Frontier, Neighborhood: Travel Writing of Haruki Murakami

A collection of travel writings by Haruki Murakami.

His destinations are quite broad. From Nomonhan, Mongolia to some uninhabited island in Japan. From one-month extensive Mexico trip to 3-day Udon (Japanese thick noodle) “eat until you feel like throwing up” trip.

This was my very first Murakami book. Yes, I never even read Norwegian Wood. I know, factually, he is one of the greatest fiction writer ever born in Japan. But now I believe he is also a great travel writer (again, says the guy who never read Norwegian Wood…).

The real gem of this book was the last chapter, “On Travelling Frontier.” Very short essay (seven pages), yet I went back and read again, and again. In this chapter, he explains how he take notes and collect ideas for his writing, how he let his memory simmer until he goes into writing, and how travel writings have been great writing trainings. Very, very educational.

The very last part was just beautiful (apology for my poor translation);

The most important thing of all these is this. Even in times when frontiers were long gone, we should believe that we can create frontiers inside of us. Pursuing that, is exactly called travel. Without those inner-evaluation, even if we go to the corner of the earth, geographically, we won’t find frontier there.

I just can’t help wondering what Christ McCandless will reply to that…

I even feel like I can take my travel experience into next level (Yes, I am that simple). I will try to really look, listen, experience, and take more notes… and maybe, less pictures.