Murakami Haruki lived here from 1949 to 1968.
Murakami gave a brief introduction of the town in his first novel, Hear the Wind Sings:
Let me say something about the town―the town where I was born and raised and first slept with a girl. The sea out in front, hills behind, and right next door, major port. It's a tiny speck of a town. Flying along the highway on the way back from the harbor, I make a point of not smoking. In less time than it takes to strike a match, I might just miss the town. Population of seventy thousand plus, a figure that will hardly changed in five years. Most of those people live in two-story house with yards and own automobiles; two-car households are not uncommon. These statistics aren't just something I dreamed up; they're from actual findings published each year-end by the registrar’s office. I especially like the part about "two-story houses".
Now, the population is ninety thousand plus, increased citizens reside mainly in the reclamation site Murakami referred in his novel and essays, and an artificial island constructed farther offshore. Condominium residents are increasing, but still many live in two-story houses and own automobiles; Mercedes and BMW are not uncommon.
In the same book, a protagonist made a slow tour of the town:
I take a leisurely spin about town in my car. Up a miserably narrow street from the seaside into the hills. The river, tennis court, golf course, big estate all in a raw, walls and more walls, several pretty little restaurants, a boutique, the old library, a field overgrown with pampas grass, the park with the monkey cage. The same old town.
I wind my way around those treacherous bluff roads, then run along the river back down toward the sea. Near the mouth of the river I get out to cool my feet in the water. Two well-tanned girls in white hats and sunglasses hit a ball back and forth on the tennis court. Getting past noon, the sun grows suddenly more intense. The girl’s sweat flies off onto the court with each swing of their rackets.
After five minutes of watching them, I returned to the car, case back in the reclining seat with my eyes closed, and just listen to the sound of the waves mingling with the thud of the ball being hit back and forth. A faint sea scent, together with the smell of hot asphalts, reminds me of summers past. The warmth of girl’s skin, freshly washed button-down shirts, the smell of cigarettes smoked in the changing room at the pool, sudden flashes of things to come, never-ending dreams of summer all. Until one summer (when was it now?) the dream just didn’t come back.
Hanshinkan, the area between Osaka and Kobe, was a comfy place to spend Haruki's boyhood to the adolescent period.
Of his middle-school years, Murakami has written that all he remembers is being beaten by his teachers. He didn't like them and they didn't like him because he wouldn't study.
Young Haruki would often hear his parents discussing eighth-century poetry or medieval war takes at the dinner table. Haruki said, “Throughout my teens I became hate ‘Japanese literature’ and ‘teachers’.”
Haruki was permitted to buy books on credit at the local bookstore, as long as he avoided comic books or trashy weekly magazines, and he became a voracious reader.
Haruki would play Mahjongg almost every day, fool around with girls, spend hours in jazz cafés and cinemas, smoke, skip school, read novels during class, and so forth, but his grades were never terrible.
"The town has deep hold on me; almost all my memories are tied up with the place. Yet the spring I left town to enter university, I let out a sigh of relief from the bottom of my heart,"Haruki said in his novel.
"The road by the river had been one of my favorites. I could walk at the same speed as the river. I could feel it breathing. It was alive. The town belonged to the river from the very beginning, and it would always be the way."
In his novels and essays, Murakami expressed his deep emotional attachment to the sea that was close to him throughout his adolescence years.
Looking back at the early period [in its eighteen year existence] it seems rare to find an example of a group which functioned as well together as did Gutai.
Leave up in-depth analyses of his books and his mentality to critics and scholars, we gonna dig into Miscellaneous topics surrounding Haruki. Does he like to be scrutinized his life and works from every angle? No doubt he doesn’t, but we cannot resist exploring Haruki’s wonder world.