“Where I’m living is not a storybook world. It’s the real world, full of gaps and inconsistencies and anticlimaxes.”
― Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
by Haruki Murakami
One beautiful April morning, on a narrow side street in Tokyo’s fashionable Harujuku neighborhood, I walked past the 100% perfect girl.
Tell you the truth, she’s not that good-looking. She doesn’t stand out in any way. Her clothes are nothing special. The back of her hair is still bent out of shape from sleep. She isn’t young, either - must be near thirty, not even close to a “girl,” properly speaking. But still, I know from fifty yards away: She’s the 100% perfect girl for me. The moment I see her, there’s a rumbling in my chest, and my mouth is as dry as a desert.
Read the whole thing. It’ll have been ten minutes well spent.
— Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore (via libraryland)
Why? You might ask. How can so many people go about their daily lives in such a terrible place? Don’t they go out of their minds with fear?
In Japanese, we have the word “mujō (無常)”. It means that everything is ephemeral. Everything born into this world changes, and will ultimately disappear. There is nothing that can be considered eternal or immutable. This view of the world was derived from Buddhism, but the idea of “mujo” was burned into the spirit of Japanese people beyond the strictly religious context, taking root in the common ethnic consciousness from ancient times.
The idea that all things are transient is an expression of resignation. We believe that it serves no purpose to go against nature. On the contrary, Japanese people have found positive expressions of beauty in this resignation."
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