Sunday, December 6, 2015

What did I read in Maine?

The first solo journey I every took in my life was Hong Kong in 2007. I was 19 years old.
 I had only one form of company: a book I bought at Barnes and Noble, simply because it was on that shelf. That book was the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami, and I read that book all over Hong Kong. I read in the park, on the ferry, in restaurants, in my hotel room. 

 When I returned to America and people asked, “What did you do in Hong Kong?” 

I answered, “I read a book in Hong Kong.” 

They were incredulous. “You did what?” They thought I wasted my trip. Wasted my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in Hong Kong. 

“What a waste of time! I mean, how often do you get to be in Hong Kong?”

 I always had the same answer. “How often do you get to read a book in Hong Kong?” 

 I don’t regret my time spent there. Not for a moment. I loved the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and nearly everything that Murakami wrote. I tore through all of this books when I moved to Portland and got a library card. And most recently, I was able to read Pinball/Wind. This is both is newest and oldest publication. These two short novels were the first works he published in Japanese, but they had not been – until recently – translated into English.

Breakwater Lighthouse, Rockland, ME

It seems fitting then, that I should celebrate my solo trip to Maine by reading Murakami, and that the book I read is his earliest work, translated until now. 

I read in lobster shacks, I read on the rocky cliffs of lighthouses, I read on top of Mt. Dorr, and I read in public parks in Portland.

Maybe I'm not so different from my 19-year-old self. 

Mt. Dorr, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME

Downtown, Portland, ME

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