Posts Tagged With: murakami

Sputnik Sweetheart Brooch

My last piece of Haruki Murakami inspired brooches. This is a Lithuanian cover of “Sputnik Sweetheart”. More of my made is at

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Haruki Murakami – Norwegian Wood


At some point I will put a box on the right with “Reading Now” in it, otherwise I will keep skipping reviews on some of the books. This time I speak of Haruki Murakami‘s “Norwegian Wood“, instead of William Peter BlattyThe Exorcist” (In short – I’d give it 3 out of 5, just because it was a torture how slowly they moved forwards with the plot). So. HM. This book was on my “To Read” list for forever and I kept promising I will get to it soon to all my readers who are fans of Murakami, and at last I managed. Yet it took me almost full two weeks to reach the end of this book! And I don’t know why for it was pretty damn good one.

I admit, I’m glad I didn’t start reading Murakami from this book. Now I view author as the man who managed to create a world within a world, who has strange passion for ears and food, and there’s strange magic everywhere around his characters. But this book was nonetheless great. It’s told from Toru’s perspective, a young student, who lives in one of those all-boys dorms, with all it’s filth and assholes. When he was seventeen – his best friend killed himself, leaving hurt both him and his girlfriend, a girl Toru loves just as much. Alone in this world they try to support each other, for they both loved Kidzuki and he left them both to live with this void. Yet, in the end it’s clear that this is a personal fight each will have to fight alone.

As we watch Toru live a simple and a rather poor life, meeting new people, losing people, we see the philosophy of life and death flourish in him. If not careful, with this book one might leave anxious of death, for there’s much of it everywhere. And while this book was as always – a bit stretched, and lacked the fun bits from Murakami, plus some sex scenes were completely out of the place, in the end it was an easy and interesting read, so I’ll give it a 4 out of 5.

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Haruki Murakami – After Dark


after_dark  So far Haruki Murakami’s book After Dark is one of the best ones and probably one of the shortest ones, beside the first two parts of The Rat trilogy.  It’s an easy and quick read, with a simple but interesting plot. It has the Murakami’s usual type of fantasy in it. Seems all his books have some sort of movement between different worlds and dimensions.

The story is mostly of a girl called Mari who has a sister called Eri. Mari is in town late at night and the last train already left. She sits at some 24/7 place, reading and drinking coffee, just trying to get the night pass. But so many things can happen from midnight to morning! Like, an illegal immigrant from China, a girl same age as Mari, could get beaten in one of the Love Hotels by a customer. She might not know Japanese and thus the managers of the place might need to call the police. But then the girl might get deported and all sorts of trouble would start. So instead they might just find someone who speaks Chinese. Yes, Mari speaks Chinese.

There’s a band playing in a basement somewhere nearby, one of the musicians know both Eri and Mari. They play through the night.

There are cats in the park, they come around near dusk, terrorizing people with their cuteness to give them some food.

And then there’s Eri, Mari’s older sister, miss perfect Snow White, who sleeps like a Sleeping Beauty, with no one there to notice the danger she is in.

It’s a really great book of six hours of darkness in the night and all the little and big things that can happen. I think the book had more potential than just this, but who am I to tell someone like Murakami of how to write? So I’ll give the book firm 5 out of 5 and move on. This was a really neat book…

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Haruki Murakami – Sputnik Sweetheart


Since a Steam game is updating still, I figured it’s better now than later that I tell you of the other book I just finished. This time it’s Haruki MurakamiSputnik Sweetheart“. I never expect too much from Murakami, for he’s not for every type of the mind. Instead I just read and wait what will happen.

This time the story is told by a teacher they call K. He’s in love with his friend – Sumire. And she’s in love with an older married woman she calls Miu, or Sputnik. Sumire is a strange girl and while complaining, K still does like her calls in the middle of the night, when she’s having a philosophical question of some sort. She’s quite poor, being a writer with no success, for whatever she writes – doesn’t fit one story, so whenever she wishes to call him, she makes an effort to walk all the way to the pay-phone, so he can’t even complain too much. But ever since she met Miu – she can’t write at all and only the fact that Miu hires her as a secretary – gives her hope.

Miu on the other hand is a strange one. Kind, but seemingly a little bit self-centered. She’s married, but has no sexual desire and never had sex even with her husband, they simply get along too well for it to be a problem. Miu also has a secret – her hair is completely white ever since something happened to her many years ago, and thus she dyes them black and never speaks of what it was. Right up until something Murakamish-Fantastic happens and Sumire suddenly disappears…

It’s a pretty darn good book. I expected that much, of course, this being not the first book of Murakami that I read. But the ending was so surprising and so nice. I do like good endings, nothing tragic and no “….wtf just happened?” stuff. So I’ll just give this book a 4 out of 5 and say, that Murakami has earned his spot in my shelves. Altho my favorite is still the Sheep Hunt for certain…

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Murakami’s Rat and my findings

Let’s start with Haruki Murakami and his “RatTrilogy+. It is indeed a trilogy and a plus, for the fourth book, called “Dance Dance Dance” is hardly attached to it and doesn’t exactly follow the story. Same narrator and few old characters, but if you read the trilogy, you know that some things cannot be without a certain person alive anymore, yes? In Lithuanian, translated, that is, we have the “A Wild Sheep Hunt” and “Dance Dance Dance“, for as English speaking fans of Murakami probably already know – the first two books are very hard to get anymore. But we get a lot of his other books translated and re-printed a lot in different editions and different covers. It’s nice when you can choose, it’s just that so far I didn’t find “A Wild Sheep Hunt” translated out of original. It’s mainly out of English, therefor – no first two books out of the trilogy. But I worry not, there’s many in this same position we are. And I was lucky enough to either way read those two books. Oh, and no, not all his books are translated out of English for us, many are actually translated out of original.

Haruki_Murakami_The_Rat_Trilogy_Plus  The first book is called “Hear the Wind Sing“. It’s a very “let me just throw all these things together and see what comes out of it“. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good. The info given is not boring, even if I didn’t find every connection and maybe sometimes there was no connection between the news narrator listened to, and the story itself. Narrator, doing what he does, was smoking, drinking beer and listening to rock music. Naturally, a girl, a weird one, appeared in his life and told him he’s a strange one, a different one. Rat was around. Brooding of how much he dislikes rich people. And how he dislikes the fact that he’s rich too, but it’s not even his fault, it’s his parents who are rich and therefor make him rich in sequence. They both seemed to be interesting characters. And this book contains no names, unless we take bartender called “J” as a proper and valid name.

  The second book is “Pinball, 1973“, and here we finally see this very transparent and easy to miss tie that connects Rat and the narrator. This book follows the first one before the epilogue happens there, so narrator isn’t married yet and Rat, if I understood it right, is not yet a writer. In this book they don’t sit and drink together, but you get the idea that they both live by only smoking and drinking beer, without even as much as sleeping. Narrator in this case lives with twin girls who got no names. And Rat is obsesses about a woman he can’t have. I admit, I laughed out loud long and hard at the end of this book, when the twins were cleaning narrator’s ears and he sneezed. I haven’t laughed this much at a book for a long, long time.

  Third book is “A Wild Sheep Hunt” and it’s where the writing gets real good. The book in compare is fat and nice, but then again, it’s in this book where narrator was married and now starts to learn how to cook. Not like “oh, I need to learn to cook“, no. We simply get a lot of text about where he went, what he ate, what he bought, what he cooked, what he ate, what else he cooked, what else he ate. A lot of it. And it really, really disturbed me, for otherwise it’s a great book, dammit. And in this book narrator meets another woman, another weird woman. I think he even divorced his first wife (not his initiative, it was she who went away from him), she wasn’t weird enough for him. So, in this case – lady has something similar to supernatural powers, I’d say. But it’s so strange, that now I understand why people call Murakami’s books “Murakamish“. As if “That’s very like-Murakami“. Back to topic – in this book narrator gets a few letters from Rat, who is now traveling from one god-forsaken place to another, searching for himself (what are you searching for? Just a traveler, looking for purity…)  and in one letter he sent him a picture from what narrator guessed was Hokkaido. It wasn’t anything special, just a view with mountains, trees and a herd of sheep. Thing is, one sheep was not supposed to even exist. It’s strange how Murakami is able to write a good book on most boring topic ever. For it was good. Especially the ending where I was real glad I read the first two books. Otherwise I just don’t know why would anyone care for Rat at all – if you don’t know him, you don’t feel the attachment to him. And attachment is important, in my opinion, for ending made book extra good. And ending DEPENDS on attachment to the Rat.

  And the fourth book, the Plus to original Trilogy is “Dance Dance Dance“. If it was up to me, I’d taken out a whole hundred first pages out of it. For AGAIN it was “I cooked this, ate it, then cooked that, ate it, went there, drank this, ate this, got home, slept, then woke up, made this, ate it, drank…” and there was a lot of it. But after you glide through those hundred or so, it gets better. Naturally, narrator meets one more woman, no less weird if not as special. He also meets a thirteen year old girl named Yuki, who made this story nicer to me. I hope there are proper teens like that, not only those little devils you don’t wish to talk to longer than five minutes. Either way, now it’s a lot harder to say what the book was about. Main history of narrator and Rat is at it’s end, but narrator finds a filler – his former classmate who is now an actor. To add to that, he feels a terrible need to find that girl from the first book. And then there’s this thirteen year old, forgotten by all she needs the most. And then murders happen… Can’t say I liked this book as much as the other three, but it wasn’t bad either, I’d give it a four out of five without a weight on my conciousness. Yet, after you read it, you definitely see why it’s not “sequence” of some sort, but only a Trilogy+.

  So, in conclusion on my readings, Murakami is a good writer and I intend to get more of his stuff. I also figured that I’d like to see Hawaii, but most importantly – Japan. And now, while thanks to narrator of those books I know a shitload of different dishes, I’d like to visit a proper Japanese food serving restaurant too…

  As for my days in general, this month was a findings month. I found some interesting books, interesting articles, interesting places and three interesting things. One of them was all the while in my home. We have a lot of things from parents youth days, but most of it is stored in the closet room, so we tend to remember gorgeous original type of items only at this improvised Spring Cleaning at autumn.


  But first things first. The first picture shows my giant hand with a cup. Yes, it’s a cup, not an egg-holder for your breakfast, I checked it. I didn’t buy it and now I regret it, for I guess it was only a couple of dollars worth, for it’s old, dusty and there’s only one of it. And it’s sold in this old hole that once used to be a fantastic restaurant by the lake. I don’t know how such an amazing place is not restored yet, maybe it’s too far at the edge of our town map, but at same time – it’s right beside the lake, it has a proper parking-lot and a mall not that far away, and is in walking distance from half of the town. The building is in very shady conditions now, but thankfully, they’re still keeping it up by reselling old furnitures, clothing, random items like this goblet. Someday I’ll take pictures and show how beautiful it is there. By the way, I bought this tiny little cup there, for my mother collects tiny cups, the sort that holds like four spoons of liquid the most.

  The middle picture shows a mask wall decoration made of some kind of heavy white liquid-absorbing and paint-resistant (the brown wood imitating paint is sliding off like nothing holds it) material, which I guess could be simply chalk. At the back it has a hook to put it on the wall. And I found it thrown out on street. I just walked by and noticed it and looked around – there was no living being anywhere in sight. So I took it home, washed it and intend to peel whole paints off and repaint it in bronze paint. Pretty neat find, I’d say. Tho I have no idea what it is exactly or what its origins are, I still like the dragon-like ornaments at the sides.

  And the third item is glass-tray, the home-find. It used to hold six glasses (out of which only three survived to this day) and was used as a tray. You’d fill up the glasses and bring it at table like that. Instead I stored away the remaining glasses in hope that extra-fragile glass (it’s more than by half thinner than your regular glass you drink water out of, more like vial thin) glasses will stay safe until I have my own home and can turn them into my daily cups or candle holders. I’m not as clumsy as most people think that I am (mostly because I harm myself quite some), I wouldn’t break them. And for now, I took the tray and put my bottle collection on it, not all fit on it tho, so only the most narrow got to be displayed on this beauty. Also, I broke one piece of it, but you can’t see it, for I’m a skilled elven craftsman, haha! Eitherway, the bottles are either empty, or contain something of no huge importance. These on tray, one has blue ink in it, the other – those paper worms you get in parcels and packages, they all are from Solstice Scents (I feel that I mention them so much everywhere, that they could already sent me a pack of sample bottles… After All, I love them so damn much! Really, go try them out.) and the rest are empty. But other bottles, not on display, one contains coins from the places I traveled too (not that much, sadly, but all different kinds, even if it’s just an annual coin of same value – if it’s different – it’s to be kept), another contains dyed beach sand, green and black in tiger stripes, another, that used to contain perfume (a half liter of it, costed a small fortune, might I add), now contains my marble collection. I also have one for ashes of incense, but I think it’s on the tray and I just forgot to mention it. And one for small metal items that rust, so I water it now and again, to cover the inside of the bottle with nice rusty waves. And one green for magical purposes. Yep.

IMG 1770

  By the way, it’s not in the picture, but the red chinese looking glass on the tray holds six vials now. I forgot to put them in before taking the picture. And now I’ll stop talking. Next blog will probably again be an update on the things I craft or already crafted. I just received a permission to use once borrowed items (cousin lent me whole box of items out of which I needed only a few to make a thing, she said I can use any I like, but I never took it too seriously and I was very modest in using what’s not mine. But today she said that I definitely should feel free to use what I want), so I intend on making some things, plus, I learned how to cut DVD disks easily and found a few with nice pictures on them (promotional dvd’s that contain free programs and demo’s of the games they’re promoting, they tend to come with magazines like PC Gamer, which I never miss ever since The Witcher promo came out the very, very first time, which was probably in 2004. Gosh I’m old…), so I’ll use those, and I again experimented and did something I haven’t seen done.

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