This is the first Japanese literature I read. After Edogawa Ranpo, actually. But never mind because they are way to different. I read the Jay Rubin’s version of translation (That’s right! I read the English version and wonder is there any Indonesian version?) and find it quite easy to understand. I can finish it in three days in my busiest time.
Why? Because the words are flowing like the river. Think of a Japan’s small beautiful river in autumn. Really like that.
So, we go to the story itself. It is about a first year student, Watanabe Toru, who lived in a dormitory. No, it’s a bad opening line to introduce. But really, it begins with Toru’s daily life as a college student. The story took setting in around 1968 to 1970, where the revolution was a major issue in Tokyo, or the entire Japan, I don’t know. He got a roommate called Storm Trooper, who was a cleanliness freak.
Later, this Storm Trooper became the most topic Toru always told Naoko when they were out for some walks. Naoko was Toru’s old friend with Kizuki. Naoko was also Kizuki’s lover since very young. And Kizuki was dead.
That’s actually the big conflict. The Kizuki’s death. It’s being said that he committed suicide. That surely slapped Toru and Naoko so hard in the face. Toru has no other friend but Kizuki (and his girlfriend Naoko) and now he lived the life of a recluse. Or I can say like that. Because he enjoyed being lonely so much.
But there was a guy named Nagasawa who once asked him to get a night out, drink, pick up the girls to sleep with, and forget them all next morning. Nagasawa was a tough guy, I think. I don’t like him, but can’t skip his existance just like that. However, he gave big influence to Toru’s life in the dorm. At least in the beginning.
And everything changed in Naoko twentieth birthday. It was the first time Toru expressed his feeling to Naoko and felt her body (and that soon always lingered in his head). After that she’s gone, leaving an emptiness for Toru.
The one who then consoled him was Kobayashi Midori, his college mate. Different from the thoughtful Naoko, Midori was an impulsive girl and Toru liked her just like that. Midori gave the new color to Toru’s life, the colorful one, because she never stopped wondering. Sometimes her questions were just the nasty ones, but after that came the toughtful one. She hated her club, her boyfriend, even her father. The one she liked just Toru.
Oh, and then came a letter from Naoko, explaining her current condition and location. She now lived in a sanatory called Ami Hostel at Kyoto. A wonderful place to live in. I wonder is Ami Hostel really exist? I want to live there eventhough I got to be a crazy person.
When visiting Naoko, Toru met her roommate, an adult woman named Reiko. I like her the most. She once a concert pianist-to-be, but a strange psychology illness destroyed her dream. I love her past story, I love the way she talked, I love her joke, I love her style, too. Maybe I also have a mental illness like her.
And now that Toru’s life devided into two: Naoko and Midori. Inside and outside world. Of course all he wanted was to be by Naoko’s side. But on the other hand, Midori said:
“I’m a real, live girl, with real, live blood gushing through my veins. You’re holding me in your arms and I’m telling you that I love you.”
Toru couldn’t just decide, because he loved Naoko so deeply but at the same time he knew that Naoko didn’t love him. She was still into Kizuki.
So which one Toru choose in the end? The serene beauty of Naoko or the roller-coaster life of Midori?
The answer is…
Hahaha. Kidding. Just read it, guys. I bet it’s a good read, the alluring one, at least.
I give it three stars over all. I can’t tell you why. Just wanna give it three stars.