Remembering Japanese cars from the past

Tag: Haruki Murakami

Carina Sightings: Murakami’s Toyota Carina 1800 GT Twin-Cam Turbo

I just got back from three weeks vacation where I packed a couple of unfinished books to read and never expected to find this level of awesomeness in a book! Basically while nearing the end of Haruki Murakami’s Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World I suddenly had a big surprise: he describes a Toyota Carina 1800 GT Twin-Cam Turbo!
Flyrat Toyota Carina 1800 GT Twin-Cam Turbo
The book is first published in 1985, but one of the dates mentioned is Sunday the 2nd of October. The only viable year that features this date is 1983, so the storyline must have taken place in 1983 (S57). The story is what they called cyberpunk back then and encloses a futuristic view on the new technology that gets available in the early 1980s.

Near the end of the book the main character in the story needs to rent a car, preferably an European:
I checked the yellow pages and jotted down the numbers of four car-rental dealerships in the Shinjuku area. None had any European cars. Sundays were high-demand days and they never had foreign cars to begin with. The last dealership had a Toyota Carina 1800 GT Twin-Cam Turbo and a Toyota Mark II. Both new, both with car stereos. I said I’d take the Carina. I didn’t have a crease of an idea what either car looked like.
He made an excellent choice and of course I do have a good idea what either car looks like. ;)

While the story continues and he picks up the car it turns out to be in the white shade. I’ve searched the Google images for a long time to find a suitable face-lifted white Carina TA63 from 1983 that looked (almost) bone stock. The only one I was able to find was this one that got sold by Flyrat a few years ago with ill matching wheels, but other than that in almost original condition: Continue reading

Lots of JDM classics in 1Q84!

As you may have noticed I haven’t been posting much lately. The main reason for this is because I’ve been selected as a presenter at the Percona Live MySQL conference in Santa Clara on April 12th. This takes a lot of preparation so I literally have no spare time left till the conference is over.

In the meanwhile one of the preparations was to buy a book for the 11 hour flight from Amsterdam to San Francisco and as Haruki Murakami already is one of my favorite writers I chose his latest book called 1Q84 to be the best choice. Murakami is renowned for his tremendous amount of details in his writing and I’m sure this book certainly won’t disappoint me.
Haruki Murakami 1Q84
I could not resist reading the first chapter and already starts great for a JDM classic fanatic like me: in the first chapter it gets clear that the setting in 1984 and the main character is in a traffic jam. The following cars get mentioned:
1. Toyota Crown Royal Saloon (probably MS120 as it is the new model)
2. Nissan Pajero
3. Suzuki Alto (probably SS40)
4. black Toyota Celica (hopefully a AA63 or TA63 ;) )
So you can guess this really is mind blowing for me: just picturing all these late Showa cars being queued on the Tokyo Expressway 3. Just had to share this joy and recommend reading this book.

Reading: finished After Dark and started The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Finished After Dark by Haruki Murakami two weeks ago, shortly after I moved to my new house. It was a bit more readable book by Murakami than Kafka on the Shore or The Elephant Vanishes. There is a clear storyline with only a few mysterious or unclear passages, so it’s nothing like Norwegian Wood. I would recommend it to new Murakami readers because it is a bit in between.

After finishing After Dark I was doubting what to read after it. Because most of the books were still packaged in boxes I only had a limited choice and chose a book which is actually my girlfriends. However she didn’t had the time to read it yet.

The book I chose is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon:
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

I must say I really appreciate this book: it is a very good book written about the start of the comic industry in New York. Two Jewish boys start their own comic called The Escapist. That’s about how far I came so far (one third of the book) so I don’t know yet what will happen.

Escapist comic by Dark Horse
The book was written in 2000 and in 2004 Dark Horse comics created an issue of The Escapist together with Chabon. I think I’ll try to find this issue in the near future. ;)

In the end I don’t really think it is a book for my GF. She really did like the The Yiddish Policemen’s Union but that’s a completely different subject that this book.

Reading: After Dark by Haruki Murakami

Since I finished Densha Otoko (train man) I had to start with a new book. My girlfriend already packed most of our books because we’re moving so my choice was limited.

Lucky enough she didn’t pack After Dark by Haruki Murakami so I started with that book last night.

After Dark by Haruki Murakami

I must say that the book starts the usual Murakami style and the same goes for the atmosphere: a lot of references to his personal favorites. Makes me more curious to some reference to the background music of the part I read last night… I had the same with The Elepehant Vanishes: I even looked for secondhand Duke Ellington on Queensday and immeditately bought every single one I found.

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