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Let’s Meet in a Dream: “Interview” by Haruki Murakami

January 19, 2010

“Interview” is a short-short from Haruki Murakami and Shigesato Itoi’s 1981 strange collaborative story collection, Let’s Meet in a Dream.

May 12
Shiseido Parlor in La Foret Hotel, Shinjuku

A young female interviewer arrives thirty minutes late for her appointment.

“Okay, so first of all, Mr. Murakami, I’d like to ask about what kinds of things you eat every day. Starting with the morning.”

“Well, in the morning—”

“Oh, dear, forgive me. I forgot to turn up the volume on the tape. Okay, sorry, go on.”

“In the morning, I have vegetables—”

“Oh, wait! What time do you wake up in the morning?”

“Five o’clock. And then—”

“Five! Five in the morning?”

“Aren’t we talking about the morning?”

“Well, yeah, but… what are you doing up at five in the morning?”

“I run. It’s not like I’m out snatching underwear off clotheslines.”

“Ah, haha! Well, what time do you go to bed at night?”

“Nine thirty or ten. But I thought we were talking about meals. I’m sorry, but I don’t have much time left after being stood up earlier.”

“Oh, yeah, sorry ‘bout that.”

“I eat breakfast after my jog, so around six o’clock. I have a bowl of vegetables over rice, a bread roll, and a fried egg with two cups of coffee.”

“How healthy.”

“Vegetables are pretty cheap where I live.”

(Waiter comes and places coffees on the table with a few noisy clinks.)

“And then the day seems to just roll right into lunch before you know it.”

“I guess.”

“What do you have at lunch time?”

“At lunch I usually—hey, the tape’s not moving.”

“Ahh—ah, ahh! You’re right. Shoot! What happened?”

Rattle, rattle, rattle.

“It’s not turned on. Look, it’s set to OFF.”

“Oh, I thought I turned it on.”

“You want me to talk one more time?”

“No, it’s all right. I’ll remember it just fine. You wake up at five, jog, eat a salad on rice and a bread roll and ham and eggs.”

“Fried egg.”

“Right, fried egg.”

“With two cups of coffee.”

“Two cups of coffee.”

“You can remember that?”

“No problem. I have a great memory.”


Mr. Murakami wakes up really early. He gets up at five and goes jogging. “Ha, ha—It makes me look like some kind of panty thief!” Murakami stated with a blush. His meals consist of salad, ham and eggs, and, of course, two cans of beer—

From → Fiction, Translation

  1. Hahah, great. But where did you get this? I tried searching for this book because Shigesato’s wikipedia article mentions it, but seemed to be just a rumor in the end.

  2. Lindsay permalink

    Heh, thanks. Yeah, I recommend it for people who are fans of both guys, but I see that one of the reviews is like, Murakami rules, Itoi is a hack!
    I’m interested in looking into this more because apparently there is some movement of people who claim Itoi is far overrated.

    • Well “Coin” was pretty much the best thing I’ve ever read, and the MOTHER series is the greatest game trilogy in existence. So, I love Itoi–hands down. Maybe he just gets a bad wrap because of commercial ties, although Murakami is very commercial himself especially within his writing.

      Murakami is great though, “Straight” was hilarious. “The Second Bakery Attack” from his separate short-story collection, is another favorite of mine.

      • Lindsay permalink

        It’s not that Itoi gets a bad rap for his commercial ties, though, because a large reason he became famous as a copywriter in the first place is because of the immense love and respect Japanese had for commercialism during the height of the Bubble Economy.

        I think people are turned off by him in the same way many people are turned off by artists whose style relies on being as simple as possible. A man might chastise an artist for painting a canvas with nothing but red paint, but another man might stop and admire how it was the first time an artist was making such a style into an actual movement.

        In the same way, I think, Itoi paved the way with infamous tag lines as simple as “Yoroshiku.” And some people can’t swallow that such simplicity launched him to stardom.

        Of course, this is just an initial speculation of mine before I actually make the time to research it properly.

  3. Hmm, sounds like how Alfred Hitchcock is criticized for having exceedingly simple story lines and ‘childlike’ components in his films (which rely on a kind of unconscious recognition to pull viewers into the fray). “North by Northwest” is pretty much THE example to go to in this case. The inclusion of Mt. Rushmore, simple color schemes, clear protagonist/antagonist, male/female roles, and costumes/actions for characters that seem ‘stereotypical’ but which are (to believers) operating on a quasi-psychic subconscious level.

    I have to disagree with those taking the view that Itoi and Hitchcock are hacks for being simple (and those saying it’s a negative–especially), for in my mind achieving true simplicity is a much more complex process than making something convoluted (“Inception,” *cough*). In a large part, this is essentially what a lot of Japanese culture is about (Zen). Also, Haruki Murakami is known to be an economic (minimalist) writer (especially in his later works), perhaps that’s how these two great minds connected so well.

    When I was at UCLA I studied under the late Michael F. Marra. He hammered into each of his students the Japanese Philosophy of Nothingness. Forgive my long-winded comment but I’ve suddenly got a wealth of interesting (I hope) stuff to say! The Philosophy of Nothingness was started by Kitaro Nishida and was an attempt to stand-up for the Japanese philosophical intellect. At the time (pre-WW2) the Western part of the world criticized Japan as being a country of buffoons for not having a philosophy and not contributing to the philosophical knowledge that was flourishing at the time.

    Western scholars wrongfully thought that Japanese people’s practice of Zen meant they did not think, and that they did not have philosophical thoughts, that they were stupid. Kitaro Nishida saw this propagating misguided insult to his people and so dissected the Zen process philosophically and intellectually in his book Zen no Kenkyuu. He separated it very well and very pragmatically, anyone who has tried Zen meditation–can understand his teachings and recognizes the hard work, thought, and beginner’s mind involved. Essentially all of Western philosophy stems from “Why is there something, instead of nothing?” and Kitaro Nishida realized that the question behind Japan’s philosophy is “Why is there nothing, instead of something?” How it’s suppose to work is that, when you realize that there is nothing, then you can actually see something.

    Haha, hope I didn’t bore you, and hope I supported Itoi!

    Robert Shane Ellis

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Haruki Murakami and Shigesato Itoi: Let’s Meet in a Dream (Yume de Aimashou) | Lindsay Nelson
  2. Haruki Murakami and Shigesato Itoi: Let’s Meet in a Dream (Yume de Aimashou) « Yomuka!

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