Murakami Makes Rare Appearance, Talks Oysters and Loneliness

In News by Kay Ohara

Haruki Murakami made a rare, surprise appearance at a Fukushima literary event, where he compared the loneliness of writing with frying oysters.

By Kay Ohara

Murakami's latest novel is

Haruki Murakami’s latest novel is What on Earth is There in Laos?

The word “Fukushima” has been associated with mostly bad news since the big earthquake four years ago, so when the native Fukushima writer Hideo Furukawa organized a literary event there, he asked his friends to join in the merriment. Then the usually reclusive Haruki Murakami popped in at a panel on Nov. 29, he started off his discussion about … frying oysters.

First reminding the audience that his wife does not like fried food in general so he makes his po’ boys by himself, Murakami said, “Frying oysters is fun, but a solitary experience. Just like the relationship between loneliness and freedom, searching for what’s inside you, word by word, is a solitary activity. Writing a novel is like frying oysters. You do it because you like doing it. Next time you hit a writer’s block, remember, it gets hard if you think to yourself you’re writing a novel, but gets easy if I think of it as frying oysters.”

Murakami’s latest book is a travelogue titled, What on Earth is There in Laos? that went on sale November 21st.

About the Author

Kay Ohara


Growing up in the U.S. and Japan, Kay Ohara enjoys reading both vertically and horizontally. Her taste for both cultures is evident in the jars of umeboshi and peanut butter that sit side by side in her tiny fridge in Manhattan. She scouted titles for Random House Kodansha and sold foreign rights on behalf of Kodansha's Japanese authors. Now, she runs the Lingual Literary Agency.