A Haruki Murakami–Led Tour of Japan Goes Just As You’d Want It To

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A picture taken on October 30, 2006 shows Japanese writer Haruki Murakami during a ceremony where he received the 2006 Franz Kafka Award in Prague. Murakami, the acclaimed Japanese writer, has won the 2009 Jerusalem Prize, Israel's highest literary honour for foreign writers. The 60-year-old accepted the Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society from Israeli President Shimon Peres at the opening of the international book fair in the Holy City on February 15, 2009. AFP PHOTO/MICHAL CIZEK (Photo credit should read MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: MICHAL CIZEK/2009 AFP

In anticipation of 1Q84's English translation, due next week, Sam Anderson spent a few days in Japan with the revered novelist, visiting his office, his seaside home, and many of the Tokyo landmarks that fill his books. The entire profile is excellent and worth your time, both for the literary insights and for Anderson's attempts to reconcile the Tokyo of Murakami with the actual, highly confusing Tokyo. ("Finally Murakami’s assistant Yuki had to come and find me, sitting on a bench in front of a honeycombed-glass pyramid that looked, in my time of despair, like the sinister temple of some death-cult of total efficiency.") Murakami also plays tour guide, driving Anderson around Tokyo, attempting to point out the locations that inspired the opening lines of 1Q84, and taking him on a run — up a giant hill. There's even a picture of Murakami "looking miserable" while finishing his fastest-ever marathon. Consider the article a warm-up to the 932 pages of 1Q84 and get reading. It's great stuff. [NYTM]