Haruki Murakami’s, “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage”

In my adolescent years I was a big talker, I would gibber-gabber constantly spouting out a series of unorganized sentences. My parents and my brother would nod attempting to decipher my chaotic ramblings. Then I inevitably got distracted by a thought about Star Wars and would make a bee line to my room to act out scenes from the movie with my toys.

When I became a teenager I finally realized what everyone around me already knew. I developed a fear of speaking from this recognition. Whenever I found myself in a social situation I would blurt out a comment that undoubtedly came out of my mouth disjointed leaving me feeling embarrassed or I tried to blend into the background. After a while I just avoided these uncomfortable situations and stopped talking.

foghorn leghorn

Fast forward to today. On the cusp of turning 38. Married with two daughters. I still get easily distracted. I continue to battle with impromptu conversations. When I talk I usually find myself pausing here and there in an attempt to quiet all my competing thoughts for the ones that are desired for the moment. On occasion during a discussion I can feel a beautiful symphony of sentences shoot out of my mouth. I feel bad for my dominated monologue with no knowledge of its duration. I always wonder what the other person thinks when this happens. The times I am brave enough, I’ll ask, “Did any of what I said make sense?”  It feels so good though to say exactly what you feel though. It’s like holding a pee in for thirty minutes and finally it’s out.

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During my lifetime of reading books there have been many that have expressed the thoughts and feelings I’ve had in the past that I can only dream of saying as clearly as these magnificent authors. I know they spend a great deal of time and effort to say exactly what they want.

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One such novel is Haruki Murakami’s, “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.” The main character Tsukuru Tazaki tells the story to his girlfriend the mystery of how his close group of four friends from high school just up and abandoned their friendship with him without an explanation. The four friends (two boys and two girls) all possessed noticeable personality traits that make them unique and each had a color in their names which became their nicknames. Tsukuru felt he was just the fifth wheel with no color (no nickname) and a dull personality. Sooner or later the friends would find this out hook up with each other and squeeze him out of the picture. They did brush him away without regard.

At the age of thirty-six, sixteen years later, the repressed wounds still exist leaving a trail of failed relationships in the wake. The present girlfriend noticed the paid he hasn’t dealt with and urged him (threatened to end their romantic affair) to contact the four friends and find out what really happened for his friends to end their friendship so abruptly and get closure. What a woman can make us do. Heck I became a Christian because I had a dating relationship with one. I started reading because I wanted to impress the ladies. Should have started lifting weights instead.

Anyway…opening up those old wounds he discovered and I as well an interesting story behind this mystery that kept me reading for the next couple of hundred pages. What he actually thought of himself was not what others actually saw. The story made me think that we can become paralyzed by our thoughts of ourselves and what others think that we actually start to avoid the uncomfortable feelings and watch life pass us by instead of doing something and engaging the real issues.

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One thought on “Haruki Murakami’s, “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage””

  1. This is pretty heavy, to uncover the fact how we see ourselves versus how people see us .
    No doubt we have a different opinion of ourselves.
    It would be nice if we found that people had a more favorable opinion of us,
    I think most of us know we do not feel we are a shining light . We have deep dark secrets we share with no one and I believe our past keeps us from feeling good about ourselves.
    On the other side of the coin we may be surprised to find people look at us with contempt, I believe we know most of them.
    Now I rambling,
    I liked your latest blog.
    One that makes you think

    Like

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