Saturday, October 13, 2012

Japanese Literature Challenge Updates

 We're more than half way through the Japanese Literature Challenge 6 season and I haven't posted on anything yet. The challenge is hosted by Della Bellezza and I think I've participated in 5 of the 6 challenges. I hold this challenge as one of my favourites because it takes me into new worlds of literature that I would have never done before - and I enjoy it.

I originally posted my intentions for this challenge here, but it did not include this one - Murakami's 1Q84. It's HUGE by my standards (I'm not an avid reader and I've had a fear of books over 500 pages long). Still, I couldn't resist it when I was about to go on holidays to a remote tropical island.
Murakami has featured in all of my reading lists for the Japanese Literature Challenges, and again he doesn't disappoint. I'm only 2/3rds of the way through this one, but I'm definitely hooked, and again, being transported into a strange and bizarre world - one with two moons and little people.... I'll post more soon about it (hopefully when I finish it) - but here's a quote from another reviewer.

This is the real world, there is no doubt about that.
But in this world, there are two moons in the sky.
In this world, the fates of two people, Tengo and Aomame, are closely intertwined. They are each, in their own way, doing something very dangerous. And in this world, there seems no way to save them both.
Something extraordinary is starting.

and from another blogger who struggled in the beginning, but in the end loved the book - she comments on a characteristic of Murakami's writing:

The Fantastic. Interspersed with the seemingly mundane aspects of daily life are moments of magic and utterly bizarre surrealism. Again, Murakami succeeds in poking that chink in our armour, our Achilles heel – which is love of the supernatural, and the otherwordly. How else could readers bear to read page after page about Coca Cola, and The Beatles, and jazz cafes, and downtown Shibuya/Shinjuku (though in 1Q84 it’s more Janacek’s Sinfonietta and Remembrance of Things Lost/Past - i.e. the elusive Marcel Proust), and how to prepare the perfect grilled mackaron with grated daikon radish, and miso soup with tofu and littlenecks and green onions, and cucumber slices with wakame seaweed in vinegar.

So, while I'm working on finishing this epic, I've also found something else that interests me for this challenge - Alex Kerr's 'Lost Japan'. See this review.

Any other suggestions? preferably shorter books?

Monday, October 1, 2012

September Bliss

I'm back and I'm in a state of bliss. I've just had a wonderful couple of weeks in the middle of the India Ocean visiting Christmas Island and the Cocos Keeling Islands.
Christmas Island is a larger more active island - where fishing, bush walking and kyaking where everyday activities for me, and Cocos Keeling was a place for me to stop, watch the hermit crabs and read.
Snorkeling admidst the beautiful coral underworld, and then feeding the sharks, reminded me about my place in the world. Sometimes you can loose track of just how big or small we are in the scheme of things.

So, after much relaxing, unwinding and reflection, I've come home with a refreshed commitment to a quote that's on my fridge:
'Life shrinks and expands in proportion to ones courage' Anaias Ninn
and as one friend reminds me: 
Carpe Diem and YOLO!
(you only live once)