It is simple and beautiful like most Japanese literature. Reading Hiromi Kawakami’s Strange Weather in Tokyo is a lot like staring at the night sky and wondering what about it seems so fascinating.
The book is a love story that is very relatable despite its uncanny situation and plot.
An almost forty year old Tsukiko finds herself in the company of her Japanese secondary school teacher whom she barely remembers when he first approaches her.
They later on find themselves entangled in a karmic situation — meeting without making plans and without having any expectations and demands.
The book takes you on a journey of doubts and fears all in the name of love. It’s not heavily laden with societal problems and pressures, instead it focused more on the characters’ internal predicaments and fears.
I tried to leave behind thoughts and feelings of emptiness while I closed another Murakami book I borrowed from the library. Of course Murakami’s effect on me did not permit me to do so. These never-ending thoughts lingered in my mind like liquid cough syrup. I hated the way these thoughts stay and do nothing there. They just stay — much like the pungent smell of a coworker’s perfume.
“Is it possible, finally for one human being to achieve perfect understanding of another?”
Rather than wondering whether this is possible, the question of whether anyone would care so much to really try to understand and get close enough to me — my essence is bugging me. I know I’m a difficult person to uncover and much more, to understand. But that’s not the point. I’m not scared of that. In fact, I am completely aware of that. What worries me is whether anyone would even put an effort to try.
Would anyone get so close enough to knowing that I don’t like pineapples on dishes but would kill to have that ice cold pineapple juice? That the smell of fresh laundry comforts me as much as a cup of warm coffee. That the sound of the neighbors fighting or arguing gets me anxious or that I do not like my hair being touched.
I can go on and on for a long time… but would anyone even care enough to ask or even wonder?
“Would I ever see the rest? Or would I grow old and die without ever really knowing her?”
The music is unchanged and yet our dance feels different — like palms that catch smoke. Stubborn smoke nestles in our air spaces which sends me gasping; while you remain indifferent as if your lungs have always been burning. I never set them on fire. It wasn’t me.
I miss the way you pluck out seeds in your heart and blow them into my insides. The flowers aren’t hiding. They have long been gone. Even weeds do not find it worthwhile to even try to exist.
We are dead.
You and I.
The fire did not kill us.
We are less fire and more dead-ice.
Yes, we are.
Sometimes I stop and just observe the current and everything else that either flows with it or go against it.
In that moment of stillness, I wonder why I’m here and if there’s anyone else noticing me in this messed-up world.
I make a splash and see that despite the hullabaloo, I have made ripples. I wonder if anyone will ever be affected by these tiny waves. I know it would be like asking for the moon to believe that it will.
I watch myself sink deeper into the sea.
In a few minutes, I shall be below see level.
When people tell me that the world is changing, I often try my best not to sigh or sing a merry tune. Responding with a sarcastic tone has never worked out well for people who have just learned to finally open their eyes.
I look at my world. It looks just as beautiful and sick. I wonder if I’ll ever get to learn how to use my eyes properly.
My fears are real. They come for me at night — when the world is silent but undead. They sit on the foot of my bed and watch me watch them. Sometimes, they speak in a language that although makes no sense in my head, is clearly the same language my heart uses.
My fears are real. They do not harm me when they stay with me but they break me in pieces before the sun breaks the stillness of the night. And they carry with them each piece when the moon has had enough watching.
I am fading. My fears are real. My Self, is only the essence of who I am. I am scattered everywhere and is nowhere here at the same time. My fears are real — even more than me.
To eat your name for dinner means I wake up with the Ocean’s rage in the crevice of my guts. The movement inside crashes into my organs. My heart, reverberates an incomprehensible dissonance of beats and rhythm. My lungs, slowed down by Chaos and Confusion, dance like little girls with two left feet. one. two. three — a waltz gone too fast.
To eat your name for dinner means I hold on to my sheets and cry out in pain as little stars escape my mouth. These stars do not fly out gracefully but fall on my sheets like defeated warriors. I shiver lightly from fatigue and nausea. I do not count theses celestial beauties instead I abandon them without a choice.
Another wave of movement inside me forces me to curl up into a ball. Pieces of the moon in its sheer silvery sheen make its grand exit out in such haste that my tears were not able escape my eyes in time.
A splitting pain and emptiness inside me gives birth to a strange light that stays with me and lingers… long enough to blind me.
I eat your name for dinner and awake throwing up the universe.