Tazaki Tsukuru and the Amazing Technicolor DREAM Liveblog!

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I was messaging with a buddy from my JET days yesterday who was proud to have just finished slogging through the English translation of 1Q84. He lives over on the West Coast and teaches Japanese (or at least he did…and I think he still does), so I figured he may have had access to the new Murakami book before me. Grumbling, I asked him if he had a copy: I was prepared to be very jealous. He wrote, “just looked at Amazon.co.jp to see if they had a kindle version out, but surprise surprise :-/”

Kindle! I hadn’t even thought of looking on the Japanese Kindle store when I preordered my copy of 色彩を持たない田崎つくると、彼の巡礼の年 (Shikisai wo motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to, kare no junrei no toshi; hereafter referred to as Tasaki Tsukuru or TT) on 22 March. Like a good fanboy, I just loaded in my credit card and said TAKE MY MONEYS FOR YOUR INTERNATIONAL EXPRESS SHIPPINGS. I will be glad to have a paper copy when it arrives later today (hopefully; taking notes is good), but it’s too bad that the Japanese Fear of the Internet prevented me from celebrating instantaneously along with everyone else: Wouldn’t that have been fun?! There are some books on the Japanese Kindle store, but perhaps not surprisingly, no Murakami books other than his translations.

No matter. 2013 is a year of deadlines, a year of unpredictability, a year of friends in Japan with scanners who may or may not have sent me things via email, a year in which the San Antonio Spurs have too many injuries to make a proper playoff run, and a year in which I will (if everything goes smoothly) be conferred with an MFA in fiction from the University of New Orleans for writing stories about pirates; so, like a good pirate, I begin my liveblog of this newest Murakami novel at 4:37am CST because I woke up in the middle of the night unable to sleep, checked my email, and saw that I had received a very nice message indeed.

This liveblog will continue helter skelter over the next few days. I teach and have class and a few things I need to take care of, but I’ll hopefully be able to get in a few hours of reading here and there. I predict I’ll get in a good long stretch in the middle of the day today and another Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Join me! I’ll be celebrating; you should too. Continue reading


I don’t even like baseball, but I couldn’t help but follow Yu Darvish’s near-perfect game the other night. Thanks to the ESPN app on my phone, I was notified after six perfect innings, and because I live in the south, not far from Houston, FOX Sports Southwest was showing the game. So I was able to watch the eighth and ninth innings live. At some point I posted on Facebook: “Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh – Yu.”

As an isolated post this might have looked like I was quoting Yu or something, so immediately underneath it I provided an explanation: “Nobody. Say. Anything.” When the perfect game was destroyed, I added 残念!

Later on, well after that, one of my former students (a kid I taught when he was in second through fifth grades of elementary school!) commented on the post, and I had a chance to use one of my favorite grammar patterns:



He almost threw a perfect game!

The pattern always reminds me of the time when I nearly finished beating a tanuki to death on the rural roads of Fukushima Prefecture. This is such a fundamental misunderstanding of the word ほとんど that it’s almost embarrassing (my continued misuse of the word “tense” is also embarrassing), and to this day always makes me remember that there is no such thing as perfect translation. Those two phrases above are the best ways to express how close Darvish came to perfection, but they don’t equal each other. They are, however, pretty damn good equivalents.