400 short stories: story 304

story: “On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One April Morning”

author: Haruki Murakami

year: between 1980 and 1991

where: kitchen table, Abu Dhabi

note: I’m unsure about the capitalization of that title. What I like about this story is that many people might find themselves in the initial situation. And I like that it doesn’t matter if you believe in love at first sight or not; the situation can exist either way.

a line: “This was something sure to be crammed full of warm secrets, like an antique clock build when peace filled the world.”

theme(s): Serendipity, true love, memory

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300 short stories: story 292

story: “The Grasshopper and The Bell Cricket”

author: Yasunari Kawabata

year: 1980s (?)

where: bedroom, Abu Dhabi

note: Kawabata was the first Japanese person to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968.

a line:  “Even if they remembered forever that Fujio had given her the cricket and Kiyoko had accepted it, not even in dreams would Fujio ever know that his name had been written in green on Kiyoko’s breast or that Kiyoko’s name had been inscribed in red on his waist, nor would Kiyoko ever know that Fujio’s name had been inscribed in green on her breast or that her own name had been written in red on Fujio’s waist.”

theme(s): Individuality

300 short stories:: story 210

story: “An Exotic Marriage”

author: Yukiko Motoya

year: 2018 (English translation)

where: Train in Japan, Kyoto to Hiroshima

note: This story was actually a novella, not much shorter than The Great Gatsby 

a line: “The wife explained that it had all started with the stones in the flower dish she’d put by their bedside. ‘They’d get to look so much like him, and I had to keep swapping them out.’”

theme(s): transformations, marriage, partner knowledge

300 short stories:: story 189

story: “Man-eating Cats”

author: Haruki Murakami

year: 2006

where: in palestra

note: a reread, a favorite, a fantasy!

a line: “The wind was the wind at the edge of the world. An inescapable retro color filled the place. It made me feel as if I were being quietly swallowed up by an alien reality, something foreign and just out of reach, vague yet strangely gentle. And the shadow of that substance colored the faces, the eyes, the skin of the people gathered in the harbor.”

300 short stories:: story 186

story: “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman”

author: Haruki Murakami

year: 2006

where: midday and golden

note: I love Murakami’s introduction to this collection. He writes, “My short stories are like soft shadows I’ve set out in the world, faint footprints I’ve left behind.”

a line: “My cousin lived nearby, but I was just over a decade older than him and we had never been what you’d call close.”