Tengo

What a name. It simultaneously reminds me of the ballroom dance and also an old piece of wood.

Well since I’ve been reading the book, here are some quotes and an article on the meals in 1Q84.

On Tengo visiting his father in the Cat Town (extraordinarily similar idea to Miyazaki’s The Cat Returns):

Tengo’s father never made the slightest movement. His eyes were closed tightly at the bottom of those two deep , dark hollows. He might as well have been waiting for winter to come and the hollows to fill up with snow.

On Fuka-Eri’s bestseller book being dethroned from the bestseller list:

At eleven Tengo had to leave his room so they could clean it. When the time came he stopped writing, went out, walked to the front of the station, and drank coffee in a nearby coffee shop. Occasionally he would have a light sandwich, but usually he ate nothing. He would then pick up the morning paper and check it closely to see if there was any article that might have something to do with him. He found no such article. Air Chrysalis had long since disappeared from the bestseller lists. Number one on the list now was a diet book entitled Eat as Much as You Want of the Food You Love and Still Lose Weight. What a great title. The whole book could be blank inside and it would still sell.

The best statement from the article above is: “Like his other books, 1Q84 is chock-full of obscure references that make you wish it came with its own musical soundtrack, literary appendix and history lesson. The story, like much of Japanese culture, is also heavily garnished with meals; we learn what Aomame eats to prevent constipation, as well as what Ushikawa fixes himself while on a stakeout.”
I would sign up for that history lesson! I wonder if there are literature classes on Haruki Murakami’s work. I certainly regret not taking any at Cornell. The book also places a lot of attention on Janacek’s Sinfonietta.

Here’s his take on math departments:

“How is your father doing?”
“He has been in a coma the whole time,” Tengo explained. “He’s breathing, and his temperature and blood pressure are low but stable. But he’s unconscious. I don’t think he’s in any pain. It’s like he has gone over completely to the dream world.”
“Not such a bad way to go,” his friend said, without much emotion. What he was trying to say was This might sound a little insensitive, but depending on how you look at it, that’s not such a bad way to die. But he had left out such prefatory remarks. If you study for a few years in a mathematics department, you get used to that kind of abbreviated conversations.

“Have you looked at he moon recently?” Tengo suddenly asked. This friend was probably the only person he knew who wouldn’t find it suspicious to be asked, out of the blue, about the moon.
His friend gave it some thought. “Now that you mention it, I don’t recall looking at the moon recently. What’s going on with the moon?”
“When you have the chance, would you look at it for me? And tell me what you think.”
“What I think? From what standpoint?”
“Any standpoint at all. I would just like to hear what you think when you see the moon.”
A short pause. “It might be hard to find the right way to express what I think about it.”
“No, don’t worry about the expression. What’s important are the most obvious characteristics.”
“You want me to look at the moon and tell you waht I think are the most obvious characteristics?”
“That’s right,” Tengo replied. “If nothing strikes you, then it’s fine.”
“It’s overcast today, so I don’t think you can see the moon, but when it clears up I’ll take a look. If I remember.”
Tengo thanked him and hung up. If he remembers. This was one of the problems with math department graduates. When it came to areas they weren’t interested in, their memory was surprisingly short-lived.

***
Update: We finished the wedding prezi! You can view it here.

And, Holy cow, this guy’s raised a ton of money to make his potato salad.

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