Events From 30 Years Ago

A short essay from Haruki Murakami’s Murakami Radio.

Moving finally gave me an excuse to look through my massive collection of old magazines that had been sitting dormant in storage, stuffed inside cardboard boxes. I couldn’t hold on to such a heavy, unwieldy collection forever, I thought. Yet I’d been holding on to them for years despite feeling like I had to get rid of them. My personal library of magazines from the 60’s and 70’s included “Heibon Punch,” “Film Criticism,” “The Sun,” “Rolling Stone, Japanese Edition,” and “Treasure Island.” I had “Heibon Punch” issues with covers from back when Ayumi Ohashi was still doing the illustrations, and I had a multi-year complete set of “anan” going back to the first issue, but about 15 years ago my cat went into a panic and peed all over them. They were totally ruined. Such a shame. Cat pee stinks. (Sometimes people go into a panic too, but they don’t pee on your books).

Man, looking through those old magazines makes me feel nostalgic. I flipped through the pages of “Heibon Punch” and came across an article where John Lennon was venting his anger at The Beatles. They had already broken up at that point and Lennon was living his best life. When it came to the reason he was so upset, Lennon explained, “The four of us in the band would all share the same women. But the other three guys wouldn’t touch Yoko. It was such an insult!” How very 1960’s of them. I’m amazing by all the different reasons people can get upset.

This was also around the time that pantyhose were introduced, and I came across another article about how department stores weren’t selling traditional panties anymore as a result. More and more women were wearing pantyhose without underwear. Hmmm. The world is sure full of twists and turns.

There was also a special piece on the poet Takaaki Yoshimoto. At the time, “Heibon Punch” was pretty much focused on politics and the economy, but Yoshimoto was popular among young people as a charismatic, energetic thinker. (I think that’s still true today). It was called “Takaaki Yoshimoto: My Mysterious Private Life Revealed.” According to the reporter, Yoshimoto ate special high quality rice in his home. I don’t really think that qualifies as “mysterious private life,” but it looks like the reporter went to great lengths to track down his local rice dealer and get the full scoop. I appreciate the effort. The article also talked about how the literary critic Jun Eto had invited Mr. Yoshimoto to a high end club in Ginza the year before. According to some of the other guest in the party, Mr. Yoshimoto listened to the hostess’ sad history of heartbreak, and they had a conversation about the nature of love. Hmmm.

I flip through the pages of these old magazines and before I know it the whole day has gone by, and I haven’t made any progress on the move. It’s a problem, but I can’t stop.