With the goal of stirring up even more interest in Murakami between now and mid-October, when the Nobel Prizes are announced, I will post a small piece of Murakami translation once a week from now until the announcement. You can see the other entries in this year’s series here: Jurassic Sapporo, Gerry Mulligan, All Growns Up.

I’d be remiss to examine the translation of Dance Dance Dance without looking at Birnbaum’s treatment of the Sheep Man, and I’ll be doing that this week, but first I want to look at the way Birnbaum adjusts ends of stories and section breaks. We saw a little hint of this last week when Birnbaum adjusted regular speaker tags and straight dialogue to create a cooler Boku and a funnier place to pause: not total invention, but definitely a cleaning up of Murakami’s text.

One of the most noticeable places where Birnbaum made a tone-altering decision is at the end of “Lederhosen” from Dead-heat on a Merry-go-round (in translation in The Elephant Vanishes). The story is ostensibly narrated by Murakami himself, and he recounts and encounter with his wife’s friend, a woman whose mother divorces herself from her husband and daughter after a trip to Germany where she has a local try on a souvenir pair of lederhosen in place of the husband. Here are the last few lines:

“Still, if you leave the lederhosen out of it, supposing it was just the story of a woman taking a trip and finding herself, would you have been able to forgive her?”

“Of course not,” she says without hesitation. “The whole point is the lederhosen, right?”

A proxy pair of lederhosen, I’m thinking, that her father never even received. (129)

The Japanese is:



「僕もそう思う」と僕はいった。 (33)

The first two paragraphs are faithful translations, but the last line in English is:

“I think so, too,” I said.

Even taking liberties, you could go for something like, “I have to agree,” I said. Or even just “I had to agree.” Birnbaum goes much further and has the narrator meditate on the image of the lederhosen, which I think is a stronger ending, one that emphasizes the strange physicality of the clothing and how they must’ve shaped the man (and the husband, in her imagination, giving her some kind of new perspective). But liberties have clearly been taken.

The same is true when the Sheep Man is introduced in Dance Dance Dance. In Chapter 9, Boku is out of things to do and decides to head to the bar on one of the upper floors of the hotel. He gets caught up in his thoughts about Egypt, the receptionist, swim clubs, and he finds that the Sheep Man has popped into his thoughts. He gets out of the elevator and is surrounded by darkness. Chapter 10 is a few short pages of Boku navigating more of his thoughts and the strange darkness of the hotel hallway. It ends with these lines:

“Beenwaitingforyou. Beenwaitingforages. Comeonin.”

I knew who it was without opening my eyes. (79)

The Japanese is close to this, but not identical:



羊男だった。 (122)

Again, the last line is absent in translation: “It was the Sheep Man.” An unnecessary line, for sure, especially since Murakami so creepily has the Sheep Man appear in Boku’s thoughts. We expect it to be the Sheep Man, and Birnbaum’s unique formatting of his dialogue make it impossible to mistake. It’s a better chapter break without the line.

There are other cuts made in my favorite section of the novel, where the Sheep Man tells Boku to dance. Nothing too major, but still interesting to examine. In translation, here’s how Birnbaum renders it:

“So where does that leave me?”

“Youlostlotsofthings. Lostlotsofpreciousthings. Notanybody’sfault. Buteachtimeyoulostsomething, youdroppedawholestringofthingswithit. Nowwhy? Why’dyouhavetogoanddothat?”

“I don’t know.”

“Hardtododifferent. Yourfate,orsomethinglikefate. Tendencies.”


“Tendencies. Yougottendencies. Soevenifyoudideverythingoveragain, yourwholelife, yougottendenciestodojustwhatyoudid, alloveragain.”

“Yes, but where does that leave me?”

“Likewesaid, we’lldowhatwecan. Trytoreconnectyou,towhatyouwant,” said the Sheep Man. “Butwecan’tdoitalone. Yougottaworktoo. Sitting’snotgonnadoit, thinking’snotgonnadoit.”

“So what do I have to do?”

“Dance,” said the Sheep Man. “Yougottadance. Aslongasthemusicplays. Yougotta dance. Don’teventhinkwhy. Starttothink, yourfeetstop. Yourfeetstop, wegetstuck. Wegetstuck, you’restuck. Sodon’tpayanymind, nomatterhowdumb. Yougottakeepthestep. Yougottalimberup. Yougottaloosenwhatyoubolteddown. Yougottauseallyougot. Weknowyou’retired, tiredandscared. Happenstoeveryone, okay? Justdon’tletyourfeetstop.”

I looked up and gazed again at the shadow on the wall. (85-86)

I love that section. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit, but I quoted the Sheep Man from this section in the high school yearbook my senior year. Birnbaum does amazing work with his weird, no-spacing style and with the actual language he gives the Sheep Man to say. However, he does make a few changes – an interesting rearrangement and a cut of a significant section:











僕は目を上げて、また壁の上の影をしばらく見つめた。 (131-133)

Put that into the Morales Translation Machine, and you get:

“What should I be doing, then?”

“You’ve lost a lot of things on your way here. Lost a heap of important things. And it ain’t worth worrying over whose fault it is. But you did have a lot of things attached to what you lost. Whenever you lost something, you left behind something else attached to it. Almost like a *sign* of some sort. That you shouldn’ta done. You left behind things that you should’ve kept for yourself. And by doing that, you gradually wore yourself down. Now why was that? Why would you go and do something like that?”

“I dunno.”

“Maybe it couldn’ta been helped. Something like fate, ‘er, whaddya call it…can’t think of a good word for ‘er…”

“Tendencies,” I offered.

“Yep, that’s it. Tendencies. That’s what we think it is. Even if you did your whole life over again, you’d end up doing the same things again. That’s what tendencies are. And once you go beyond a certain point, those tendencies prevent you from ever getting back. It’s too late. Even we can’t do anything for you after that. All we can do is watch over this place, and connect all sorts of things. Can’t do anything else.

“What should I be doing, then?” I said, asking again the same question as before.

As I told you before, we’ll do all we can for you. Everything we can, so you can get connected well,” the Sheep Man said. “But that’s not enough on its own. You’ve gotta do all you can as well. Can’t just sit around thinking about stuff the whole time. Do that and you won’t get anywhere. You understand?”

“I understand,” I said. “So what exactly is it I need to do?”

“Dance,” the Sheep Man said. “Just dance while the music’s playing. You get what we’re saying? Dance. Keep dancing. Don’t think about why you’re dancing. Don’t think about what it means. Think about that and yer feet’ll stop. Yer feet stop, and there’s nothing we can do for you. All yer connections go poof and are gone. Gone forever. Let that happen, and you’ll only be able to live in this world. You’ll gradually be pulled into this world. So don’t stop your feet. No matter how silly you think it is, don’t pay any attention to that. Keep dancing all the right steps. And loosen up all the things that have tightened, just a little at a time is fine. There’s gotta be some things it ain’t too late to save. Use everything ya can. Do your best. There’s nothing to be afraid of. You’re definitely tired. And because of that you’re scared. Everybody’s got times like that. Everything feels like it’s wrong. And that’s why your feet stop.”

I lifted my eyes and stared at the shadows on the top of the wall again for a second.

I’ve underlined all the sections that are unaccounted for. Nothing too major missing except for the “You’ll only be able to live in this world” section. Birnbaum doesn’t cut all of this from the chapter; earlier there is a long section where the Sheep Man explains that Boku is a part of “this world.” This section is just another prompt that links the conversation more smoothly to Boku’s question, “What is *this world* you keep talking about?”

The most notable change is that Boku is the one who comes up with the word “tendencies.” The Sheep Man slips, can’t think of the word, and Boku supplies it. I wonder if the lack of spacing would have made it difficult to get across the rhythm of that exchange.

No major complaints or lessons from me this week. Just further realization that translation might be the most interesting thing to do in the world.

All Growns Up

With the goal of stirring up even more interest in Murakami between now and mid-October, when the Nobel Prizes are announced, I will post a small piece of Murakami translation once a week from now until the announcement. You can see the other entries in this year’s series here: Jurassic Sapporo, Gerry Mulligan.

Murakami Fest continues, and we remain with Boku and the receptionist (whom we will later learn is named Yumiyoshi, a name that Boku doesn’t ask for until page 107, and even then she refuses to tell him – strange, but this is Murakami so we don’t ask too many questions). We remain in Chapter 7, a very long chapter indeed. So long that it required numerous cuts. We looked at a minor one last week. This week we look at three longer cuts.

After arriving at the bar, Boku sips on his J&B and water (coincidentally, the preferred drink of a certain investment banker from the 80s) until Yumiyoshi arrives. She’s tense from a long day at work but also from the mental preparation it’s taken to gear up to tell the story of her encounter with the Sheep Man on the sixteenth floor – the encounter was frightening. With that out of the way with, she and Boku continue on to more pleasant conversation about themselves. We learn that her family runs a ryokan in Asahikawa and that she worked in Tokyo at a hotel. Boku then remarks that that must be the reason why she looked like “the spirit of the hotel” when he first saw her. She shrugs it off and says she could never be that. Then we get these lines:

“I’m sure you can, if that’s what you want,” I smiled back.

She thought that over a while, then asked to hear my story. (49)

A quick cut away from her to Boku. In Japanese, however, the “thinking over” is much more drawn out:







「あなたの話をして」と彼女は言った。 (82)

My quick and dirty version:

“I’m sure you could, if you give it a shot,” I said with a smile. “But no one stays at a hotel forever. Would you be alright with that? Everyone arrives and then just passes straight through.”

“This is true,” she said. “But I feel like it’d be kind of scary if something actually stayed. I wonder why I feel that way? Maybe I’m just depressed chicken? Everyone arrives, and they leave. But it’s a relief. That’s strange, isn’t it? To think like that. Ordinary girls probably don’t think like that, right? Ordinary girls want something more definite, no? But I’m not like that. I dunno why.”

“I don’t think you’re strange,” I said. “It’s just that nothing’s been set for you yet.”

She looked at me strangely. “How do you know?”

“I dunno,” I said. “I can just tell.”

She thought about that for a second.

“Tell me about you,” she said.

First the language issues. You say 泊まる I say 留る; interesting decision to switch away from 泊まる which has been used earlier in the chapter. I translated as “stay forever,” although I’m sure there’s an option more nuanced than that. Not confident about my translation of 定まっていない, so I stayed pretty literal. Also not confident about the rendering of 臆病. Is she saying that she’s depressed? Or that “it’s a depressing thought,” it being the previous sentence?

Interesting section to cut. It doesn’t really add much, I don’t think, but it does play on typical Murakami themes, notably the “passing through” theme that Murakami mined in Wind-up Bird.

Boku goes on to give a rundown on his own life, emphasizing how pointless his current line of work is – he compares it to “shoveling snow”:

“Shoveling snow, huh?” she mused.

“Well, you know, cultural snow,” I said. (49)

And then there’s a space break. After the break, the translation picks up with, “We drank a lot.” In Japanese, however, there’s no space break. Just a continuation:

















僕らはけっこう酒を飲んでいた。 (83-84)

In translation:

“Shoveling snow,” she said.

“Shoveling cultural snow,” I said.

Then she wanted to know about my divorce.

“It wasn’t like I got divorced because I wanted to. One day she just up and left, with another guy.”

“Were you hurt?”

“Wouldn’t anyone feel pretty hurt in that position if they were a normal person?”

She put her chin on the table and looked me in the eyes. “I’m sorry. That was a strange way to ask. I just had trouble imagining how *you* hurt. What’s *your* pain like? What do you get like when you hurt?”

“I put a Keith Haring button on my coat.”

She laughed. “That’s it?”

“What I’m trying to say,” I said, “Is that it happens constantly. Everything gets caught up in the day to day and it’s impossible to tell what’s painful and what isn’t. But it’s in there. That’s what pain is. I can’t pull it out and say, ‘Voilà, here it is.’ Anything I could show you wouldn’t be all that painful.”

“I know exactly what you mean.”


“I might not look like it, but I’ve been hurt by a lot of things, really hurt,” she said in a soft voice. “A bunch of stuff happened and I ended up quitting the hotel in Tokyo. That hurt. It was tough. There are certain things that I’m just not able to process like other people.”

“Hmm,” I said.

“It still hurts. Even now when I think about those things sometimes I suddenly just want to die.”

She took off her ring again and again put it back on. Then she took a sip of her Bloody Mary and fidgeted her glasses. Finally she broke a smile.

We had a lot to drink.

Another interesting cut. I think this section goes mostly just because it can go. There’s nothing vital, but the discussion about pain/what it means to hurt is well penned, and it is interesting to see the beginning of the deeper connection between the two that Boku remarks upon in the next section as they drunkenly make their way into a taxi and on the way to her apartment. (“Maybe we really did have something in common, the two of us.” 50) And as they do, Boku gets the name of the magazine that ran an article about the suspicious history of the Dolphin Hotel (the alleged plot purpose for Yumiyoshi’s involvement).

Boku thinks about how he could probably sleep with Yumiyoshi, about what it means that he could probably sleep with her, she makes an excuse and says she lives with her sister, but then she reveals that to be false when he accompanies her to the door. Birnbaum creates a nice space break by turning Murakami’s dialogue into more witty repartee:

“It’s not true. Really, I live alone.”

“I know,” I said.

“A slow blush came over her. “How could you know?”

“Can’t say why, I just did,” I said.

“You’re impossible, you know that?”(51)

Space break, cut to the taxi driver waiting for Boku.

The Japanese reveals this to be the most questionable cut of the chapter:














彼女はドアに手をかけたまま深くいきを吸いこんだ。「たぶん」と彼女は言った。そしてまたドアが閉まった。 (87-88)

In translation:

“I dunno why. I just do,” I said.

“You are a bastard,” she said quietly.

“Yeah, maybe so,” I said. “But I don’t hate women who say no, and I never take advantage of anyone. So there was nothing for you to lie about.”

She was confused for a moment but eventually smiled, like she’d given up. “Yeah. I didn’t have to lie.”

“*But*,” I said.

“But it just came out. I hurt like I hurt, as I mentioned earlier. Things happened.”

“I hurt too. I’ve got a Keith Haring button on my chest.”

She laughed. “Why don’t you come in for a cup of tea? I want to talk more.”

I shook my head. “Thanks. I’d like to talk as well, but tonight I’ll go back. I dunno why, but I think it’s best for me to go back tonight. I just feel like it’s best that you and I don’t say too much all at once. Wonder why that is?”

She stared at me with her eyes squinted like she was trying to read the find print on a sign.

“I can’t explain it. That’s just how I feel,” I said. “It’s always best to say things a little at a time when you’ve got a lot of things to talk about. That’s what I think. But I might be wrong.”

She thought about what I said for a second. Then she gave up thinking. “Good night,” she said and quietly closed the door.

“Hey,” I called out. The door opened a few inches, and she stuck her face out. “Is it alright if I ask you out again sometime soon?” I asked.

She took in a deep breath with her hand still on the door. “Maybe,” she said. Then the door shut again.

Whew. What a cut. This one makes more sense. Birnbaum’s decision to cut this section keeps Boku a more suspicious character, and cutting it doesn’t force him to alter the narrative elsewhere in the chapter. The original Japanese breaks the tension by letting us see exactly how nice a guy this Boku character actually is. Yet he refuses the offer and doesn’t press his luck, a true gentleman, now in search of the true answer to his existential dissatisfaction. This does make sense in the order of the Murakami canon; Boku is all growns up.

Gerry Mulligan

With the goal of stirring up even more interest in Murakami between now and mid-October, when the Nobel Prizes are announced, I will post a small piece of Murakami translation once a week from now until the announcement. You can see the other entries in this year’s series here: Jurassic Sapporo.

Gerry Mulligan after he let his crew cut grow out. (From Wikipedia.) 

Thanks to Sgt. Tanuki, last week I discovered that I’ve been reading an edited version of Dance Dance Dance. His blog post about the novel details the long sections of Chapters 1 and 2 that were abridged in translation. As I mentioned in the post last week, it sounds awfully similar to some of the writing from “The Twins and the Sunken Continent,” and it also makes the section from last week make more sense because it establishes the “I’m from a different planet” theme earlier. I’m eager to check it out – finding old copies of DDD will be one of my projects the next time I’m in Japan.

What this means is that Murakami must have gone through the text in 1991 when he was compiling his Complete Works, compared his old version with Birnbaum’s translation (or at least noted which sections had been cut), and made some of the identical cuts himself. While the cuts make this year’s Murakami Fest not nearly as exciting as it could be (if I had the original text), it does mean that we learn something about Murakami’s choices – these are cuts that Murakami decided to keep despite their absence in the English translation.

So I think it’s telling that Murakami would keep a short aside about jazz saxophonist Gerry Mulligan.

In Chapter 7, Boku has asked the Dolphin Hotel receptionist out, and they meet at a basement bar a short cab ride away from the hotel. Here’s the section when Boku arrives:

I was met at the door with the warm sound of an old Gerry Mulligan Record.

I took a seat at the counter and listened to the solo over a nice, easy J&B-and-water. (38-39)

The Japanese, however, is slightly more extensive:





Here’s my version:

I opened the door to an old Gerry Mulligan record playing at a pleasant volume. A record from back when Mulligan still had a crew cut and wore button-down shirts, back when Chet Baker and Bob Brookmeyer were in his band. I listened to it a lot a long time ago. Back in an era before someone like Adam Ant came on the scene.

Adam Ant.

Who would give themselves such a terrible name?

I sat at the counter and slowly enjoyed a J&B-and-water as I listened to the high quality solos of Gerry Mulligan.

This seems like an easy cut to make, and I imagine that Birnbaum made it because the Ant reference would soon be dated (if it wasn’t already?) and not because there’s anything wrong with Gerry Mulligan. It doesn’t surprise me that Murakami wanted to keep it; I do like that image of Mulligan in a crew cut and button-down shirt. (I wanted to use this photo in the post, but it’s not Creative Commons friendly.) It does, however, reek of old man frustration with change, and I guess that’s kind of what this book is about to a certain extent.

On a language note, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the tone and implications of なんていう下らない名前をつけるんだろう, so I may have translated a little freely. What do y’all think? Any suggestions?

So yeah, that’s all I’ve got, really…unless…what? You ARE interested in hearing an extended ramble about Gerry Mulligan? Awesome!

Gerry Mulligan is the greatest and most famous baritone saxophonist. NPR has an excellent profile of him in the Jazz Profiles series. (Also worth listening to are the two two-part Duke Ellington profiles, the Count Basie profile, and the Nat King Cole profile among others, if that’s your kind of thing.) If you haven’t listened to his music before, I recommend starting with some of the “Mulligan Meets” series. Mulligan Meets Monk, Mulligan Meets Ben Webster, and Mulligan Meets Johnny Hodges are all top notch; easily accessible jazz that also makes great writing music because it isn’t too “hot” or complicated.

My favorite album, however, is “Something Borrowed, Something Blue,” which I’ve discovered is only available on LP…strange since I only have a digital copy of it. My guess is some jazz maniac uploaded it to teh torrentz site where I found it. If you can track this record down, I would highly recommend doing so. Mulligan plays alto, apparently, and the album starts with a superlative version of Bix Beiderbecke’s “Davenport Blues.” If I was stuck on a desert island with only one album, this might be the one I would take.

Table Talk in The Threepenny Review Fall 2012

I have a piece of writing in the latest issue of The Threepenny Review, a Berkeley-based literary magazine. It’s a short, untitled nonfiction piece in the “Table Talk” section of the magazine, which in the past has featured Roberto Bolaño and Orhan Pamuk among others – pretty cool. It feels similar to “Talk of the Town” in the New Yorker.

I don’t think the writing style of the piece is all that different from some of the writing I do here, to be honest; there’s definitely less Japanese, but it’s still about Japan. Here’s a preview of the first paragraph as proof:

One Saturday in February 2006, I decided to go on a drive in search of cheap mikan. I’d stayed in to recover from a cold the night before and spent the morning cleaning my apartment and hanging my laundry from the curtain brackets. Outside the weather was remarkable. After a gray, blustery January during which we had several meters of snow, the sky was bright blue and clear, and the sun was strong enough to dry the roads. It was still too cold to hang clothes outside, and icy walls of snow padded the sides of the highways, but after spending over a week exclusively in my town—the small town of Nishiaizu, Fukushima Prefecture, where I was teaching English at elementary and junior high school—I was getting a little stir crazy, and cheap citrus fruit seemed to be a good excuse to get out of the house.

You can buy a copy online here or a digital copy (I think) here. If they ask, let ‘em know I sent you!

Murakami scholars might recognize the 3P editor Wendy Lesser as the author of the 2002 article “The Mysteries of Translation,” which compared Birnbaum and Rubin’s translation of “The Wind-up Bird and Tuesday’s Women” (a longer sneak preview of which is available here). 3P also reviewed 1Q84 this summer, but I felt that the author tried a little too hard to find the foreignness of Murakami, defining it as a “blandness” that needs to be appreciated. This 2001 look at his oeuvre in general is more on target.

Jurassic Sapporo

Now begins the Fifth Annual How to Japanese Murakami Fest!

With the goal of stirring up even more interest in Murakami between now and October, when the Nobel Prizes are announced, I will post a small piece of Murakami translation once a week from now until the announcement.

For those of you who don’t know how this works, check out the past four years:
Year One: BoobsThe WindBaseballLederhosenEels, Monkeys, and Doves
Year Two: Hotel Lobby OystersCondomsSpinning Around and Around街・町The Town and Its Uncertain WallA Short Piece on the Elephant that Crushes Heineken Cans
Year Three: “The Town and Its Uncertain Wall” – Words and WeirsThe LibraryOld DreamsSaying GoodbyeLastly
Year Four: More Drawers, Phone Calls, Metaphors, Eight-year-olds, dude, Ushikawa, Last Line

This year, as mentioned on Twitter, I’ll be taking a close look at Dance Dance Dance. Jay Rubin has detailed exactly how he abridged the translation of The Wind-up Bird Chronicle in his book Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words, but I don’t think anyone has looked closely at how Birnbaum adjusted his translation of DDD which, rumor has it, also had cuts for publication abroad.

Sadly, I was not able to finish reading the book, so I can’t speak for the translation as a whole; there may be major cuts later in the novel that I’m not aware of, but in the first third of the novel, I was surprised to find only minor compression. I say “minor,” but to translation purists, these may seem like egregious changes. Some amount to Birnbaum’s somewhat fast and loose translation style that created the perfect tone for Murakami’s boku narrator, but others are longer and clearly made for editorial rather than stylistic reasons.

The first major excision comes at the end of Chapter 4. Boku arrives in Sapporo and decides to walk to the Dolphin Hotel from the station. He stops in a coffee shop and feels intensely out of place and lonely. Here is how Birnbaum renders the section:

Of course, by the same token, I couldn’t really say I belonged to Tokyo and its coffee shops. But I had never felt this loneliness there. I could drink my coffee, read my book, pass the time of day without any special thought, all because I was part of the regular scenery. Here I had no ties to anyone. Fact is, I’d come to reclaim myself.

I paid the check and left. Then, without further thought, I headed for the hotel. (21)

In Japanese, however, you can see that Birnbaum has cut the majority of five paragraphs and reconstituted them using the underlined sentences below (Note: I’ve added the underlining):








Here is how my version reads:

Of course I’d never felt that intense loneliness at coffee shops in Tokyo. I had my coffee, read my book, and otherwise spent time there as normal: it was a part of my daily life that I never had to think that deeply about.

In Sapporo, however, I felt as intensely lonely as a man set adrift on an Arctic island. Everything around me was the same as always, the same stuff you’d find anywhere. But if you peeled back the mask, I felt like it didn’t connect with any of the places I was familiar with. It resembled it…but something was different. It was like a completely different planet. A planet where everything was the same – the language, the clothes, the way people looked – but something was decisively different. A planet where some sort of function completely failed to translate – but the only way to know which functions translated and which didn’t was to check them one by one. And if I somehow messed up one of them, everyone would know that I was from a different planet. Everyone would stand up, point me out, and tell me off: You’re different. You’re different, you’re different, you’re different.

That’s what I was thinking about while I had my coffee. A total delusion.

But I was lonely – that was a fact. My problem was that I wasn’t connected to anyone. I had to recover myself. But I wasn’t connected to anyone.

When was the last time I had really loved someone?

Long, long ago. Sometime between the last two ice ages. At any rate, long, long ago. In the historic past. During the Jurassic period, that kind of historic past. Everything was gone. The dinosaurs, wooly mammoths, and saber tooth tigers – all of them. The poison gas tear gas fired into Miyashita Park as well. Then this advanced capitalist society came to town, and I’d been left all alone among it.

I paid the check and went outside. Then I walked straight to the Dolphin Hotel without thinking about anything.

It’s pretty easy to understand why Birnbaum decided to cut these sections: Murakami is just thinking/rambling through his narrator here, developing the intense sense of loneliness by expounding through metaphor, a technique that he used at the end of “The Twins and the Sunken Continent,” in which the narrator imagines being sunk on Atlantis while the twins fly off on a floating continent. It doesn’t advance the plot, nor the character, and I doubt that he returns to the image later in the novel (although that’s something I’ll have to keep an eye out for as I continue reading), other than the link to “advanced capitalist society,” which plays out a little. Still, there’s something fun about reading these sections – they feel like automatic writing, which I’m sure is how Murakami is able to generate some of the awesome imagery, metaphor, and absurdity that he comes up with.

One small editorial note: Miyashita Park is a park in Shibuya, and judging from this blog post, it was the site of protests back in the early 70s. The park’s inclusion here feels isolated and out of place, and it’s probably another reason Birnbaum cut it.

And one embarrassing language note: I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that みんな can mean “everything” not just “everyone” as I insisted in the comments to this post back in 2009. After getting some more reading reps with the word, this has become more clear, and my apologies go out to DBP. Remember, folks: pride doesn’t pay if you want to learn the language. Get over it, and get used to it.