10 Murakami Quotes I’d Live and Die To

I’m still reeling from an utterly amazing university orientation. I won’t say it was perfect or that it really hit the spot, but more than that, I believe it had me thinking a lot, and that’s the sort of state I exist best in. I feel strangely light in such a state.

Anyhow, the whole point of this post is that through this orientation, the love for my favourite author has been constantly reinforced. There have been many conversations about the works of Haruki Murakami, arguments over the meaning of his novels and the general agreement that he is one of the finest out there (this, of course, is disputable).

So here are ten quotes of his whose meanings I’d like to gravitate towards; the ideals they hold, the lessons they teach and the style(s) in which they have been executed. It makes these quotes a true treat to behold.

So here goes:

“Life is a lot more fragile than we think. So you should treat others in a way that leaves no regrets. Fairly, and if possible, sincerely.”

* * *

“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?”

* * *

“I used to think the years would go by in order, that you get older one year at a time. But it’s not like that. It happens overnight.”

* * *

“If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets.”

* * *

“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.”

* * *

“Is it possible, in the final analysis, for one human being to achieve perfect understanding of another? We can invest enormous time and energy in serious efforts to know another person, but in the end, how close can we come to that person’s essence? We convince ourselves that we know the other person well, but do we really know anything important about anyone?”

* * *

“But there are certain meanings that are lost forever the moment they are explained in words.”

* * *

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

* * *

“Your work should be an act of love, not a marriage of convenience.”

* * *

“The human heart is like a night bird. Silently waiting for something, and when the time comes, it flies straight toward it.”

* * *

As to why Murakami is my favourite author, I cannot really say for certain. I suspect his writing style and my overall approach to life share a good chunk of similarity. I don’t know if this was pure coincidence or whether I subconsciously willed my character and life maxims to be this way after reading a lot of his works. I feel myself moulding my style of writing to my attitudes and character, and so indirectly, the style of Murakami’s writing does in fact influence my own personal style.

Sure, I read a lot of other authors as well but none of their words have cut quite as deep. Either Murakami influenced me towards that direction, or I was like that all along. It’s like a “what came first, the chicken or the egg” question.

But hey, I am fine with both possibilities, for such is the power of words.

7 thoughts on “10 Murakami Quotes I’d Live and Die To

  1. I suspect it’s how Japanese authors generally writes their books. They basically have been brought up to question themselves, I think. This permeates through from other forms of Japanese media as well, especially those targeted to the older audience such as seinen manga. Also, we have to acknowledge the aptitute of the translator as well; I’ve read a lot of light novels (the written form of manga, to make long story short) and I see amateur (or even professional) translators can have a hard time translating the medium. Of course, I can’t compare novels to light novels due to the difference in demography that both media target, but then again, novels other than the Murakami ones either have no English translation or they are pretty obscure to be compared to Murakami’s works.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll have to agree and disagree with you on that. A lot of Murakami’s content and thoroughness in description does imbibe from his origins, which is Japan. The Japanese are famous for being organised and pay particular attention to detail. From his description of everyday things, I can totally see how you’d associate him with a Japanese upbringing.

      However, a lot of his philosophies and storylines take a very western slant, and along with the primarily jazz playlist he slowly unspools as the story progresses, there is very little doubt that this is not just another Japanese author. The style of his writing is frank and uncompromising, and in my opinion mirrors western standards. After all, his original writing (in Japanese) feels “translated” as he expressed in one of his articles about how he started writing.

      Though it is true, that the translators are a stellar crew. They’ve done his works a tremendous justice and brought his ideas right to our doorstep, to a place we can comfortably delve into his amazing world.

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  2. Ripping this off my 2015 blog cause too tired to write something new now, been trying to cultivate good sleeping habits this semester 😌 And seems like I’ve dug rather deep into your blog oops /hides. You seem to have had a rather different uni experience from me though, perhaps cause of choice of study, but thought you might like the quote at the end:

    I feel as we grow older it gets increasingly difficult to find deep relationships with people? Like I feel that in uni, we tread around meaningful conversation and instead talk about very superficial matters. Which makes it harder to find a real connection in people. Most of my time in the past few months has been spent reaffirming friendships then on brookering new relationships. With a few surprising exceptions (: okay so on a slightly unrelated note, I saw this online and thought it was really eloquent. There was this guy who asked haruki murakami what he feels is the meaning of life, that whether claiming that life has no meaning and it’s enough to be free is too unempathetic or shows a lack of responsibility. The reply:

    That’s something to think about after you die. While we’re still in the middle of being alive, it’s hard to really see the meaning behind it. We’re all busy, and we get caught up in all sorts of situations. So let’s think it over at our leisure after we pass away. I don’t think it’s too late to come to a conclusion after that.

    Food for thought.

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    • Firstly thanks for reading my blog! I post these posts without expecting any feedback. It’s a space for me to express and write what I really want to write.

      And on the note of forming close bonds, I feel you on that one! I have many friends that I’ve known for a long while but when you know someone for so long you tend to neglect that there are things about them that you don’t know but the ebb and flow of time erodes any esire to know more. It’s like how couples can be together for 7, 8 years and suddenly break up when they realise they just weren’t right for each other. My advice to you is to get uncomfortable with your friends now, get into heated discussion, run through the rain or something. Break the routine and you’ll find our so much more about the other person. I say all this but to actually do it is hard. Being spontaneous and open helps I guess.

      On the note of death, im not very sure what awaits after we go. But again, there’s no point thinking too much about it now, but to live and love your life. I see many people yearning for the great perhaps, waiting for lecture to end, waiting for dinner to be served, waiting for the bus to arrive, to bring us somewhere higher, better. But we forget to tell ourselves that we’re alive and the time to live is now. We keep thinking we could be better off, yet by thinking that we are already worst off. So yeah live life to the fullest and think not of the incoming darkness 🙂

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  3. Reblogged this on kafkatravels and commented:
    Fyi, Murakami was one of the reasons why I was determined to travel to Japan. In fact, when I was in Japan, my understanding towards Murakami grew even deeper.

    Murakami books that I read in Japan: Underground. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles (2nd time; unfinished).

    Like

    • Glad you like Murakami and that he inspired you to travel to Japan?! That’s incredible haha. Or did travelling to Japan inspire you to read Murakami? Could work both ways come to think of it.

      My favourite book is Kafka on the shore. It introduced me to Murakami and I never looked back. A lot of my fictional writing is influenced by his style. Realism with a sprinkle of magic, There’s nothing like it is there?

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      • Not at all. I started reading Murakami long before I visited Japan last year and his books have made me wonder how the country is like. But you’re kinda right in saying that it can work both ways because I find myself rereading a few of his books after my trip.
        His books are always so mystical yet at the same time, totally down-to-earth and relatable. It’s hard to explain how my heart feels every time I go through his books.
        My favourite is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle but am also impressed by his take on non-fiction in Underground (having read it in the optimal reading environment of Tokyo subways).

        P.S. It’s always nice to meet a fellow Murakami fan! 🙂

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