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

1Q84 Liveblog


During my third year of college, my Japanese literature professor invited me to cheer on Haruki Murakami at the Boston Marathon with his departmental literature class, a class I’d taken the year before. The small group of us went in a few cars over to Heartbreak Hill, the brutal rising slope towards the end of the marathon course. We got there and watched the runners pass by, numbers and names written on their arms and shirts, as they trudged, walked and ran through the last few miles of the race. Murakami eventually approached, we cheered, and he ran off with a confused look on his face – it was a great day.

In the car on our way to the race, the professor said something that I’ve kept somewhere in my head for a long time now – six years to be exact. He said, “What we’re doing doesn’t make sense, but we’re not doing it because it makes sense.” This seems like an appropriate time for them to come floating back to me – what I’m about to do doesn’t make sense, but I’m not doing it because it makes sense.

I will be doing it well, though. I’m equipped with a nice Islay single-malt, a choice selection of beer, and a rainy weekend giving me the perfect excuse to sit inside and read. For food, I have some snacks to tide me over, but I’ll go knock off the local McDonald’s for some bread later tonight. Yes we パン!

So sit back, relax, give your whisky a swirl, and check after the break for 1Q84 liveblog madness all weekend (or until my eyeballs fall out).

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One Week Until 1Q84 Liveblog!

1Q84 comes out next Friday! This will be the first major Murakami release when I’ve been in Japan. I was here when 『東京奇譚集』came out, but most of those stories had been published in magazines beforehand. Also, I had to drive 20 minutes to the closest bookstore to get my copy. This time I should be able to pick it up almost anywhere. I plan on making the rounds Thursday evening to see if anywhere accidentally puts it out early, but I don’t have much hope for that. I’m really tempted to take off from work on Friday. It will depend on what the workload looks like next week. If I take off from work, then the liveblog should begin at around 9AM JST on Friday. If not, probably 7PM. Check back next week on Wednesday or Thursday for an estimated start time.

2 Weeks Until 1Q84 Liveblog!

T-minus two weeks and counting until the release of Haruki Murakami’s new novel 1Q84! To commemorate the occasion, I’ll pick up a copy of the book on Friday the 29th and then liveblog it all weekend. For those of you who don’t read any Japanese, maybe this will give you a little taste of the reading experience. You’ll probably have to wait a couple years for the translation. I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum: this will mostly be an exercise in extreme Murakami fanboy-ism.