Weekend 312.0 (Le mal du pays)

Train crossing between mountains.A couple of days off from work (a much needed extra long Labor Day Weekend) so I’m doing some housekeeping, biking, and drinking gratuitous amounts of coffee. I also finished Murkami’s book less than twenty-four hours after it arrived.

(1) A quote from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

“The only real interest he had was train stations. He wasn’t sure why, but for as long as he could remember, he had loved to observe train stations—they had always appealed to him. Huge bullet-train stations; tiny, one-track stations out in the countryside; rudimentary freight-collection stations—it didn’t matter what kind because as long as it was a railway station, he loved it. Everything about stations moved him deeply.

Like most little boys he enjoyed assembling model trains, but what really fascinated him weren’t the elaborate locomotives or cars, or the cleverly designed dioramas. No, it was the models of ordinary stations set down among the other parts, like an afterthought. He loved to watch as the trains passed by the station, or slowed down as they pulled up to the platform. He could picture the passengers coming and going, the announcements on the speaker system, the ringing of the signal as a train was about the depart, the station employees briskly going about their duties. What was real and what was imaginary mingled in his mind, and he’d tremble sometimes with the excitement of it all. But he could never adequately explain to people why he was so attracted to the stations. Even if he could, he knew they would think he was one weird kid. And sometimes Tsukuru himself wondered if something wasn’t exactly right with him.”

(1a) Le mal du pays – The groundless sadness called forth in a person’s heart by a pastoral landscape. Homesickness. Melancholy.

(1b) Hearts Linked by Pain: The plainness of Murakami’s writing accentuates a story of finding things to live for after traumatic loss. (WSJ)

(1c) Haruki Murakami Bingo

(2) An excerpt from The Bermudian by Nathaniel Tucker:

The guava flourishes, the myrtle grows,
Upon the surface earth-born woodbines creep,
O’er the green beds the painted ‘sturtians peep,
Their arms aloft triumphant lilacs bear,
And jessamines perfume the ambient air.
The whole is from an eminence display’d,
Where the brown olive lends his pensive shade.
When zephyrs there the noon-tide heat asswage,
Oft have I turn’d the meditative page,
And calmly read the ling’ring hours away,
Securely shelter’d from the blaze of day.

(3) Oh, Come On. Marigolds? Seriously? (WSJ)

(4) Francis Ford Coppola Talks Travel (WSJ)

What makes a hotel great is: sort of like what makes a great wine; it’s much more than the fruit you drink, and the bottle and the label. It’s the story connected to it; the context and the history. A hotel is made great by the guests who stayed there 100 years ago, and all the detail and personality that developed over that time.”

(5) Eurailing Around Europe—As an Adult (WSJ)

*Train crossing between mountains. Scan is from The Art of the Wind Rises: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki.

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