Haruki Murakami

Day 4 of 30: Write about someone who inspires you

There so many people that I think are cool, in a way that what they do is inspiring, from many walks of life. Be it from people of literature, environmentalist, entrepreneur, scientist/researcher, or even artists such as the Elon Musk, that I admire so much, Tserhing Tobghay, Daan Kierkegaard, Stephen Petranek, Mansur Gavriel to Eva Celia, an Indonesia singer who turned vegan (not that I am planning to be vegan ever, but I am trying to increase my plant-based intake, so she inspires me in a way that it makes me think that it could be done without much fuss).

But I don’t really have anyone who really touched me personally, so that they inspire me in my life. At least, not a life-changing one. The closest I can think of are the ones that inspire me in writing and storytelling. Those people are the great Japanese master in literature and anime: Haruki Murakami and Hayao Miyazaki. I love love love their works so much that their works motivate me to write and not to give up on writing. Even though, I am torn between the two, I decided to just write about Haruki Murakami in this one since his influence extends to more than just writing, but to my personal life, as well.

The first book that I read was Kafka on the Shore. I was crazy confused, but blown away at the same time. I seriously couldn’t put the book down. All the weird things that happened in that novel is written as if it was just a common thing. A man speaking cat language, raining fish, or your lost mom’s and sister’s figure in someone else’s – anything else? Just walk casually, there’s nothing to see here. Well, in Murakami’s world, things can happen. From then on, I claimed myself as the devoted reader of Haruki Murakami’s.

To me, Mr. Murakami is inspiring because he’s crazy. Haha. He is different and he likes it to be different from anybody else. He mentioned that he is a loner who is not comfortable being in a circle of people and he’s okay with it. I personally would be afraid to be alienated by anyone else, but he doesn’t seem to mind. Which is badass, in my opinion.

Before he became a writer, he and his wife owned a Jazz bar, Peter Cat, in Kokubunji, Tokyo. His love for Jazz is what motivated him. And he also didn’t want to be stuck in a daily commute like any other Tokyoians  — I mean, people of Tokyo (That does sound off isn’t it?). I agreed with him in this, because rush hour commute could really burn people out.

The idea of becoming a writer occurred to him when he was watching a softball match in a stadium near his Tokyo apartment. A thought occurred to him: you know what? I could try writing a novel.[1] From that hunch he wrote the novel Hear the Wind Sing, stealing time here and there while managing his business. When the novel got published, he wrote the second one, which is Pinball, 1973. From there he decided that he wanted to be a professional novelist so that he could write something more large-scale. He decided to close his bar, even though his earning from writing novel was less than the income from the bar. That’s what I think is a bold move. To be honest, I haven’t managed to do any kind of bold move like that, maybe will never be. I will always think of a fallback, just in case. Maybe that’s why I really appreciate that kind of people that never do stuff halfheartedly. Sometimes, I gave myself an excuse that I just can’t choose, I am greedy, I want to be many things at once. Which of course, nobody can. Lol.

When he has closed the bar and became a full time novelist, he did a 180. He changed his lifestyle entirely. He knew that he needed to be healthy to keep up with minimum movement writing activity as oppose to his lifestyle as bar owner that required him to do laborious work. He decided to move to a more rural area where he could focus on his writing, do some running, since it is his preferred exercise where he wouldn’t require any special equipment or any company to do that, and he also gave up smoking. By the way, he was a heavy smoker when he ran the bar, that he could smoke 60 cigarettes a day and got all her teeth and fingers yellowed. And guess what? He is a now a regular marathoner (hence his non-fiction book about running) and triathlon enthusiast. He also did an ultramarathon, which covered the length of 100km! And all he did, changing his lifestyle to an active one, is because he thought it’s good for him. I mean, how people think that something is good for them but never really do them? (including me, by the way)

That part inspired me so much in my everyday life. It is so hard for me to keep a healthy lifestyle, where I can be active all day and stay productive. Reading his book motivated me to manage a regular running schedule; 3 times a week, every week. I lost some body weight from that, though. But, when somehow the schedule disrupted, going back on track is such a hard work. Ugh!

I think more or less, his works influence my writing style. Because they’re always metaphorical and I am comfortable utilizing metaphors. But, I am still a chameleon. I am still finding out what really speaks for me. Why I started to read Russian classics like Dostoyevsky’s and Gogol’s is also because he mentioned it a lot in his novel. If you catch me starting to listen to Jazz, then I am totally brainwashed (which I haven’t, by the way). Maybe I should correct myself, now. Murakami does inspire more than I think.

One last thing. There is his quote that is dear to my heart because it is currently very relatable.

You are 27 or 28 right? It is very tough to live at that age. When nothing is sure. I have sympathy with you.

But I’ll be 29 soon. I hope there will be nothing as such to be sympathized of me.

 

[1] What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

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