So I began the year by reading Murakami's "Norwegian Wood". Having heard so many people rave on about this book I had high expectations, so I was quite disappointed when it basically turned out to be a love story. I expect to be pleasantly befuddled by a Murakami novel, not puking in my mouth from post-pubescent wallowing. Toru Watanabe is another example of why I loathe Murakami's male protagonists - they're all passive, weak-willed "men" who retreat down wells/hide in their rooms/run away to Kyushu as soon as the slightest thing happens to upset their selfish, navel-gazing little existences (which is usually their wife leaving them, and quite right too). I spent the first half of the book wondering when the Murakami trinity would kick in - weak-willed man (evident from page 1); hiding in well/room/Kyushu (about half-way through); cat - just after half-way through, so I wasn't let down in that respect.
This time I found reading "Norwegian Wood" just as depressing as when I read "Dance Dance Dance", though perhaps the violent suicidal thoughts didn't present as they did last time
. And yet, by the end of the book, I had made my peace with it, and I am able to appreciate why it was so popular upon its release. However, in my opinion, not his best.
So, I move on from one depression-inducing book to one which I was warned would be thoroughly misery-making, Cormac McCarthy's "The Road". It has been sitting on my shelf for about 7 months and my inner masochist decided now would be time to read it, what with the disappointment of the Copenhagen Climate conference fresh in my mind. And strangely, so far I find it totally riveting, only slightly misery-making and less irritating than "All The Pretty Horses". When the world goes to shit, which isn't far off, I can see this as a very credible projection of how things will end up. Anyway, more on that when I've finished it.
So, on to other things. Given the extremely bad mood I've been in the past week, I'm not sure what possessed me to watch "The Time Traveller's Wife" on Saturday night. Perhaps because it seemed to be the only functioning movie on Ninjavideo, or was it the half a bottle of wine I'd consumed by myself? I haven't read the book, and I really knew nothing about the movie. I liked the idea of time travelling, and I also empathized with the wife of a guy who is genetically unreliable (maybe that's just me reading my own issues into things), but it's just a saccharine, nasty love story with a devilishly impish-looking little girl chucked in towards the end for cute factor. I could see her with a big kitchen knife in her hand, that would have been a better ending.
I made up for this torture by watching "Inglorious Basterds" on Monday night, which was much better.
So books and films this year:
Murakami - Norwegian Wood Brothers
McCarthy - The Road The Time Travellers' Wife
On Sunday, Chelsey and I ventured to Akihabara to get her a new power cord for her laptop. I spent 20 minutes lurking in the station counting otaku
before she turned up. Our quest took us to different shops, the first two of which were totally useless as none of the staff were very interested in helping us out. Coming out of Yodobashi Camera, our second stop, we walked though a crowd of people standing and sitting outside the store. They were totally silent. Then I realized that everyone was crouched over a Nintendo DS. So there was a massive silent crowd of geeky men (and two pre-pubescent girls) playing on their DS's on sunny Sunday afternoon in Akihabara. Sometimes
I love Tokyo. Which is why I live in Yokohama.
So, I'm currently sporting a particularly fetching purple-black bruise on my stomach from a little bike accident. I publicized this event on Facebook, fishing for some sympathy as I was quite achey and pissed off at the time, but only one kind soul expressed their concern for me. Thanks a lot everyone else, remind me to punch you in the face next time I see you. I received said injury whilst cycling up an overpass on my way back from the Tesco in Minatomirai. It's a steep, curving slope to the top and you need to put a lot of welly into getting up there, which is why having a bag jam in the forks on the front tyre is not quite what you want to experience. I ended up in a sort of reverse wheelie, and it took a lot of balance and muscle to keep the bike from tipping over. So I came crashing back down to earth, upright, but ended up slamming into my handlebars.
Hmm, so, next time I'll walk the overpass.