Some Prefer Nettles by Junichiro Tanizaki
This book, Some Prefer Nettles, is about the time when dusk meets dawn. And it goes beyond the phenomenon of eastern and western ideals. The book talks about the unexpected influence of having a ‘soul’ in a ‘self’. Junichiro Tanizaki’s much-needed wisdom on simply being in a world where things have their own identity is endearing. The drawing out of a bath, the unforgettable portrait of a cup, and a contemplative divorce. These elements capture the essence of consumption in that it’s intellectual, perceptive, and unavoidable. The exchange of words said and unsaid is nothing but a transaction that renders love as unattainable and forever diminishing between two people. Any sort of relation –marriage, friendship, or familial – is sketched as transient. The perfect reflection of a soul’s increasing urge to eradicate the loneliness and silence of darkness… of self-consciously hoping to find another identical but titillating self to embrace. Perhaps the answer to one’s love and longing – and its diminishing effect – is understood from its inception. Understood but never reconciled. Better to anticipate and feel the rush of a tide coming at you than to never dip your feet into the water knowing it’s never going to last. This thought made me think of Murakami when he said,
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about.”
In all of life’s adventures, loves, sorrows, and regrets, it’s never about reaching a goal or attaining a key to a lock. Rather it’s about experiencing those discoveries for there are plenty. For every person walking beside you or away from you or inside you, there is a lifetime to be lived in every ephemeral glance and caress. And books like Some Prefer Nettles teach you to cherish it.