One question I intend to ask Murakami once I have worked my way through the entire text concerns the transliteration of the name 沙羅. You’d think that “Sara” would do the trick, but this girl’s full name is 「木元沙羅」.「 沙羅」is also the Japanese orthography for the shala or sal tree (Shorea robusta), which just happens to be the tree under which the Buddha was born and died (depending on which tradition you believe). Considering the girl’s role in the book—and also in view of the fact that Murakami goes to considerable lengths to explain the meaning of Tsukuru’s own name—I wouldn’t be surprised if Murakami had intended her name symbolically (Ki-moto). After all, she pretty much seems to save Tsukuru. Writing her name as “Sala” seems a good alternative, at this stage. I should point out that Jay Rubin in his translation of after the quake uses the same spelling for the name of the little girl in “Honey pie."
|Birth of Buddha|
|Sala tree flower|