13 March 2011



"I want you always to remember me.
Will you remember that I existed, and that I stood next to you here like this?"
Haruki Murakami from Norwegian Wood

"Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn't something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn't get in, and walk through it, step by step. There's no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That's the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

An you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You'll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about." -Haruki Murakami from Kafka on the Shore

images  from the Tale of Genji  from the 12th century illustrated hand scroll
read more about the novel here
more about Genji here- I can not recommend this novel enough, recognized to be the world's first novel , written by Japanese noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu in the early eleventh century, around the peak of the Heian Period.

Noruwei no mori  a novel by Haruki Murakami, the movie Norwegian Wood, adapted  from the book.
video 2 from the score for the movie by Jonny Greenwood adapted from the composition DogHouse.
video 3 Doghouse performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra.



  1. My mind is beswamped (I don't think this is a word, but it is a truth) of sadness for the immense loss and suffering of the Japanese people. Life is always vulnerable to THE TSUNAMI, but we are not conscious of that. Thank you for the links to "Norwegian Wood "--so beautiful.

  2. I am so sad and stricken, but may there be hope and positive thoughts, that's what's needed! And courage and love!
    Come and see my post, I linked to a help site as well!
    Thank you for your link to Norwegian Woods!

    xoxo V.

  3. You have brought up this Japanese Horror when all others have not...this is SO like you Gaye. Your compassion for Humanity and Animals is what is the Saving Grace of reading your words.

    This time of human suffering on the speeding carousel WE are all trapped on needs more of the same Energy as YOURS - to help slow it down...UNDERSTANDING that WE are all on this Earth and therefore ONE RACE including the Animal and Plant kingdoms is what will help ALL countries to overcome these natural disasters...this is the only path for us to walk upon.

    Oddly, the Ring of Fire sits upon the edges of the Pacific Ocean where the most damage seems to come from Storms and Pressures caused by Global Warming.

  4. This is an occurance that brings back to us the fragility of life.

    I was in the hospital yesterday getting xrayed and casted for a twisted ankle, feeling briefly sorry for myself.

    How fortunate to have only this and a few other difficulties to deal with in life,
    Thank you Gaye....
    Really beautiful !!!

    Art by Karena

  5. Gaye I really love your oblique and elegant and sympathetic tributes to the resilience of the Japanese. Hard to know what to say in the midst of catastrophe but this is meaningful.

    I am glad to be reminded of Norwegian Wood by Murakami. And I read a large chunk of The Tale of Genji many years ago. That was a marvellous essay that you linked, thank you.

  6. THe most perfect post out on the nternet rite now. THe complexity of the scroll paintings and the quotes from Murakami are tremendous in context to the music and magnitude of the tsunami victims. Where are all the souls that are swept away going? This is a dilemma that will be played out for decades and like the drop of the bomb will haunt another genration of the Japanese. THere is great cause for grief

  7. reader of your blog, who has never commented before. sorry about that haha! i agree with the above commenter, this post is perfect. the quote from kafka on the shore described my personal feelings about an obsessive love affair i once had so perfectly. thank you for finding that.
    quoted and linked to you on my blog.

  8. The Japanese people 'won't' be the same after this storm...one can only hope as they heal, that they will be stronger and more aware of how very special they are to the world.
    xo J~

  9. Mary, Karena, Victoria Art, It weighs heavy on my mind. Yes, the frailty of life and it makes us aware of the simple nature of our problems-yet we are only Human-this I think we forget-and are beyond transcending our own difficulties.

    Vic- Thank you, I have visited your post and need to return. Please do comment whenever you want to, just know I am glad you are reading.

  10. 24, Yes, let us hope. I feel so sad about this real and desperate situation.pgt

  11. The Swan, and Anon. I offer little solace to all the suffering of the Japanese. I think there are many like us that just feel there is a turning of the world we live in that isn't for the better.

    I hope everyone when Not too busy will visit my post of Yohji Yamamoto and Hiroshi Sugimoto. The videos with HS speaking about his work is something we should note. So much brilliance and culture from these 2 and to think how they must have seen their world born in 1943 and 48 after the atomic bomb was dropped on their country. How different the world is today.

  12. Rose, How I have missed you! the country is in my mind and the loss is beyond calculation-and seems to worsen. I am going to read NW again. Genji is a magical story-and fascinating what has been given to the world by the Japanese culture. how much we would have missed without such a country-their island was a blessed insulator for many years. pgt

  13. I read this after you posted it the other day. I remember feeling so grateful that amidst the images of the devastation, you were providing a starting point for the grieving--a way to process that which defies processing. I'm pretty sure that's called "art." Thank you.--le



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