Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

He never met anyone he felt like getting to know better, so he spent most of his time in Tokyo alone. On the plus side, he read constantly, more than he ever had before.

You can hide memories, but you can’t erase the history that produced them.

There are certain thoughts that, no matter what, you have to keep inside.

Jealousy—at least as far as he understood it from his dream—was the most hopeless prison in the world. Jealousy was not a place he was forced into by someone else, but a jail in which the inmate entered voluntarily, locked the door, and threw away the key. And not another soul in the world knew he was locked inside

This might sound rude, but I think it’s an amazing achievement to find even one specific thing that you’re interested in.

I don’t have any set, clear goal like you. I just want to think deeply about things. Contemplate ideas in a pure, free sort of way. That’s all.

“The cook hates the waiter, and they both hate the customer,” Haida said. “A line from the Arnold Wesker play The Kitchen. People whose freedom is taken away always end up hating somebody. Right? I know I don’t want to live like that.”

“Everything has boundaries. The same holds true with thought. You shouldn’t fear boundaries, but you also should not be afraid of destroying them. That’s what is most important if you want to be free: respect for and exasperation with boundaries. What’s really important in life is always the things that are secondary. That’s about all I can say.”

Something must be fundamentally wrong with me, Tsukuru often thought. Something must be blocking the normal flow of emotions, warping my personality. But Tsukuru couldn’t tell whether this blockage came about when he was rejected by his four friends, or whether it was something innate, a structural issue unrelated to the trauma he’d gone through.

The world isn’t that easily turned upside down, Haida replied. It’s people who are turned upside down.

Apart from whether I like it or not, I don’t reject thinking about things that aren’t logical. It’s not like I have some deep faith in logic. I think it’s important to find the point of intersection between what is logical and what is not.

You need to use the thread of logic, as best you can, to skillfully sew onto yourself everything that’s worth living for.

“I understand, but maybe it only appears, from the outside, that the wound is closed.” Sara gazed into his eyes and spoke quietly. “Maybe inside the wound, under the scab, the blood is still silently flowing. Haven’t you ever thought that?”

Haida liked looking things up at the library. Generally this meant I want to be alone for a while.

Basically a quick, impromptu brainwashing course to educate your typical corporate warriors. They use a training manual instead of sacred scriptures, with promotion and a high salary as their equivalent of enlightenment and paradise. A new religion for a pragmatic age. No transcendent elements like in a religion, though, and everything is theorized and digitalized. Very transparent and easy to grasp. And quite a few people get positive encouragement from this. But the fact remains that it’s nothing more than an infusion of the hypnotic into a system of thought that suits their goal, a conglomeration of only those theories and statistics that line up with their ultimate objectives.

And no matter how close we once were, and how much we opened up to each other, maybe neither of us knew anything substantial about the other.

But it would take a while for his mind to catch up to reality. It was nobody’s fault.

“But I work for a company, so I can’t just do what I like. There are all kinds of boring things I have to do.”

One other thing I learned from working in a company was that the majority of people in the world have no problem following orders. They’re actually happy to be told what to do. They might complain, but that’s not how they really feel. They just grumble out of habit. If you told them to think for themselves, and make their own decisions and take responsibility for them, they’d be clueless. So I decided I could turn that into a business.

Take your time. I can wait, Sara had said. But things weren’t that simple. People are in constant motion, never stationary.

Still, being able to feel pain was good, he thought. It’s when you can’t even feel any pain anymore that you’re in real trouble.

Some things in life are too complicated to explain in any language.

And in that moment, he was finally able to accept it all. In the deepest recesses of his soul, Tsukuru Tazaki understood. One heart is not connected to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the root of true harmony.

I survived the crisis. Swam through the night sea on my own. Each of us did what we had to do, in order to survive. I get the feeling that, even if we had made different decisions then, even if we had chosen to do things differently, we might have still ended up pretty much where we are now.

Everyone alive has a personality. It’s just more obvious with some people than with others.

No matter how honestly you open up to someone, there are still things you cannot reveal.

It’s just that it’s hard to survive in the real world.

We survived. You and I. And those who survive have a duty. Our duty is to do our best to keep on living. Even if our lives are not perfect.

There are some things women don’t want other people to see.

Don’t let the bad elves get you.

That amazing time in our lives is gone, and will never return. All the beautiful possibilities we had then have been swallowed up in the flow of time.

You don’t lack anything. Be confident and be bold. That’s all you need. Never let fear and stupid pride make you lose someone who’s precious to you.

But months passed, and contrary to his expectation, his heart didn’t stop. The heart apparently doesn’t stop that easily.

Sara said she has feelings for me. He had no reason to doubt it. But there are countless things in the world for which affection is not enough. Life is long, and sometimes cruel. Sometimes victims are needed. Someone has to take on that role.

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