Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I just finished reading Underground, by Haruki Murakami, who became one of my favorite authors a few years ago.

is a collection of interviews with victims of the 1995 sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway. It’s a bit of a departure from Murakami’s typical style – this is stating the obvious, because it’s non-fiction – but I like the way he presents the interviews in a logical order, and there’s just enough narrative interspersed between them to make things make sense.

When you contrast the Japanese reaction to the attacks to the way terrorist attacks are perceived and responded to in just about every other country in the world, the differences are fascinating and well worth your time to read about. The Japanese, at least initially, viewed the attacks the way we see things when we discover our wallets are missing – we suspect someone may have committed a crime, but we obsessively continue looking under the sofa cushions every day because such things “don’t happen to us.”