Murakami San

I am listening now to the official soundtrack of PERHAPS LOVE, playing on my trusted Marantz CD 6000 OSE Limited Edition CD player on a Marantz PM 6100 SA Integrated Amplifier with an Audio Pro bookshelf speakers. I put on the PERHAPS LOVE soundtrack after listening to Kyung Hwa Chung’s rendition of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor (Decca, Charles Dutoit conducting the Montreal Symphony Orchestra). Out of the blue, I thought of the PERHAPS LOVE soundtrack, a movie that I love and a soundtrack that was played repeatedly in my car audio system some time ago.

While Mendelssohn’s violin concerto is a really superb piece of work, sometimes, it takes a simple song with simple lyrics to take care of some of the heart’s feelings. As I was listening to it, I think of friends, Dominique Hee, who knew about my passion for PERHAPS LOVE, made it a point to give me as a gift the Special Deluxe Edition of the Official Soundtrack that also came with a beautiful photo album and a set of postcards. Also, as I was looking again at my trusted audio system, I remembered how my friend Joseph Loh, who is himself a crazy audiophile, took my hands and went to shops in Sungai Wang and helped me get a good and affordable system, and since he is also a reviewer for The Star in the audiophile section, perhaps his presence do have an effect on the price I paid for the system.

As I was litening to the violin concerto just now, I was also finishing Haruki Murakami’s memoir, WHAT I TALK ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUNNING. I have been trying to get hold of the book for quite some time after knowing that the English edition is already out. However, the usual bookshops that I went to didn’t seem to have stock but how lucky was I to go to Pavilion that day and went into the TImes bookshop and found a copy. I really enjoyed the book and reading it, inspired me to do something myself. It is more than a book about running, but more so on how running affects one’s life, thoughts, self-understanding and world-view.

It can perhaps be looked at and compared with Miyamoto Msushi’s THE BOOK OF FIVE RINGS. Well, maybe not as hard-core, but I find a bit of similarity there and reading Murakami’s memoir, reminds me of the BOOK OF FIVE RINGS, how one should be disciplined, how one should perfect his/her craft, the physical and psychological barriers and its overcoming, the detailed, dry and dirty training that one has to undergo and practice over and over and over again until it is second nature. Nothing in life comes easy and a lot of hard work needs to be put in, no matter how talented you are, no matter if you are a genius or not.

I love Sunday mornings by myself. I try to wake up early in the morning (that is if I don’t have a Saturday poker night) and my routine would be to freshen up, check for mails and then go out to the restaurant and have a bowl of my favourite prawn noodles and iced nescafe, enjoying the Sunday papers as I eat. After the breakfast, I will come home and do a bit of housework, fill up the water, do some laundry, clean up the mess a bit, etc. while listening to music. Then I will settle down on the sofa to read a book and enjoy the early fresh and cool air blowing through the balcony door. I read until I feel like stopping and then I do whatever else I like for the day, maybe watching a DVD or studying Go or just lay around doing nothing. It is really enjoyable.

Sometimes I wonder if I should really go out more often, perhaps go hiking or running a marathon or something more physical. I really think that this will be good for me. I think I should do that. I used to go to the gym on weekends but have stopped going to the gym now, which I think is a mistake. I enjoyed my gym time a lot, my normal routine will be going on the treadmill for about an hour, then play with the weights for another hour, do some stretching etc. and then go to the sauna room for a good sweating session. I remember that no matter how tired I was before going to the gym, after going through the routine, I feel the more fresh and energetic, with all my previous fatigue gone. I even feel happy for whatever reasons. The hormones are definitely at work.

Perhaps William James is really right. I really believe it the moment I read it back in 1992. He said, “We do not run because we are afraid, we are afraid because we run.” Something like that. I always think about this when I don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning for work or do something that my feelings tell me that it hates but the brains tells me that I should do. As Murakami san would say, it is good to feel pain. When you feel pain, the muscles ruptures and heals itself, and becomes stronger after that.

“….the toughest part of a marathon comes after twenty-two miles”.

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