Full Read the Online Chapter 5 PDF of the Norwegian Wood Book by Haruki Murakami for free.
Norwegian Wood Book PDF Chapter 5: Thanks for your letter, wrote Naoko. Her family had forwarded it here, she said. Far from upsetting her, its arrival had made her very happy, and in fact, she had been on the point of writing to me herself. Having read that much, I opened the window, took off my jacket, and sat on the bed. I could hear pigeons cooing in a nearby roost. The breeze stirred the curtains. Holding the seven pages of writing paper from Naoko, I gave myself up to an endless stream of feelings. It seemed as if the colors of the real world around me had begun to drain away from my having done nothing more than read a few lines she had written. I closed my eyes and spent a long time collecting my thoughts. Finally, after one deep breath, I continued reading.
It’s almost four months since I came here, she went on.
I’ve thought a lot about you in that time. The more I’ve thought, the more I’ve come to feel that I was unfair to you. I probably should have been a better, fairer person when it came to the way I treated you.
This may not be the most normal way to look at things, though. Girls my age never use the word “fair”. Ordinary girls as young as I am are basically indifferent to whether things are fair or not. The central question for them is not whether something is fair but whether or not it’s beautiful or will make them happy. “Fair” is a man’s word, finally, but I can’t help feeling that it is also exactly the right word for me now. And because questions of beauty and happiness have become such difficult and convoluted propositions for me now, I suspect, I find myself clinging instead to other standards – like, whether or not something is fair or honest or universally true.
In any case, though, I believe that I have not been fair to you and that, as a result, I must have led you around in circles and hurt you deeply. In doing so, however, I have led myself around in circles and hurt myself just as deeply. I say this not as an excuse or a means of self-justification but because it is true. If I have left a wound inside you, it is not just your wound but mine as well. So please try not to hate me.
I am a flawed human being – a far more flawed human being than you realize. Which is precisely why I do not want you to hate me. Because if you were to do that, I would really go to pieces. I can’t do what you can do: I can’t slip inside my shell and wait for things to pass. I don’t know for a fact that you are really like that, but sometimes you give me that impression. I often envy that in you, which may be why I led you around in circles so much.
This may be an over-analytical way of looking at things. Don’t you agree? The therapy they perform here is certainly not over-analytical, but when you are under treatment for several months the way I am here, like it or not, you become more or less analytical. “This was caused by that, and that means this, because of which such-and-such.” Like that. I can’t tell whether this kind of analysis is trying to simplify the world or complicate it.
In any case, I myself feel that I am far closer to recovery than I once was, and people here tell me this is true. This is the first time in a long while I have been able to sit down and calmly write a letter. The one I wrote you in July was something I had to squeeze out of me (though to tell the truth, I don’t remember what I wrote – was it terrible?), but this time I am very, very calm. Clean air, a quiet world cut off from the outside, a daily schedule for living, and regular exercise: those are what I needed, it seems.
How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen, to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous. Of course, once I do put them into words, I find I can only express a fraction of what I want to say, but that’s all right. I’m happy just to be able to feel I want to write to someone. And so I am writing to you. It’s 7.30 in the evening, I’ve had my dinner and I’ve just finished my bath.
The place is silent, and it’s pitch black outside. I can’t see a single light through the window. I usually have a clear view of the stars from here, but not today, with the clouds. Everyone here knows a lot about the stars, and they tell me “That’s Virgo” or “That’s Sagittarius”. They probably learn whether they want to or not because there’s nothing to do here once the sun goes down. Which is also why they know so much about birds and flowers and insects. Speaking to them, I realized how ignorant I was about such things, which is kind of nice.
About 70 people are living here. In addition, the staff (doctors, nurses, office staff, etc.) come to just over 20. It’s such a wide-open place, these are not big numbers at all. Far from it: it might be more accurate to say the place is on the empty side. It’s big and filled with nature and everybody lives quietly – so quietly you sometimes feel that this is the normal, real world, which of course it’s not. We can have it this way because we live here under certain preconditions.
I play tennis and basketball. Basketball teams are made up of both staff and (I hate the word, but there’s no way around it) patients. When I’m absorbed in a game, though, I lose track of who are the patients and who the are staff. This is kind of strange. I know this will sound strange, but when I look at the people around me during a game, they all look equally deformed.
I said this one day to the doctor in charge of my case, and he told me that, in a sense, what I was feeling was right, that we are in here not to correct the deformation but to accustom ourselves to it: that one of our problems was our inability to recognize and accept our own deformities. Just as each person has certain idiosyncrasies in the way he or she walks, people have idiosyncrasies in the way they think and feel and see things, and though you might want to correct them, it doesn’t happen overnight, and if you try to force the issue in one case, something else might go funny.
He gave me a very simplified explanation, of course, and it’s just one small part of the problems we have, but I think I understand what he was trying to say. It may well be that we can never fully adapt to our own deformities. Unable to find a place inside ourselves for the very real pain and suffering that these deformities cause, we come here to get away from such things.
As long as we are here, we can get by without hurting others or being hurt by them because we know that we are “deformed”. That’s what distinguishes us from the outside world: most people go about their lives unconscious of their deformities, while in this little world of ours, the deformities themselves are a precondition. Just as Indians wear feathers on their heads to show what tribe they belong to, we wear our deformities in the open. And we live quietly so as not to hurt one another.
In addition to playing sports, we all participate in growing vegetables: tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, watermelons, strawberries, spring onions, cabbage, daikon radishes, and so on and on. We grow just about everything. We use greenhouses, too. The people here know a lot about vegetable farming, and they put a lot of energy into it. They read books on the subject and call in experts and talk from morning to night about which fertilizer to use and the condition of the soil and stuff like that. I have come to love growing vegetables. It’s great to watch different fruits and vegetables getting bigger and bigger each day. Have you ever grown watermelons? They swell up, just like some kind of little animals.
We eat freshly picked fruits and vegetables every day. They also serve meat and fish of course, but when you’re living here you feel less and less like eating those because the vegetables are so fresh and
delicious. Sometimes we go out and gather wild plants and mushrooms. We have experts on that kind of thing (come to think of it, this place is crawling with experts) who tell us which plants to pick and which to avoid. As a result of all this, I’ve gained over six pounds since I got here. My weight is just about perfect, thanks to the exercise and the good eating on a regular schedule.
When we’re not farming, we read or listen to music or knit. We don’t have TV or radio, but we do have a very decent library with books and records. The record collection has everything from Mahler symphonies to the Beatles, and I’m always borrowing records to listen to in my room.
The one real problem with this place is that once you’re here you don’t want to leave – or you’re afraid to leave. As long as we’re here, we feel calm and peaceful. Our deformities seem natural. We think we’ve recovered. But we can never be sure that the outside world will accept us in the same way.
My doctor says it’s time I began having contact with “outside people”
– meaning normal people in the normal world. When he says that, the only face I see is yours. To tell the truth, I don’t want to see my parents. They’re too upset over me, and seeing them puts me in a bad mood. Plus, there are things I have to explain to you. I’m not sure I can explain them very well, but they’re important things I can’t go on avoiding any longer.
Still, you shouldn’t feel that I’m a burden to you. The one thing I don’t want to be is a burden to anyone. I can sense the good feelings you have for me. They make me very happy. All I am doing in this letter is trying to convey that happiness to you. Those good feelings of yours are probably just what I need at this point in my life. Please forgive me if anything I’ve written here upsets you. As I said before, I am a far more flawed human being than you realize.
I sometimes wonder: IF you and I had met under absolutely ordinary circumstances, and IF we had liked each other, what would have happened? If I had been normal and you had been normal (which, of course, you are) and there had been no Kizuki, what would have happened? Of course, this “IF” is way too big. I’m trying hard at least to be fair and honest. It’s all I can do at this point. I hope to convey some small part of my feelings to you this way.
Unlike an ordinary hospital, this place has free visiting hours. As long as you call the day before, you can come any time. You can even eat with me, and there’s a place for you to stay. Please come and see me sometime when it’s convenient for you. I look forward to seeing you. I’m enclosing a map. Sorry, this turned into such a long letter.
I read Naoko’s letter all the way through, and then I read it again. After that, I went downstairs, bought a Coke from the vending machine, and drank it while reading the letter one more time. I put the seven pages of writing paper back into the envelope and laid it on my desk. My name and address had been written on the pink envelope in perfect, tiny characters that were just a bit too precisely formed for those of a girl. I sat at my desk, studying the envelope. The return address on the back said Ami Hostel. An odd name. I thought about it for a few minutes, concluding that the “ami” must be from the French word for “friend”.
After putting the letter away in my desk drawer, I changed clothes and went out. I was afraid that if I stayed near the letter I would end up reading it 10, 20, who knew how many times? I walked the streets of Tokyo on Sunday without a destination in mind, as I had always done with Naoko. I wandered from one street to the next, recalling her letter line by line and mulling each sentence over as best I could. When the sun went down, I returned to the dorm and made a long-distance call to the Ami Hostel. A woman receptionist answered and asked about my business. I asked if it might be possible for me to visit Naoko the following afternoon. I left my name and she said I should call back in half an hour.
The same woman answered when I called back after dinner. It would indeed be possible for me to see Naoko, she said. I thanked her, hung up, and put a change of clothes and a few toiletries in my rucksack. Then I picked up The Magic Mountain again, reading and sipping brandy and waiting to get sleepy. Even so, I didn’t fall asleep until after one o’clock in the morning.
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