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The above is the link to a photoessay from TIME magazine about Japan at the height of its bubble economy in 1989, and the later downfall, sometimes referred to as the Heisei Malaise. To tell the truth it is rather weak, but a worthwhile study in how to tell a story using pictures that don’t necessarily fit the narrative. Case in point picture 10. A tired man in a suit. This one is equally at home in the 1980s as in the 2000s. But note how the caption transforms the viewing and interpretation of the–mostly unremarkable–images. It is the photo-journalistic equivalent of buffalax.

羊をめぐる冒険[1] by 村上春樹

A Wild Sheep Chase by Murakami Haruki

Essay by Michael Ignatov

A Wild Sheep Chase (1982) deals primarily with time, and specifically the past, as its central concern. Many of the other constituents of the thematic web of this novel are either subsumed in or directly related to the problem of the past.

The past must be understood as a place where time stands still—a frozen moment of time that can be accessed through the cottage in Hokkaido’s frozen landscape. Here time grinds to a halt (238-9), and it is here that Boku learns the dangers of letting himself be consumed by the past—by living in the past one fails to live presently. Murakami takes up this idea again a decade later in South of the Border, West of the Sun.

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