Tsukuru Tazaki was the only one in his group of friends whose surname didn’t contain a color. Tsukuru, however, means to create. and while this book undoubtably nails themes of ostracism, ultimatums, and the danger of ‘keeping it to yourself’, i closed this book thinking how brave it is to create something on your own.
first, this isn’t a book review but i do really recommend you read it.
what i was confronted with while reading this was that setting or location can often dictate how willing we are to create. a moment, such as being isolated in a friend group, can push you into yourself. this book uses places and atmospheres as a way to show moods like anxiety, loneliness, and uncertainty.
the streets of Nagoya are bright and the sun pours onto the concrete but the buildings are tall and confronting. the moonlit streets of Tokyo allow you to blend in but they lack any sense of accountability or recognition. Oita Prefecture is in constant downpour where the only escape to express is in the keys of a piano hidden safely inside.
for someone whose purpose is to create, these settings are debilitating. however, (and this is the big ‘however’ of the whole story) it only takes one person to walk into your life and change the whole thing.
and for Tsukuru it does. his journey of self-confrontation leads him to the woods of Finland, the antithesis to the harshness he spent his formative years beside. in Finland he learns what it means to create through the mirrored journey of a friend who invested her energy into pottery. for Tsukuru it was and would always be train stations but in Finland he learned how to create himself.