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Your Daily Read: Murakami’s Tokyo

Reliving Tokyo through the works of Haruki Murakami

Tokyo has been central to many of Murakami’s works, but how has he shaped the city?

If you, like us, have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage on Indian shores, here’s something else to make you rejoice. In today’s Your Daily Read, the Open Culture talks about a blog named Randomwire, the author of which is attempting to recapture Murakami’s Tokyo: “the Tokyo of his beginnings, the Tokyo where he ran the jazz bars in which he began writing, and the Tokyo which has given his stories their otherworldly touch.” Here is a sample from the blog:

Good. I want you to go to the Nakamuraya Café in Shinjuku at six o’clock. I’ll reserve a table for you in the back where it’s quiet. It’ll be in my name and on the company’s tab, so eat and drink as much as you like. The two of you can have a nice, long talk.’  — 1Q84

In Murakami’s voluminous 1Q84 (a play on the Japanese pronunciation of the number nine, “kyuu”, and a reference to George Orwell’s 1984), Nakamuraya Cafe serves as a meeting point where Tengo asks for the inscrutable Fuka-Eri’s permission to rewrite her mysterious manuscript.

Even with a precise location on Google Maps it took me about half an hour of walking around Shinjuku before I eventually stumbled across its secluded entrance at the bottom of the Takano building by chance. Nakamuraya serves a variety of cuisines all under one roof and I headed to the 6th floor to sample their Indian-style ‘Nakamuraya Curry’.

So the next time you visit Tokyo and want to see it through Murakami’s lenses, you can find inspiration right here.  Frankly, we can’t think of a better way to get into the mind of your favourite author!

Photo courtesy: Kevin Jaako on Randomwire

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