T Nation

The Wisdom of Murakami

My girlfriend bought me Norwegian Wood for my birthday, I’ve been reading it this afternoon. I had to type out and post this passage. I’m sure you’ll understand why.

With all the cram schools around Ochanomizu Station, on Sunday the area was full of school kids on their way to classes or exam practice. Midori barged through the crowds cluthcing the strap of her shoulder bag with one hand and my hand with the other.

Without warning, she asked me, “Hey, Watanabe, can you explain the difference between the English present subjunctive and the past subjunctive?”

“I think I can,” I said.

“Let me ask you then, what possible use is stuff like that for everyday life?”

“None at all” I said. “It may not serve any concrete purpose, but it does give you some kind of training to help you grasp things in general more systematically.”