Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood (ノルウェイの森, Noruwei no Mori) I did really love the song, played by the Beatles.
I listened to it probably for the first time after reading the book. Haruki Murakami wrote the book in Japanese. The English translated by Jay Rubin.

The story has a very beautiful portrayal of emotions. The loosing, a friend, a girl friend, a wife, a husband, a father and then beginning a new journey.

The novel is a nostalgic story of loss. It is told from the first-person perspective of Toru Watanabe, who looks back on his days as a college student living in Tokyo. Through Watanabe’s reminiscences, readers see him develop relationships with two very different women—the beautiful yet emotionally troubled Naoko, and the outgoing, lively Midori. The novel is set in late 1960s Tokyo during a period when Japanese students, like those of many other nations, were protesting against the established order. While it serves as the backdrop against which the events of the novel unfold, Murakami (through the eyes of Watanabe and Midori) portrays the student movement as largely weak-willed and hypocritical.

There is a very complex emotions portrayed and it was beautiful to read.

Here is what I experienced from Norwegian Wood. One the Japanese culture of Suicide. It’s so easy apparently to quit for the prolonged emotional weights. Why are the young teens seeking samurai tendencies over honor, public image and self-pride? It is also true about the Japanese People’s courage.

I really loved the culture of regular hiking. Even as the story is set to 1960’s the author had the book out in the late 1980’s the culture of hiking is beautiful. The locations, Naoko’s recovery hostel, Toru’s regular hike stories and departure of Reiko Ishida to a hill station to teach music.

I got an insight on two men, one The Stormtrooper, who was fascinated with career prospect in cartography / map making and Nagasawa who pursued a career as diplomat.  I admired the perseverance and discipline both these projected to pursuit of their careers. While Nagasawa was a little insensitive as highlighted with his mixed emotions for Hatsumi. This is what is important in achieving ambitious goals. Nagasawa was immersed in passing out his exams for diplomacy, learning new languages and reading books to get into the mind of the story teller. Nagasawa was also the lead in solving conflict, he found convincing and winning people out with knowledge and it was a game to him. However unfortunately he was insensitive to the emotional attachment. I would say it is a requirement in pursuit of goals but he could have been empathetic. Storm Trooper was a jovial and relatively a good boy with humble roots. His passion for map and its intricate details and geography was very exciting to read. I could feel the emotion, that excitement when you are in that thrills of passionate pursuit.   
This is a good example to those who want to be winners.

I would get more into side of the story which portrays values to self-improvements. Rieko Ishida has elaborated about who she is. A very Successful musician who suddenly lost her thrill. With just the question of self-doubt. “What next after winning the competition.” I have had similar experience when I was working for Lenovo, I just got bored out of it one day, suddenly. It wasn’t with self-doubt but more to the fact that I just did not find thrill in it. However, Rieko goes in to an emotional tumble till she is rescued via teaching music and getting married. The tumble extends but I will not get into it. Here I would be pointing to Goals, its important to pursue excellence with a goal. But when achieved. Its time to set a new goal and reach for it instead of self-doubt.

At the end of it my mind still wonders why Naoko cut down her life. It was clear that as a child she had seen her elder sister hanging in the room. Her boyfriend at 17 suffocated himself and her stories mention previous generation to have suicide incidents. But for someone with a goal to achieve her higher self (Recovering) to be with Toru and begin a new life. She killed herself. I believe she read Toru’s letter meant for Rieko, where he mentions about Midori. I think that made her happily walk out with the extreme decision. This part did hit me deep. There is a part where Toru meets Midori’s father for the first time in a Hospital post her father’s brain tumor surgery. They both connect without words and a cucumber impromptu recipe. Then two days before their supposed rendezvous Midori’s father died.
This book I have been reading at the time of Pandemic Crisis. Personal experience as such was taking place all around. Met a jovial person only to hear the news of the death.

It’s a beautiful portrayal of emotions during college days. Prior to 20’s. Events that shape us to our adult hood. Death is a journey just as you finish your school, college and loose old friends, meet new ones ahead. Discipline and goals can be hard and strong or warm and happy, either way you should not lose sight of it. It eggs you on despite heavy hearts.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart