A friend of mine brought me this book from Taipei early this year. I was eager to read it in a leisurely manner, for I know Murakami’s travel essays are still very good. The Chinese version of What is there in Laos? was translated by Mingzhu Lai. For me, it is a great pleasure to read Traditional Chinese arranged vertically from right to left. Although it is a Japanese-styled expression, I often find refuge in Japanese- and Murakami-styled Chinese-language written by Lai.
According to Murakami Haruki, Laos is a country where everybody slows down everything. Even dogs have a lot of free time for a siesta in temples. Travellers who wish to save money enjoy their time a lot in Laos, whose cuisines fall between Thai and Vietnamese dishes in terms of taste. And the price is cheap.
The book also included Murakami’s stories of visiting Mykonos and Spetses in Greece. Mykonos was the place where Murakami wrote the first chapters of Norwegian Wood, and I guess his super fans would love to visit the place. Other essays introduced Iceland, Finland, Italy, New York and Kumamoto Prefecture of Japan.
I find essays on his experiences of travelling and living in Boston, Portland of Oregon, and Portland of Maine to be more interesting. ‘When I make more money I would also love to travel in the United States’ was my idea when I was reading these stories. It must be quite a good experience to travel in US while working on translation and copywriting projects at the same time. And of course, to always go for a jog in the evening.