Passionate Longing for Dialogue (1): Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

tsukurucover and board togethermurakami

I am starting a new series on my blog which will consist of conversations regarding books, films and potentially other soulful topics of interest. I am calling the series “Passionate Longing for Dialogue,” which is a quote from Martin Buber’s I and Thou. The following is my exchange with Gray of about the new novel by Haruki Murakami. I met Gray through blogging on wordpress and we understood immediately that we have a strong mercurial connection and that our thought processes resonate with each other very deeply.


Monika: Murakami has been one of my favorite novelists for a long time now, so I try not to miss any of his novels. The most recent one, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, really enchanted me. I finished it in just four days, I think. I love everything about his writing: the meditative sentences and the fathomless depths he goes into. In an interview for “The Guardian” that I have read recently, Murakami said:

“I’d like to be a perfect tinker. So I have to write good sentences – honest and beautiful and elegant and strong sentences.”

First of all, I am captivated by his style and imagery. I sometimes sit and meditate on individual sentences that he wrote because they convey so much depth and can be so tenderly beautiful at the same time. I think the English translator did a good job with the book, as far as I can tell without knowing any Japanese. Another aspect of Murakami’s writing I strongly relate to is its dreamlike quality. To write like this, one has to descend deep into the unconscious (as he says in the interview, “You have to be strong to descend into the darkness of your mind.”). You can really feel the depth of his thought and how he is able to bring back to the light the fruits of his encounters with the imaginary figures of his unconscious mind. What you get from him as a reader is an exhilarated feeling of the vastness of the Self, the deep conviction that the human psyche has no spatial or temporal limits; yet at the same time all his stories are firmly rooted in the here and now: he can be obsessive in describing daily chores, etc. One of the novels by him that I really loved was Kafka on the Shore, where one of the characters says:

“Narrow minds devoid of imagination. Intolerance, theories cut off from reality, empty terminology, usurped ideals, inflexible systems. Those are the things that really frighten me. What I absolutely fear and loathe.”

If you agree with this, you will like Murakami, I think. It takes a special kind of imagination and sensitivity to get his writing and its introverted charm. Also, I think that each novel has a sound spiritual message.

About Colorless Tsukuru, compared to his other works, this one lacks Byzantine adornments and mad encounters with talking cats, but it is still profound and honest in exploring the inner workings of an individual soul. The colorless protagonist is a brilliant idea, I think. In the first part of the novel we read: “He set up a tiny place to dwell, all by himself, on the rim of a dark abyss.” That sentence I think is a very strong carrier of the theme of the book, which for me is an encounter with the void. And this place, the void, turned out to be “a place of strange abundance” for him. Even though the book is minimalist, there is abundance in it, I think.



Gray: Colorless Tsukuru is the first novel I have read by Haruki Murakami, yet in one book he has become one of my all-time favorite writers. For me this is a book that arrived at the perfect time in my life, a work whose themes penetrated into the subterranean realm of my mind. It has already become one of my favorite books ever, and I am not sure if I have ever had so much delight in reading a novel.  The joy Murakami brings to me is indeed in his immaculate sentences full of deep contemplation, written with awareness of the space between words and the space between characters.  I agree that he reveals the expanse of Self, and our soul unbound by temporal or spatial limitations.  As you said, the magic is that he does all this through attention to the details of everyday life.  A decision to order an espresso and sit on a bench leads to a journey into the deepest recesses of consciousness.

Tsukuru’s name in Japanese means “to make,” and though he is an engineer involved in the design of train stations, he spends much of his time making himself empty in the beginning of the book, clinging to his daily routines and tasks “like a person in a storm desperately grasping at a lamppost” (p. 4). Yet in this “dark, stagnant void” he sleepwalks through with a blank mind (p. 4), he finds the very source of his own regeneration, a place from which he falls like a star burning, burning with desire for the character of Sara Kimoto.

Death, thoughts of death and suicide, emerge in the very first sentence of this story and linger.  Murakami etched into my mind with every sentence the necessity of death and emptiness in the process of finding true love; in sharp relief he revealed that to open to the divine of the Other we desire with full presence and possession, we must have done the work of facing and staying present with our past wounds of relationship lurking in our unconscious until we have bled them to death. Murakami teaches that it takes courage, confidence, and boldness to do this work of psyche, turning the work of facing the deepest recesses of one’s soul into a hero’s journey.  Yet instead of action sequences and attacks from monsters to hold back, the characters mostly sit and talk, sit in silence, and listen to music. Still, there are nonetheless terrors to be found in the unconscious of these characters, like dragons awakening from slumber in the caves of their mind.

Tsukuru found himself on the edge of a “huge, dark abyss that ran straight through to the earth’s core” (p. 5), because he had been abandoned, cut off from a close-knit group of friends.  Five friends,  a fifth harmonic of human interaction that contained within the alchemical mix of personalities a Venusian sense of harmony.  These four friends each have a name that is a color in Japanese:   two males, Aka (red) and Ao (blue), and two females, Shiro (white) and Kuro (black). Tsukuru is the only one of the five friends whose name is “colorless,” and in line with this symbol he feels a lack of color, lack of distinction, lack of Self.  The Mystery of the story that initiates Tsukuru into a pilgrimage not unlike a path of individuation in a Jungian sense, is why his friends chose to cut him out of their life.


M: It is precisely because Tsukuru lacks the “outside color” that allows him to have a rich inner life of deep, passionate emotions. This character’s intensity is extraordinary. If you just focus on the appearances then yes – you might say his persona is not spectacular – but he is far from “middling, palling, lacking in color” if we look at his inner life. I appreciate his quiet perfectionism and his earnest approach to the quest that Sara sends him on. This hero does not say no to a call to adventure. I particularly love how Murakami described Sara’s effect on Tsukuru:

“He wasn’t normally conscious of it, but there was one part of his body that was extremely sensitive, somewhere along his back. This soft, subtle spot he couldn’t reach was usually covered by something, so that it was invisible to the naked eye. But when, for whatever reason, that spot became exposed and someone’s finger pressed down on it, something inside him would stir. A special substance would be secreted, swiftly carried by his bloodstream to every corner of his body. That special stimulus was both a physical sensation and a mental one, creating vivid images in his mind.

The first time he met Sara, he felt an anonymous finger reach out and push down forcefully on that trigger on his back.”

In the meantime, I am also reading a book about the history of the notion of Genius and I am starting to believe that Tsukuru is the Genius that our times need: an individual who bravely faces his own shadow and past woundings, works through his pain and emotional turmoil, being brutally honest with himself in the process in order to undergo a transformation. Vulnerability is another quality of his I find particularly touching. What did you think of his jealousy dream? Here I quote the relevant passage:

“That night he had a strange dream, one in which he was tormented by strong feelings of jealousy. …

… he had never once personally experienced these emotions. …

In this dream, though, he burned with desire for a woman. It wasn’t clear who she was. She was just there. And she had a special ability to separate her body and her heart. I will give you one of them, she told Tsukuru. My body or my heart. But you can’t have both. … I’ll give the other part to someone else, she said. But Tsukuru wanted all of her. He wasn’t about to hand over one half to another man. …

A horrendous pain lashed out at him, as if his entire body were being wrung out by enormous hands. His muscles snapped, his bones shrieked in agony, and he felt a horrendous thirst, as if every cell in his body were drying up, sapped of moisture. … His body shook with rage… Darkish, agitated blood pulsed to all his extremities.

…just as a powerful west wind blows away thick banks of clouds, the graphic, scorching emotion that passed through his soul in the form of a dream must have canceled and negated the longing for death, a longing that had reached out and grabbed him around the neck.”

I find it amazing that it was the dream that spurred his transformation, and not an outside event.


G: Yes, his dream of jealousy is crucial in the story, and a premonition of his desire for Sara Kimoto that would further pull him forward and put him in touch with the kundalini like energy you described. He had never felt real jealousy before the dream because he had never felt passionately in love with someone before.  Whether he had never allowed himself to feel passion previously, or had just not met the right person, like a lightning strike of Uranus and a Neptunian dissolution of his former self, it is Sara Kimoto that drives him to face his past and resurrect his sense of Self.  In astrology, you know that both Uranus and Neptune are associated with our dream reality, so it makes sense to me that this dream would arise at a point in his life when he was emerging from the void.

It makes me think of how typical therapeutic and new age philosophy can be all about negating romantic desire as a projection of an ideal on another person- we are told what we sense in this other is something that is really inside of us, and we are cautioned about the illusion of love.  We are told it is “bad” to feel jealousy.  Yet strong desire, desire that can come out as jealousy at times, is a soul force animating our existence. It brings us alive and we can feel every particle of our body burning with feeling.  The woman Tsukuru desires in the dream offers him a choice of her body or her heart, but Tsukuru is not satisfied- he wants all of her and does not want to share part of her with another.  While this can be judged as the perspective of a typical possessive, patriarchal modern man, in another sense this is desire for full union with the divinity of the Other, two beings merging in complete openness with one another, opening the awareness of each to a new dimension of Soul.  I do not mean that jealousy turning into destructive anger and violence is anything to commend or approve of, only that the type of jealousy Tsukuru feels welling up inside of him is the force that motivates him to finally face and release his past so that he can regenerate.

And regenerate he does- from his time on the edge of a “huge, dark abyss that ran straight through to the earth’s core” (p. 5), a place with no color, “with not a drop of water, nor a blade of grass” (p. 45), Tsukuru finds his physical form transformed and his perception of physical matter opened wide:  “The feeling of the wind, the sound of rushing water, the sense of sunlight breaking through the clouds, the colors of flowers as the seasons changed- everything around him felt changed, as if they had all been recast” (p. 49).

His consciousness shifting from a dark void to a state perceiving previously unseen aliveness in the universe, it is the dream of jealousy that actually makes Tsukuru want to live.  Further, it is his desire for Sara Kimoto that makes him finally face the wounds of abandonment inflicted upon him by his former circle of beloved friendship and fellowship.

When I was reading the scene of Tsukuru’s physical transformation, an image of Dionysus came to my mind for some reason.  And then later, I came across this quote from Joseph Campbell about Dionysus, illuminating my visualization:   “Dionysus represents sudden inspiration, the energy of life pouring through time and throwing off old forms to make new life . . . the thrust of time that destroys all things and brings forth all things . . . the generative power, thrust out of darkness” (Goddesses, p. 215-216).

Yet Tsukuru never becomes a Dionysian monster of violence and devouring through his jealousy.  Instead, he goes inward, and his feelings of jealousy dismember his own being internally as he feels ripped apart and emptied.  This seems to be an interesting process symbolized by his name of Tsukuru, meaning “to make,” as Murakami reveals a creative process of going deep within, risking tearing oneself apart from the inside, creating a space in the process to birth something new into the world.


M: I love your Dionysian reference and I also agree that Tsukuru shows tremendous nobility of character in his approach to inner work. He takes responsibility for his own shadow and works with it instead of projecting it on others and tormenting them with his issues.

Another thing I really wanted to discuss with you is his friendship and homoerotic fascination with Fumiaki Haida . It seems to me that after his transformative dream about jealousy Tsukuru’s soul was ready to give itself over to a new relationship or we could say that his dream revealed his longing for a deep and transformative encounter with the Other. Isn’t it fascinating (and obvious on the other hand) that Tsukuru’s dreams have an influence on his waking life? Right after he dreams of a sexual encounter with Haida, Haida abandons him exactly as Tsukuru’s five friends had done before. I believe that in every relationship there are two channels of exchange: the outer conscious one and the ocean of unconscious messages constantly transmitted back and fourth between two souls. The latter has much, much more substance and a tremendous power of manifestation. You mentioned Uranus before – I think it is a theme of Tsukuru’s life – sudden abandonments, which cause trauma but also spur him to look deeper into himself and undergo substantial inner work. I have always thought that Murakami’s writing is indeed like dreaming: in many of his novels the storylines have an inner logic and feel of a dream. I think it is irrelevant to debate whether Tsukuru is gay or not; I think that eros is a soul making force that does not know gender. Perhaps Tsukuru’s dream revealed to him how badly he had missed deep human connection, how starved he had been for passion. What words cannot express, music is able to communicate with ease. Haida is the one who brings music into Tsukuru’s life, particularly Liszt and his poignant piece “Le mal du pays,” (“a groundless sadness called forth in a person’s heart by a pastoral landscape,” “homesickness”). I am glad you noticed how silence is significant for Murakami and how this writer presents the interplay of distance and proximity, the ebb and flow of expression in relationships. Eating together seems like a holy ritual in his writing, doesn’t it?

Another interesting character Murakami introduces is Mirodikawa, who seems to possess a whole array of supernatural gifts. He says:

“Each individual has their own unique color, which shines faintly around the contours of their body.  Like a halo. Or a backlight. I’m able to see these colors clearly.”

Earlier you mentioned kundalini, here Murakami is clearly talking about being able to perceive an aura. The reason why Murakami’s writing appeals to us so much is perhaps because he seems to side with the “people like us,” those who are sensing the paradigm shift happening around. I do not know about you but it is increasingly difficult for me to read literature which refuses to acknowledge the existence of divine mystery permeating our universe.

Speaking of mystery, one feature of Murakami’s writing I absolutely adore is that not all mysteries are solved in his novels, not all thoughts finished, not all questions answered. If it is true what I said before, that his writing is like dreaming, than you cannot expect it to unfold as a doctoral dissertation. You need to learn to accept the limits of how much you can know as an individual consciousness. I also suspect that Murakami is sitting on such a creative geyser of ideas that he frequently has issues with following many of them to their resolution. Actually, critics have said that Tsukuru Tazaki has a surprisingly tight structure for that novelist. Still, not all the mysteries get solved… I do not mind that at all.


G: There is great Mystery in this story, so I agree it makes sense that Murakami does not find it necessary to leave the reader with an idea of “ending,” as he is too Mercurial for that, too aware of the constant shifting and motion of life.  I love how you brought up the idea of Eros knowing no gender, as it goes to the core of the primordial Eros of myth, and this makes a lot of sense in the relationship between Tsukuru and Haida.  Returning to Uranus, it is interesting that Haida brings so much Uranian energy into Tsukuru’s life, including how he comes from a different type of conditioning than Tsukuru.  In contrast to Tsukuru, who had a father talented at making money and acclimated to the world of business, Haida had a father with no talent or interest in making money, acclimated to the world of ideas and philosophy.  In addition to music, Haida also brings the concept of freedom of thought to Tsukuru and in their dialogue Murakami explores the fabric of our nature.

On pages 74-75, Haida elaborates on an idea from Voltaire that “Originality is nothing but judicious imitation” and where they take this concept fascinated me:

 Haida began, “Everything has boundaries. The same holds true with thought. You shouldn’t fear boundaries, but you also should not be afraid of destroying them. That’s what is most important if you want to be free: respect for and exasperation with boundaries . . .”

This statement made Tsukuru question the ecstasy prophets are said to experience when receiving a message.  He ruminated, “And this takes place somewhere that transcends free will, right?  Always passively . . . And that message surpasses the boundaries of the individual prophet and functions in a broader, universal way . . . And in that message there is neither contradiction nor equivocation . . . I don’t get it, if that’s true, then what’s the value of human free will?”

You also went straight to the center of one of the essential ideas of the book when you wrote about how important that unconscious communication is between people in relationship, Monika.  This idea comes up over and over again in the story.  I agree that one of the most enchanting scenes in the story is Haida’s description of his father’s experience with Midorikawa, whose name fittingly means “Green River” as the Haida family name means “Gray Field.”  Murakami’s description of this storytelling is as mesmerizing as a lucid dream.  At the heart of this scene is our realization that Midorikawa has accepted death, and that by embracing this darkness his perception has been blown open:

“At the point when you agree to take on death, you gain an extraordinary capacity.  A special power, you could call it. Perceiving the colors that people emit is merely one function of that power, but at the root of it all is an ability to expand your consciousness. You’re able to push open what Aldous Huxley calls ‘the doors of perception.’ Your perception becomes pure and unadulterated. Everything around you becomes clear, like the fog lifting. You have an omniscient view of the world and see things you’ve never seen before.”

I love how this connects with our human nature, our life on this planet and the interplay between day and night, life and death. Our every breath is taken within the knowledge that one day the heart in our chest will stop beating.  It makes me think of when I was young boy sleeping in my bedroom at night.  On a side note, I think you will find it funny that my bedroom walls were painted sky blue by my parents at my request, with stencils of white clouds, and in one spot my father accidentally painted one of the cloud stencils upside down, a small outlier symbol.  Anyway, I do not remember how old I was exactly, but in one period of time I remember staying up at night thinking about my death. I thought about it over and over again, what would happen to my mind upon death.  Where would all of my thoughts go, how would my mind function in death, and after death if there was anything I could experience with any of my senses.  I would think about this at great length before falling asleep, night after night.  I am not sure exactly when I stopped doing this, only that at some point I became satisfied that there was nothing further I could understand at that point, I guess.  I am not sure how this period of intense speculation as young boy impacted my later perception, only that eventually I have become fascinated by these types of themes of darkness and the void as our found in this novel by Murakami.


M: That made me smile – a renegade cloud. In a sense Tsukuru was also an outsider in their five-member group. He considered his role in a conversation with Ao: “I’ve always seen myself as an empty person, lacking color and identity. Maybe that was my role in the group. To be empty. … An empty vessel. A colorless background, “ to which Ao replied, “It’s hard to explain, but having you there, we could be ourselves. You didn’t say much, but you had your feet solidly planted on the ground, and that gave the group a sense of security. Like an anchor.” To me Tsukuru seems to be  someone who is like the centre of gravity and an empty canvas in his environment.   His name means “to make,” as we have said before: he wants to create things of material substance (train stations) and he also facilitates the release and manifestation of the energy that exists as a potential in his friends’ subconscious minds. I do not wish to give away the reason of him being ostracized, but suffice it to say that there was a mystery involving a sex crime. I think Tsukuru’s sexual dreams about the victim of the crime that happened prior to the crime being committed show his extraordinary ability to absorb the unconscious energy of others’  and mirror it back. A thought occurred to me that Tsukuru “extracts” the color from others.

I feel we have not said quite enough about Murakami’s extraordinary use of color symbolism in his novel. I mean, he is painting with word, isn’t he? You once recommended Goethe’s Theory of Colours to me. The whole book is available online and I have looked through it today, coming across this striking quote: “For where dark passes over light … yellow appears; and on the other hand, where a light outline passes over the dark background, blue appears.” In other words, colors arise out of the dynamic interplay between light and darkness. Darkness is not a passive agent in that respect but a very active principle.  I think Murakami did a wonderful job demonstrating the pivotal role of darkness, void and emptiness in the process of creation and individuation. I am thinking of the findings of quantum physics that space is not a passive background, but instead a flexible medium that can bend, twist and flex. In a spiritual sense, Tsukuru was not passive: he was actively creating the world around him.

Being a writer Murakami’s obvious primary medium is words, which he infuses wonderfully with color, rhythm and sound. Don’t you love him for sentences like this: “Unspoken feelings were as heavy and lonely as the ancient glacier that had carved out the deep lake.”  He carves his sentences out from a deep, deep lake somewhere in the heart of the mountains, I feel. There is no unnecessary verbosity but every word is used with deep resolve and attention to meaning –  it is enough just to look at the names of the characters to realize this. We have mentioned a lot of them but I was especially enchanted that Sara means “sal tree” and Kimoto “under the tree.” The sal tree has enormous religious significance in the east as a tree under which Buddha was born. Its resin is used as powerful medicine, its wood burned as incense. Sara is the one who spurred on Tsukuru’s healing, she is the one with whom he shared his deepest wounds and she is the one he decides to give himself to so that she can help him melt the frozen core of his emotional suffering. As he realizes during a very pivotal scene: “One heart is not connected to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds.”


G: Monika, I love your description of how Tsukuru gives himself to Sara so that she can melt the frozen core of his emotions. I did not know there was a connection between the name Sara and “sal tree,” as I had thought it was connected with “Princess.”  I was just fumbling around the Internet looking for the meaning, and found this additional meaning on Wikipedia:  “Sara is the usual transliteration of an old Sanskrit word (सार) approximately meaning “essence” or “core”, or “speckled.”  All of these symbols, combined with her last name meaning “under the tree,” are so fitting for her impact on Tsukuru, and of course “under the tree” makes us think of the Buddha gaining his enlightenment.  This connection between Sara being a profound teacher for Tsukuru, a guru-like focus of his desire who inspires his release of past suffering, is fascinating considering that Tsukuru is thirty-six years old in the story and so experiencing a Jupiter return.  As it takes Jupiter approximately twelve years to make it around the zodiac, we experience a Jupiter return at age 12, 24, and 36.  At these ages we often have a significant event occur, and this can include an inspirational new relationship such as Sara Kimoto. It does not mean that everything is going to go harmoniously, as when I think back to when I had my Jupiter return around the age of thirty-six I had a lot of difficult experiences.  I do feel, however, that the events around a Jupiter return are significant in terms of our destiny and where we are ultimately headed, and are a pivotal period holding signs of where our future cycle is heading.  All of this directly connects to the desire Tsukuru feels for Sara, a woman with an “indefinably vital and alive . . . face” with “dark eyes, never timid, brimming with curiosity.”  Sara is able to be a grounding force for Tsukuru and can calmly, and bluntly, speak truth to him with words that go directly into the soul of Tsukuru:

 “You can hide memories, but you can’t erase the history that produced them.” Sara looked directly into his eyes. “If nothing else, you need to remember that.  You can’t erase history, or change it.  It would be like destroying yourself.”

“Why are we talking about this?” Tsukuru said, half to himself, trying to sound upbeat. “I’ve never talked to anybody about this before, and never planned to.”

Sara smiled faintly. “Maybe you needed to talk with somebody. More than you ever imagined.” (p.44)

I enjoyed reading your thoughts on how Tsukuru, like his name, was able “to make” unconscious dynamics come out and played the role of a stabilizing force in the group.  In fact, at one point Murakami described Tsukuru as feeling “like a young tree absorbing nutrition from the soil” (p. 18) when he was in the group of five friends, the only one whose name did not signify a color.  Even though Tsukuru puts himself down over and over again as having no unique qualities or special talents like his colorless name, he is the only member of the group who had the courage to individuate at a young age and leave the safe confines of their community in order to follow his calling in the monstrous urban environment of Tokyo.  However, we do end up discovering that another one of the five friends also ultimately individuated, and again Murakami’s choice of name for this character is compelling:  Kuru, whose name means “black.”

The contrast between the two women in the five friends, Shiro and Kuru, White and Black respectively, is striking.  They had been best friends since being young girls in school together, described by Murakami as “a unique and captivating combination of a beautiful, shy artist and a clever, sarcastic comedian” (p. 14).  While Murakami described Shiro as a sort of white light being with a beautiful face, “with a model’s body and the graceful features of a traditional Japanese doll,” there is something of the ideal in Shiro that does not appear to be fully grounded and integrated with her shadow, or dark side.  She is described as having extraordinary talent in music, capable of mesmerizing her friends with her beautiful piano playing.  Yet she is also described as being embarrassed of her own physical beauty, a shy and sheltered personality who seems to come the most alive when nurturing the musical talents of young, innocent children.  There is a side to Shiro that comes off as secretive, removed, or distant.

In contrast, Kuru’s name meaning black is fitting as she is more integrated with her shadow.  Kuru is described as being an avid reader who is very curious about the world around her, and we can imagine that instead of hiding from the darker sides of things that Kuro was willing to investigate everything, including the dark. She is also described as being hilariously sarcastic, and as we know usually it is the ones who are the most sarcastic who are also the ones willing to look the most deeply into things, leading to their comedic gift.  It is further fascinating that we eventually learn that Kuru was aware of having strong romantic desire for someone in their circle of friends, and was somehow able to manage consciously integrating this desire while at the same time holding herself back from pursuing the desire for the sake of the group’s platonic ideal. As an individuated adult, Kuru puts her creativity into the medium of pottery and manipulation of earthy matter, another symbol of her being grounded in her physical environment.


M: Thank you for elaborating on Shiro – she seemed like a fascinating and mysterious character to me, fragile, angelic even, but, as you said, not cut out to live in the world of dense matter. She seems so inaccessible: like an expensive porcelain doll in a high-end shop. And yet she was the one in the group who had an artist’s soul and genuine musical talent. I have a feeling we could go on and on discussing the book but instead of that I will let Murakami have the last word. Here Tsukuru remembers how Shiro used to play the piano:

“The Yamaha grand piano in the living room of her house. Reflecting Shiro’s conscientiousness, it was always perfectly tuned. The lustrous exterior without a single smudge or fingerprint to mar its luster. The afternoon light filtering in through the window. Shadows cast in the garden by the cypress trees. The lace curtain wavering in the breeze. Teacups on the table. Her black hair, neatly tied back, her expression intent as she gazed at the score. Her ten long, lovely fingers on the keyboard. Her legs, as they precisely depressed the pedals, possessed a hidden strength that seemed unimaginable in other situations. Her calves were like glazed porcelain, white and smooth. Whenever she was asked to play something, this piece was the one she most often chose. ‘Le mal du pays.’ The groundless sadness called forth in a person heart’s by a pastoral landscape. Homesickness. Melancholy.”


All the photographs used in this post depict Maureen Fleeming, a magnificent dancer. Most come from her website





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9 Responses to Passionate Longing for Dialogue (1): Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

  1. Judith Harte says:

    My God! I’m so overwhelmed by your dialogue. G & M. . G& M. G&M…. Can there be anything to say other than that?The colors you’ve highlighted are red, white, black, yellow…and of course we must not forget Alchemical blue….All these are colors found in Jung’s alchemical operations. To say you’ve inspired me would not begin to describe it. I sit at your feet, you guys….And, .I mean at your feet..

    Judith Harte


    • Dear Judith, just speaking for myself – I accept your comment with sincere gratitude. I thought about Jung and alchemy the whole time writing this, actually. But I also thought how ingenious of Murakami was to have created a “colorless” character – now where do we put him in terms of alchemy? I think it is the nothingness that precedes all colors.
      Also, I was very happy and privileged to use Gray’s amazing writing talent outside of the field of astrology for once.
      My best to you and thank you.


  2. Reblogged this on Gray Crawford and commented:
    This is a new project I am working on in collaboration with Monika of the Symbol Reader blog discussing works of art and their archetypal impact. Here we discuss Haruki Murakami and his “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.” We do have some astrology references in here, such as that the main character is 36 years old in the time of a Jupiter return, and the content does connect with the impending Lunar Eclipse, in which our great light is temporarily eclipsed into darkness to return again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. litebeing says:

    This is a great idea for a series and the title reels the reader in. Thank you for introducing me to Tazaki. So much was covered here, but this quote stick out for me :
    I believe that in every relationship there are two channels of exchange: the outer conscious one and the ocean of unconscious messages constantly transmitted back and fourth between two souls. The latter has much, much more substance and a tremendous power of manifestation.
    With Venus applying soon to a square with Pluto, I think its application is timely.


  4. Pingback: Passionate Longing for Dialogue (1): Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage | lampmagician

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