There's a brief aside in Haruki Murakami's memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running where he describes his daily runs near Harvard in Boston and how he gets passed all the time by these young college girls with their swinging ponytails he describes as proud.
And you can just picture it, hot pink sports bras and energetic bursts side-by-side with this tiny Asian man in his 50's, hardened from running multiple marathons with the gait of someone running for distance and endurance alone.
He's not lamenting them or belittling them, he's just describing the cycle of life and the way things look from his perspective and I love the juxtaposition he creates.
There was an elderly jogger in our neighborhood my Dad affectionately nicknamed "Stoneman," who would run past our house every night with the same serious, determined gait and stone face, not waving back, no smiling at his neighbors, just focused on the asphalt ahead. Watching him pound was painful, yet inspiring.
On trips back home I've notice he's walking now, beside his little wife and their even tinier dog. But his walk seems to be grating against his body, screaming at the hard and fast fact that it won't allow him to run anymore.
I think about these images a lot more now, slightly embarrassed by my own wagging ponytail and the fact that I'm listening to T-Pain's Take Your Shirt Off as I round the track past the balding guy I imagine is listening to Johann Sebastian Bach while hammering it the entire day. But also slightly proud.
Timely, since all news from Japan right now is literally jaw-dropping:
Murakami translated The Great Gatsby into Japanese and I find this fascinating - I mean, how do you get that essentially American storybook quality to come across in such a foreign culture - what are things the Japanese could relate too in that story? And what would be harder to understand?
(But translations on the whole fascinate me).