James Seo


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Haruki Murakami, MIT, 10.6.2005

October 10, 2005 at 03:06 PM | Link

Update 12.13.2005: All recordings have been removed. Apologies to Haruki Murakami.

Haruki Murakami, MIT, 10.6.2005

Haruki Murakami, one of my favorite writers, came to MIT for a rare reading followed by a Q&A session.

I arrived an hour early at the 10-250 lecture hall and grabbed good seats up front near the lectern. As time passed, the hall filled to capacity and beyond, to the point where there was not even standing room anywhere on the stairs and aisles. Eventually, citing fire code violations, the campus police kicked out everyone who did not have a proper seat. It took a long time for the unfortunately seatless fans to make their disgruntled exit, before the event could get started.

Wearing a sweet green t-shirt that proclaimed "PICKLE", Murakami began by telling a few stories to the delight of the crowd. He then read a little bit of the short story Super-Frog Saves Tokyo in both Japanese and English, before letting a host from MIT (a literature professor?) finish reading the story. Murakami reappeared to answer questions from the audience.

It was a very warm and friendly appearance. I had been to a Murakami reading once before, many years ago in Palo Alto, where he puzzled the crowd by not reading anything himself but having a staff member of the bookstore read a passage. Perhaps he was not yet comfortable reading an English translation, but then again, even back then he answered questions in English just fine. This time around, he seemed very much at ease.


Great post, James - I wish I could have been there! Instead I went to a Helene Cixous lecture on the same day at Penn (I did name my blog after some thoughts of hers after all) which was good in a labyrinthine sort of way. She spoke on "the unforeseeable." Kinda wonder how the audience would have responded differently if she had shown up wearing a green pickle t-shirt.

Sayumi | Oct 10, 2005 10:14:12 PM

thanks for posting this ... good call on filming it.

j | Oct 11, 2005 2:10:44 AM

Ah ha! Here it is...I knew you wouldn't let me down! You are a true Jedi Master!

Alejandro | Oct 11, 2005 4:58:47 AM

Thanks for sharing. The videos make my day. It's my first time to watch Haruki Murakami in video! :)

dt | Oct 11, 2005 11:36:06 PM

Cool. And doubley cool that one of my favourite music blogs linked you:

thomas | Oct 12, 2005 12:05:09 PM

I haven't gotten around to watching any of the videos yet but thank you so much for posting them! I'm so happy.

Liz | Oct 19, 2005 2:02:05 AM

Wonderful entry. You're right about him seeming very at ease. I've never seen him read, but he was so warm and funny--it really made the events leading up to the reading moot. I only wish he would have spoke some more since he seemed uncomfortable reading, or maybe some more questions, too? Maybe the reading at Harvard will be different.

Shaxxon | Oct 21, 2005 2:06:29 PM

Wow, thats nice, I wish I could have been there! I am a great fan of Murakami..and doubt he is ever going to make it to India!

apu | Oct 22, 2005 10:02:19 AM

if you filmed this yourself, i have to say that you ruined the best moment of my tragically short life. i'm sorry you had to listen to me talk for more than five seconds. enjoy being better than everyone else.

jen | Oct 22, 2005 5:49:52 PM

this Murakami fan thanks you for this post! i wonderhow i can find out any other appearances he'll be making! i'd gladly have flown to Boston from San Francisco to see him!

C(h)ristine | Oct 23, 2005 9:18:41 PM

Sayumi - I think a green pickle t-shirt immediately improves any talk or presentation by threefold.

Shaxxon - I agree - it would have been fine by me if he had read just the short excerpts and then moved right away onto discussion.

jen - if you're who I think you are, just remember: the event was about him and not you. Enjoy the videos.

C(h)ristine - he read in Palo Alto (albeit many years ago) so I'd keep my eyes on Bay Area event listings.

James | Oct 23, 2005 10:28:55 PM

oh snap james. poor jen seems a bit melodramatic. hope your bandwidth is doing OK after all my troublesome lj posting :)

eoin | Oct 24, 2005 1:37:47 AM

No problem - server is still going strong!

James | Oct 26, 2005 11:21:06 AM

This is the first time to see him speaking in public for me. I couldn't make this event, so I'm very happy that you poseted the movie clips!! I enjoyed watching him how he was witty! Thanks sooooo much!!

elsur | Nov 2, 2005 8:20:08 PM

I'm very luckey to read this blog.

I'm japanese and his readers in Japan would be very interested in your blog.

Thanks for your sharing!

Golden Monkey | Dec 4, 2005 2:33:46 AM

I'm Haruki's reader and Golden Monkey's weblog friend.

I'm very luckey to read this blog,too.

Thank you James.

Okada | Dec 6, 2005 4:06:32 AM

Wow, what a lucky me to find this page. I am his fan, too. Thanks a lot!

Heidi | Dec 14, 2005 4:46:40 AM

I'm Paul from Canada, a retired Author. I've only been at this about 4
months now, and I've hit the ground running. I'm only really getting around
to visiting all the forums now. I still have a lot to learn but I'm getting

All the best,


goomuloo | Apr 1, 2008 7:17:58 AM

I am envious of Ameriacans.
because,Haruki Murakami never perform such ivents in Japan.

you Americans are very much lucky.

japanese | Dec 1, 2008 6:33:31 PM

Tons of envy currently being sent your way as we speak. Sounds like it was a wondrous occasion.

I'm hoping he suddenly decides to come to London sometime soon

Abbas | Jan 6, 2009 12:44:27 PM

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