I visited Japan last summer, for the first time, and I considered myself lucky. We’ve all heard much about this country - the land of the rising sun - famous and hallowed and grand.
Long before, this incredible nation stole my heart. That time I read a gorgeous novel. “Memoirs of a Geisha”. By Arthur Golden. This book largely talks the magical art of a geisha and her struggling, but I chose to adore the sensual description of beautiful landscapes of Kyoto and Tyoko and their social values and integrity.
More importantly, I’ve learnt so many other things about Japan (especially Tokyo, Kyoto and Kobe) from Haruki Murakami, the creator of about a dozen of masterpiece books like that of my favorites, “Norwegian Wood” and “The Wind-up Bird Chronicle”. I fell in love with Haruki and his beautiful country, Japan. And ever since I wanted visit this country, embrace it, experience wonderful moments.
So in Japan, last summer, I travelled around and stayed in Chiba, Yokohama, Tokyo and Asakusa. I was absolutely fascinated by the edgy, stylish and high-street conformity of these cities, which is to tell you, the ultimate shopping mecca. The people very gorgeous, the streets perfectly organized and clean, and the technology unbelievably advanced.
I walked many roads, ran across a sea, passed through parks, met many people and dined in several ethnic restaurants. Noticing everywhere, and feeling everything.
All this reminded me something, deep inside, remotely familiar. And I nervously felt that I’ve walked those roads, felt the touch of the wind, the smell of summer, heard the sound of the sea, and tasted those foods. Already.
I had realized, then, that how much a book can impact readers. Because all this that I read in the books, wonderful books by Haruki and Arthur. Reading a good book is amazing, and travelling to that place is truly the second visit. Believe me.
One fine morning, I sat in a park near the Sky Tree in Tokyo drinking pepsi that I bought from the vending machine. The Sky Tree, the park, the summer air, and the people walking by instantaneously reminded some lines from Haruki’s masterpiece, “Norwegian Wood”.
“I sat here for a long time, watching…people passing… This was an early summer day. The people we passed carried their jumpers or jackets over their shoulders or in the arms. Everyone looked happy in the warm Sunday afternoon sun.”
It buoyed me so much to do and experience exactly what this wonderful writer wrote in his book. And immediately, I asked a passerby about Haruki and his address. I couldn’t meet him, but I knew where he stays in Tokyo.
It rained on my last night out there, not so heavy though. I ordered a cocktail in my hotel room. As I sipped on it, I watched the endless rain beyond the window pouring down over the city lights. It looked mesmerizing. The cocktail and the summer rain intoxicated me, and urged me to sing a song, the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”,
I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me...
She showed me her room, isn't it good, norwegian wood?
She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere,
So I looked around and I noticed there wasn't a chair.