You know, eating's much more important than most people think. There comes a time in your life when you've just got to have something super-delicious. And when you're standing at that crossroads your whole life can change, depending on which one you go into - the good restaurant or the awful one.
Since I'm a novelist I'm the opposite of you - I believe that what's most important is what cannot be measured. I'm not denying your way of thinking, but the greater part of people's lives consist of things that are unmeasurable, and trying to change all these to something measurable is realistically impossible.
For me, running is both exercise and a metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. At least that's why I've put in the effort day after day: to raise my own level. I'm no great runner, by any means. I'm at an ordinary "" or perhaps more like mediocre "" level. But that's not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.
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I don't think jealousy has much of a connection with real, objective conditions. Like if you're fortunate you're not jealous, but if life hasn't blessed you, you are jealous. Jealousy doesn't work that way. It's more like a tumor secretly growing inside us that gets bigger and bigger, beyond all reason. Even if you find out it's there, there's nothing you can do to stop it.
When I open them, most of the books have the smell of an earlier time leaking out between the pages - a special odor of the knowledge and emotions that for ages have been calmly resting between the covers. Breathing it in, I glance through a few pages before returning each book to its shelf.
An expectation was there, mixed in with so many other emotions - excitement, resignation, hesitation, confusion, fear - that would well up then wither on the vine. You're optimistic one moment, only to be racked the next by the certainty that it will all fall to pieces. And in the end it does.
She was a keen observer, a precise user of language, sharp-tongued and funny. She could stir your emotions. Yes, really, that's what she was so good at - stirring people's emotions, moving you. And she knew she had this power...I only realized later. At the time, I had no idea what she was doing to me.
The strength I'm looking for isn't the type where you win or lose. I'm not after a wall that'll repel power coming from outside. What I want us the kind of strength to be able to absorb that kind of power, to stand up to it.The strength to quietly endure things - unfairness, misfortunes, sadness, mistakes, misunderstandings.
There are some things about myself I can't explain to anyone. There are some things I don't understand at all. I can't tell what I think about things or what I'm after. I don't know what my strengths are or what I'm supposed to do about them. But if I start thinking about these things in too much detail the whole thing gets scary. And if I get scared I can only think about myself. I become really self-centered, and without meaning to, I hurt people. So I'm not such a wonderful human being.
And it came to me then. That we were wonderful traveling companions but in the end no more than lonely lumps of metal in their own separate orbits. From far off they look like beautiful shooting stars, but in reality they're nothing more than prisons, where each of us is locked up alone, going nowhere. When the orbits of these two satellites of ours happened to cross paths, we could be together. Maybe even open our hearts to each other. But that was only for the briefest moment. In the next instant we'd be in absolute solitude. Until we burned up and became nothing.
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Oshima's silent for a time as he gazes at the forest, eyes narrowed. Birds are flitting from one branch to the next. His hands are clasped behind his head. "I know how you feel," he finally says. "But this is something you have to work out on your own. Nobody can help you. That's what love's all about, Kafka. You're the one having those wonderful feelings, but you have to go it alone as you wander through the dark. Your mind and body have to bear it all. All by yourself.
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They sat on a park bench, held hands, and told each other their stories hour after hour. They were not lonely anymore. They had found and been found by their 100% perfect other. What a wonderful thing it is to find and be found by your 100% perfect other. It's a miracle, a cosmic miracle.
It is however, difficult to make your narratives relative by yourself. A novelists' work is to provide models to make your narratives relative. If you read my novels then you may feel, "I have the same experience as this narrative", or "I have the same idea as this novel". It means that your narrative and mine sympathize, concord and resonate together.
Instead of things I'm good at, it might be faster to list the things I can't do. I can't cook or clean the house. My room's a mess, and I'm always losing things. I love music, but I can't sing a note. I'm clumsy and can barely sew a stitch. My sense of direction is the pits, and I can't tell left from right half the time. When I get angry, I tend to break things. Plates and pencils, alarm clocks. Later on I regret it, but at the time I can't help myself. I have no money in the bank. I'm bashful for no reason, and I have hardly any friends to speak of.
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Then she took my hand and touched it to the wound beside her eye. I caressed the half-inch scar. As I did so, the waves of her consciousness pulsed through my fingertips and into me - a delicate resonance of longing. Probably someone should take this girl in his arms and hold her tight, I thought. Probably someone other than me. Someone qualified to give her something. "Goodbye, Mr. Wind-Up Bird. See you again sometime.
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Sitting on the floor, I'd replay the past in my head. Funny, that's all I did, day after day after day for half a year, and I never tired of it. What I'd been through seemed so vast, with so many facets. Vast, but real, very real, which was why the experience persisted in towering before me, like a monument lit up at night. And the thing was, it was a monument to me.