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Happy Birthday, Jovan! (Jan 9)

Birthday Honour: Excerpt from The Guardian, Saturday January 10, 2004. Haruki Murakami reveals his surprise at discovering that his private celebration, shared with Jack London, had become a public event.

These days when I drive my car I put silver-coloured CDs by Radiohead or Blur into the stereo. That's the kind of thing that shows me the years are passing. And now I find myself living in the 21st century. Whether or not the person I think of as me undergoes any essential changes, the earth never stops circling the sun at the same old speed....

I have had one very strange birthday experience - though it was strange only for me, personally.

Early one birthday morning I was listening to the radio in the kitchen of my Tokyo apartment. I usually get up early to work. I wake between four and five in the morning, make myself some coffee (my wife is still sleeping), eat a slice of toast and go to my study to begin writing. While I prepare my breakfast, I usually listen to the radio news - not by choice (there's not a lot worth hearing), but because there's not much else to do at such an early hour. That morning, as I waited for my water to boil, the newsreader was announcing a list of public events planned for the day, with details of when and where they were happening. For example, the emperor was going to plant a ceremonial tree, or a large British passenger ship was due to dock in Yokohama, or events would be taking place throughout the country in honour of this being official chewing-gum day (I know it sounds ludicrous but I am not making it up: there really is such a day). - full text

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Best described as a Murakami detox support group, we're all fans of the quirkily brilliant Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, and writing about such things as films we've seen recently and books we're reading (not to mention meandering musings on the man's work, of course) helps us to pass time while waiting for the next book from Haruki-baby.

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