Monday, August 19, 2013

Visualizing translation #4 -- People Emanating Colors

In Chapter 5 of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, one of the characters (Midorikawa) mentions that all people emanate colors. Apparently, it looks as though their silhouettes are surrounded by halos or are backlit. However, those colors are visible to very few people. 

When reading this, one first thinks of auras and other paranormal phenomena (, but that does not seem to be the intention here. The internet offers many images, most of them posted on sites that tend to be somewhat, or even very, religious in orientation.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Does Anybody Know About This Photograph/Article?

In the last chapter of the book there is mention of a "leading American newspaper," which published a photograph of commuters going down the stairs during rush hour in Tokyo.  It apparently appeared in the 90's, and the caption referred to people not looking happy in spite of the economic boom in Japan. If one of our readers happens to have seen/heard about it, please let us know.

Speaking of Tokyo commuters, here is a link to some new haunting pictures by Michael Wolf.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Catalan Translation to Come Out on October 1

A cover of the Catalan translation of Tsukuru Tazaki appeared on the webpage of Curtis Brown, Murakami's London agent.

We did a brief internet search and found out that the book is to be published on October 1st and can already be preordered. Once again, the translator's name is not mentioned. The Catalan title, like the Spanish one talks about the "boy without color" and "his years of pilgrimage," but does include the name "Tsukuru Tazaki."


Editorial Empúries
Ficción moderna y contemporanea
Tapa blanda o Bolsillo
230 x 150 mm.
19.95€ (19.18€ sin IVA)

An Interview with Philip Gabriel, the Translator of Tsukuru Tazaki into English

The Australian has published an interview with Philip Gabriel, the American translator of Murakami who is currently working on Tsukuru Tazaki. Unfortunately we don't find much information about the translation of the latest novel. Here are some fragments:

The talking cats are just the start

Spanish Translation of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki to be out on October 15

Announcements about the October 15 publication of the Spanish translation of the novel have started appearing on the internet. The translator's name is not mentioned... at least, we couldn't find it. Also, supposedly the publication was announced by the publisher, Tusquets Editores, but we could not find any information on the publisher's page ( It is worth noting that the Spanish title does not include "Tsukuru Tazaki" -- it can be translated as something like: The Years of Pilgrimage of a Colorless Boy.
It is possible to already preorder the book (for 18.95 euros):

Here is one of the announcements:  

La nueva novela de Haruki Murakami

'Los años de peregrinación del chico sin color', en España el 15 de octubre.

01 de agosto de 2013.
Qué: Los años de peregrinación del chico sin color Autor: Haruki Murakami Editorial: Tusquets EditoresAño: 2013 Páginas: 328 Cuándo: 15 de octubre de 2013 Precio: 19,95 €
Los admiradores españoles de Haruki Murakami están de enhorabuena: Los años de peregrinación del chico sin color, su nueva novela, llegará a todas las librerías el próximo miércoles 15 de octubre. El título modifica el explícito original japonés,Shikisaiwo motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to kareno junreino toshi, que se traduciría comoEl descolorido Tsukuru Tazaki y sus años de peregrinación, y añade un poco de misterio al asunto.
Después de la publicación entre 2009 y 2010 —en 2011 en España— de su monumental trilogía 1Q84, que Tusquets Editores publicó en España en dos volúmenes, Haruki Murakami se ha tomado tres años para la escritura de esta novela. Los años de peregrinación del chico sin color es mucho más breve que su antecesora —poco más de trescientas páginas— y cuenta la historia de Tsukuru Tazaki, un arquitecto de 36 años especializado en diseñar estaciones de tren, cuya vida y cuya memoria se tambalean al conocer a Sara, una mujer algo mayor que él, que le recordará los felices años de la adolescencia y los infelices años de la juventud.

Visualizing translation #3

Anna Zielinska-Elliott writes:

In Chapter 15 of the novel, Tsukuru Tazaki travels to Finland and visits the small town of Hämmenlinna. Normally I would not have felt the urge to see the images of a town before translating its description, but there was sentence that I struggled with a bit.  The protagonist is in a town square and sees a church on the other side of it. The church is described as 丸い緑の屋根を持ったずんぐりとした教会. (p. 266) Later, black birds appear and are busily flying 屋根から屋根へ --> from roof to roof? How many roofs could a single church have? Puzzled by this, I decided to look at at map of Hämmenlinna on Google Maps and see if I could locate a church near the main square. I am well aware, of course, that descriptions like this can be purely fictional, but still thought it might be worth a try. After finding a church (Hämeenlinnan kirrko) that bordered on the main town square, I changed to a street view mode. Here is the result:

From the picture, it does appear that Murakami is describing an actual church. Perhaps he has visited Hāmeenlinna himself? Looking at the photograph, it is in fact very easy to see how the birds could have been moving from one part of the roof to another part, i.e., "from rooftop to rooftop." Here is a bird's eye view: