Last modified on 8 November 2014, at 06:56

Haruki Murakami

Painful is the stress when one cannot reproduce or convey vividly to others, however hard he tries, what he's experienced so intensely.

Haruki Murakami (村上 春樹 Murakami Haruki, born 12 January 1949) is a best-selling contemporary Japanese writer. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards, both in Japan and internationally, including the World Fantasy Award (2006) and the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award (2006), while his whole oeuvre garnered the [w:Franz Kafka Prize|]] (2006) and the Jerusalem Prize (2009), among others.

QuotesEdit

  • I said this one day to the doctor in charge of my case, and he told me that, in a sense, what I was feeling was right, that we are in here not to correct the deformation but to accustom ourselves to it: that one of our problems was our inability to recognize and accept our own deformities. Just as each person has certain idiosyncrasies in the way he or she walks, people have idiosyncrasies in the way they think and feel and see things, … "
  • In a letter from Naoko, Norwegian Wood
You burn barns. I don't burn barns. There's this glaring difference, and to me, rather than say which of us is strange, first of all I'd like to clear up just what that difference is.
As I already explained, I don't have any form. I'm a conceptual metaphysical object.
Who can say what's best? That's why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry about other people too much. My experience tells me that we get no more than two or three such chances in a life time, and if we let them go, we regret it for the rest of our lives.
Whether you take the doughnut hole as a blank space or as an entity unto itself is a purely metaphysical question and does not affect the taste of the doughnut one bit.
What gave money its true meaning was its dark-night namelessness, its breathtaking interchangeability.
  • People's memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. Whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn't matter as far the maintenance of life is concerned. They are all just fuel. Advertising filler in the news paper, philosophy books, dirty pictures in a magazine, a bundle of ten-thousand-yen bills; when you feed them to fire, they are just paper. The fire isn't thinking 'oh This is Kant' or 'Oh This is Yomuri evening edition' or 'Nice tits', while it burns. To the fire, they are nothing but scraps of paper. It is the exact same thing. Important memories , not-so-important memories, totally useless memories : there is no distinction — they are all just fuel
    • After Dark
  • Painful is the stress when one cannot reproduce or convey vividly to others, however hard he tries, what he's experienced so intensely. In my case, the stronger is the intention to "write about a particular subject in a particular way," the harder it becomes to start writing and to express myself. This stress somewhat resembles the irritation one feels when he cannot describe to another person what he experienced so vividly and realistically in his dreams. All words I use to narrate my feeling of the moment fail incessantly to describe what I wish to, and then they begin to betray me.
    • A Long Way from The Stuffed Cabbage (short story)
  • You burn barns. I don't burn barns. There's this glaring difference, and to me, rather than say which of us is strange, first of all I'd like to clear up just what that difference is.
    • Barn Burning (short story) in The Elephant Vanishes
  • Mediocrity is like a spot on your shirt, it never comes off.
    • Dance, Dance, Dance
  • "likewesaid, we'lldowhatwecan. Trytoreconnectyou, towhatyouwant," said the Sheep Man. "Butwecan'tdoit-alone. Yougottaworktoo.
    Sittingsnotgonnadoit, 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're tired, tiredandscared. Happenstoeveryone, ok? Justdon'tletyourfeetstop."
    • Dance Dance Dance
  • First, about the mind. You tell me there is no fighting or hatred or desire in the Town. That this is a beautiful dream, and I do want your happiness. But the absence of fighting or hatred or desire also means the opposites do not exist either. No joy, no communion, no love. Only where there is disillusionment and depression and sorrow does happiness arise; without the despair of loss, there is no hope.
    • Hard-Boiled Wonderland & The End of The World
  • "You yourself created this Town. You made everything here. The Wall, the River, the Woods, the Library, the Gate, everything. Even this Pool. I've known all along."
    "Then why did you not tell me sooner?"
    "Because you'd only have left me here like this. Because your rightful world is there outside." My shadow sits down in the snow and shakes his head from side to side. "But you won't listen, will you?"
    "I have responsibilities," I say. "I cannot forsake the people and places and things I have created. I know I do you a terrible wrong. And yes, perhaps I wrong myself, too. But I must see out the consequences of my own doings. This is my world. The Wall is here to hold me in, the River flows through me, the smoke is me burning. I must know why."
    • Hard-Boiled Wonderland & the End of the World
  • As I already explaned, I don't have any form. I'm a conceptual metaphysical object.
    • Colonel Sanders in Kafka on the Shore
  • According to Aristophanes in Plato's The Banquet, in the ancient world of legend there were three types of people.
    In ancient times people weren't simply male or female, but one of three types : male/male, male/female or female/female. In other words, each person was made out of the components of two people. Everyone was happy with this arrangment and never really gave it much thought. But then God took a knife and cut everyone in half, right down the middle. So after that the world was divided just into male and female, the upshot being that people spend their time running around trying to locate their missing half.
    • Kafka on the Shore
  • Anyone who falls in love is searching for missing pieces of themselves. So anyone who's in love gets sad when they think of their lover. It's like stepping back inside a room you have fond memories of, one you haven't seen in a long time. It's just a natural feeling. You're not the person who discovered that feeling, so don't go trying to patent it, okay?
    • Kafka on the Shore
  • Numbers aren’t the important thing … what matters is deciding in your heart to accept another person completely. When you do that, it is always the first time and the last.
    • The Kidney-shaped Stone that Moves Every Day (translated by Jay Rubin)
  • If you're in pitch blackness, all you can do is sit tight until your eyes get used to the dark.
  • If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.
  • But who can say what's best? That's why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry about other people too much. My experience tells me that we get no more than two or three such chances in a life time, and if we let them go, we regret it for the rest of our lives.
    • Norwegian Wood
  • But I didn't understand then. That I could hurt somebody so badly she would never recover. That a person can, just by living, damage another human being beyond repair.
    • South of the Border, West of the Sun
  • Even castles in the sky can do with a fresh coat of paint.
    • South of the Border, West of the Sun
  • Why do people have to be this lonely? What's the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?
    • Sputnik Sweetheart
  • And it came to me then. That we were wonderful traveling companions but in the end no more than lonely lumps of metal in their own separate orbits. From far off they look like beautiful shooting stars, but in reality they're nothing more than prisons, where each of us is locked up alone, going nowhere. When the orbits of these two satellites of ours happened to cross paths, we could be together. Maybe even open our hearts to each other. But that was only for the briefest moment. In the next instant we'd be in absolute solitude. Until we burned up and became nothing.
    • Sputnik Sweetheart
  • You are a beautiful person, Doctor. Clearheaded. Strong. But you seem always to be dragging your heart along the ground. From now on, little by little, you must prepare yourself to face death. If you devote all of your future energy to living, you will not be able to die well. You must begin to shift gears, a little at a time. Living and dying are, in a sense, of equal value.
    • Thailand
  • To sleep with a woman: it can seem of the utmost importance in your mind, or then again it can seem like nothing much at all. Which only goes to say that there's sex as therapy (self-therapy, that is) and there's sex as pastime.
    • A Wild Sheep Chase
  • Whether you take the doughnut hole as a blank space or as an entity unto itself is a purely metaphysical question and does not affect the taste of the doughnut one bit.
    • A Wild Sheep Chase
  • I don't really know if it's the right thing to do, making new life. Kids grow up, generations take their place. What does it all come to? More hills bulldozed and more ocean fronts filled in? Faster cars and more cats run over? Who needs it?
    • A Wild Sheep Chase
  • The house kept its own time, like the old-fashioned grandfather clock in the living room. People who happened by raised the weights, and as long as the weights were wound, the clock continued ticking away. But with people gone and the weights unattended, whole chunks of time were left to collect in deposits of faded life on the floor.
    • A Wild Sheep Chase
  • Money had no name of course. And if it did have a name, it would no longer be money. What gave money its true meaning was its dark-night namelessness, its breathtaking interchangeability.
    • The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
  • But even so, every now and then I would feel a violent stab of loneliness. The very water I drink, the very air I breathed, would feel like long, sharp needles. The pages of a book in my hands would take on the threatening metallic gleam of razor blades. I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at 4 o'clock in the morning.
    • The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
  • He inherited from his mother's stories the fundamental style he used, unaltered, in his own stories: namely, the assumption that fact may not be truth, and truth may not be factual.
    • The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
  • I sometimes think that people's hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what's at the bottom. All you can do is guess from what comes floating to the surface every once in a while.
  • The world would be a pretty dull place if it were made up only of the first-rate, right?
    • Man-Eating Cats
  • Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.
  • I don't care about the time I run. I can try all I want, but I doubt I'll ever be able to run the way I used to. I'm ready to accept that. It's not one of your happier realities, but that's what happens when you get older. Just as I have my own role to play, so does time. And time does its job much more faithfully, much more accurately, than I ever do. Ever since time began (when was that, I wonder?), it's been moving ever forward without a moment's rest. And one of the privileges given to those who've avoided dying young is the blessed right to grow old. The honour of physical decline is waiting, and you have to get used to that reality.
    • What I Talk about When I Talk about Running (2009)
  • If there is a hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg. Why? Because each of us is an egg, a unique soul enclosed in a fragile egg. Each of us is confronting a high wall. The high wall is the system which forces us to do the things we would not ordinarily see fit to do as individuals . . . We are all human beings, individuals, fragile eggs. We have no hope against the wall: it's too high, too dark, too cold. To fight the wall, we must join our souls together for warmth, strength. We must not let the system control us -- create who we are. It is we who created the system.
    • Jerusalem Prize acceptance speech, (2009)

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