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Haruki Murakami’s “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”

As a writer, Haruki Murakami’s 2009 book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, has been an eye-opener for me. Reading this book in this setting has given me a deeper appreciation of the power that comes from experience, even if I have always been strong at telling stories and writing in narrative voice. Despite the fact that Murakami delves into a wide range of topics, his writing relies heavily on personal experience and metaphorical language to make his points. During the course of my own research, this book has shown me the importance of personal experience. It is possible to lift a paper to new heights and express a huge amount of confidence in a subject through the use of personal experience. If the experience is pertinent to the topic, it can even enhance a research article to new heights.

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Murakami keeps meticulous records of everything that happens to him, including the details of the actual occurrence as well as his thoughts and feelings at the time. He has the ability to immerse the reader in the action by vividly portraying the surrounding scenery, the weather, and his own physical reactions to each. Murakami recounts his encounters with locals while running the ancient marathon route from Athens, Greece, to the city of Marathon to get a sense of what he was getting himself into by running in the middle of July. At first, the Greeks thought his scheme was crazy. When it comes to such an idea, “No one in their right mind would even consider it.” Murakami (2009) stated that Afterward, he talks about how grueling the run was for him, and describes his route and the dangers of running on Marathon Avenue, which is a popular running path in Boston. “Three dogs and eleven cats” were found dead on this street” (Murakami 2009). While jogging, these thoughts inevitably come to mind.

But Murakami took the time to write this book because he was able to recall the events of his day enough to do so. For him, a run would constitute a day, so he made a point of paying attention to the little things that are easily forgotten. It as if we were there with Murakami as he recounts his life story and the logic behind each decision, as if we were there with him in person. “Around one thirty in the afternoon of April 1, 1978, Haruki Murakami first imagined he could write a novel.” In the stands at Jingu Stadium that day, he drank beer and watched the game alone.” He continues by describing his physical and emotional state. “There was not a cloud in the sky, and a gentle wind was blowing. It was a gorgeous spring day” (Murakami, 2009). A grassy slope was all that was available for outfield seats at the time. Relaxing on the grass with a nice beer, I watched the game from a distance, occasionally glancing up to see the sky. As he goes on, the reader can tell how passionate he is about the game and how much it has meant to him personally and professionally.

After watching an American player named Dave Hilton make an incredible outfielder’s catch, he was inspired to begin his writing. There was an audible boom as the bat smashed into the ball’s sweet spot. Hilton sailed through the first turn and into second place. “You know what?” came to my mind at that very time. I suppose I might give writing a novel a shot” (Murakami, 2009). If you are going to write about an experience, you are going to have to go into great detail, which is not something you can do in a discussion. During the course of my own writing, I am attempting to improve on this issue as well. In addition to his personal thoughts and experiences, Murakami discusses how he communicates with other people.

While reading his book, a person can be first unsure Murakami is a writer facing challenges during running or a runner with a writing problem. He is unquestionably a gifted writer with a running problem, which is a nice thing to have given that his pastime inspired this hilarious book. The book contains significant aspects that can greatly help to boost an individual’s personal experience. Personal experience can lift a paper to new heights and convey a sense of certainty about a subject. If the event is appropriate, it can even elevate a research article to new heights.

Murakami was passionate about arts and music, particularly jazz. As a consequence of his enthusiasm for jazz music, he created a club in Tokyo called Jazz Bar, which he eventually sold in 1982 at thirty-three to focus on writing. He believed that he could convey stories that others would like reading about through his papers. He started by writing books like Hear the Wind Sing and A Wild Sheep Chase, which he could send to publishers and get published; eventually, in 1979, his debut work received the Gunzou Literature Prize for emerging writers. Murakami made an excellent connection between jogging and writing. While preparing for the New York City Marathon, Haruki Murakami decided to keep a journal of his voyage. The result is an engrossing memoir about his entwined addictions to running and writing, interspersed with pleasant recollections and discoveries, including the Eureka moment when he decided to pursue a career as a writer (Murakami, 2009). In the book, Murakami discusses his writing process and preparation for the New York City Marathon. Following the event, there are other chapters on his triathlon participation, which we shall examine.

The non-verbal communication with other runners was one of the most powerful experiences I have had. Sharing the impact that these moments had on him brings a familiarity of thought and makes the experience more shared. It is a powerful read for me because it makes me reflect on my own experiences and allows me to open up to new possibilities. As a tribute to “all the runners I have encountered on the road, those I have passed, and those who have passed me,” Murakami writes in the book’s Afterword. It would have been impossible for me to keep on if it were not for your support” (Murakami, 2009. He leaves the reader with a lasting impression even with this brief piece at the end of his book.

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I have been reflecting on the importance of every interaction, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Even a simple glance, a smile, or even a nod can inspire someone and give them the courage or motivation to keep going. In my own life, I have been affected by many small things, and I am reminded of this when I see it in this context. The question, “How do you want to be remembered?” is etched into my ribs in an upside-down tattoo (Murakami, 2009). It is a reminder that the little things we do every day matter to the people who matter most in our lives, and not just in terms of how my loved ones will remember me when I am gone. There are people out there who see the same things about life that I do, and this dedication by Murakami was a great reminder of that.

When I was trying to come up with a topic for my I-research paper, I was stumped. For example, a topic I am interested in for my profession as an analyst or a subject that I am knowledgeable about and passionate about should be the focus of my essay. I was able to read half of this book in two days, allowing me to re-read it with a fresh perspective. Reading this book helped me sort things out when I was having trouble making up my mind. My team had a definite preference for what I should write about based on the themes I had previously discussed. However, after reading What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, I had a clear image of how my enthusiasm for fitness and desire to learn more about it would best equip me for this endeavor. A lot of what I learnt in this book will come in handy for my research paper and other writing endeavors in the future, therefore I am grateful for its influence on my work.

Aside from the fact that Murakami has given me the motivation to keep going after having a break from exercising due to COVID, this book will be on my bedside as well. Even though our I-search papers require more than personal experiences and private contact, it allowed me to think about how my own personal experiences could be a service to my reader. The sections of Murakami self-talking and getting through difficult situations, the trials and tribulations of an almost melancholy state with running, and the overall optimistic attitude that he shows about being true and driven both in fitness and life intrigued me.


Murakami, H. (2009). What I talk about when I talk about running. Vintage.

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