t be like who I am now without K. She told & taught me many new things, including Haruki. My first Haruki is “Dengarlah Nyanyian Angin”, directly translated from “Hear the Wind Sings” / “Kaze no uta wo kike”. On that year KPG, firstly published it in Indonesian language. I didn’t understand what it’s all about. I was just happy reading it because it’s a new fresh thing, and because K recommended it. For years admitting that I have read the book, I actually don’t remember what the story about until Wind/Pinball republished.
My first job allowed me to have lots of free time. It was in my early twenties, recently graduated, just returned to the hometown in a big city where none of my close friends live (except one high school friend who’s very busy and I am not good in maintaining friendship). I felt lonely. Since I could mobile as much as I would, I visited the Japan Foundation Jakarta very often and found more Haruki in their library. I wasn’t really care what the main theme of Haruki’s works but I could feel about solitude, emptiness, and sadness. Reading Haruki in those days made me feel like that I have friends, that it’s okay to be alone, to feel the lonely pain on my own.
I think Haruki wasn’t as popular as he is now in Indonesia. So when I met an online friend reading Haruki too, I was very surprised and happy. In short time we became friends. We shared same likeness towards many things. We loathed same matters. And most important, she made me back into reading. And since I started to earn money by myself, I also started to buy books, more and more books, and slowly but sure, turned me to tsundoku. Sadly to say, we aren’t close as we were. But l will always remember her kindness and our good memories.
In most articles, two Haruki that are very acknowledged are “Norwegian Wood” and “the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”. I haven’t read the second one, but “Norwegian Wood” is indeed stunning. I avoided this book for about eight years and wanted to make the book as a major journey. All I can say, the persistent time is worth it. Still, my favorites aren’t them. They are “Sputnik Sweetheart” & “After Dark”. Again, it’s not about the story, it is just about the timing. Reason why I love both are because back then I was falling in love *laugh hard*
Ok, the first one is not a love. I happened to meet this guy and we spent time together for few days, with other friends, of course. I read “Sputnik Sweetheart” around that time. He was very nice and gentle -surely as friends, but I knew his care and attention wouldn’t last long because we’d separate soon. He was just like a summer rain. I do notice my feeling towards him was more shallow than Sumire’s to Miu – the character. But once he used to be my Sputnik, he will always be.
“I run the risk of being betrayed.”
My actual love went to another person *laugh*. I was (or am I?) so much deeply in love with someone for such a long time though he doesn’t love me back *laugh hard again*. And not sure why, but everytime I remember him, mostly I remember Haruki’s After Dark. Although neither I nor the story share the same plot & storyline.
“The silence is so deep it hurts our ears.”
“I may not look it, but I can be a very patient guy. And killing time is one of my specialities.”
“And when you come back to Japan next summer, let’s have that date or whatever you want to call it. We can go to the zoo or the botanical garden or the aquarium, and then we’ll have the most politically correct and scrumptious omelets we can find.”
Everyone can find a book (or more) that most relatable to their life. In my case, it belongs to the books of Haruki. In my rushed life, reading Haruki is like taking pills, soothing and making me calm. I can’t wait to have more journeys with him, with the old but unread or new published ones. But maybe, just maybe, through Haruki, I just want to remember all those memories. I don’t only take books seriously. I feel them sincerely too.