Night life in Tokyo is portrayed in a vivid manner through Murakami’s narration in “After Dark.” The story revolves mainly around a girl named Mari and her 7-hour experience around the streets of Tokyo. She meets Takahashi, a trombone-player who admires her sister Eri Asai.
The novel’s plot is so simple yet I find the storyline very complex. It involves not only the typical city nightlife but also tackles the nocturnal lifestyle of people who are still awake during wee hours. I myself thought about Manila several times while reading “After Dark.” I remember the nights I strolled along Manila streets alone, or drank coffee together with friends, or moments I had intimate talks until 4 in the morning. The setting in “After Dark” is very similar to some my college night life. Considering that we are in the same Asian continent, it is not unusual that both people in Manila and Tokyo have a similar way of life.
The value of individuality is one of the highlights of “After Dark.” In the novel, the boyish Mari compares herself to her beautiful sister Eri Asai. Today, people give high regard to beauty and physical appearance. Whether we like it or not, people judge strangers primarily by looks. I am a victim of insecurity when it comes to how I look.
It is important to look at things ‘well and creatively’ according to Takahashi (one of the main characters in “After Dark”). Relating it to my current occupation which involves marketing and advertising, mere knowledge is not enough. We should look at all things in a different way and always criticize your own work. This way, you can come up with unique ideas to improve anything you do.
The voyeuristic approach of “After Dark” becomes the clearest way of telling Eri Asai’s story. Readers are immersed by Murakami into the room of Eri Asai herself. I, as a reader, imagined myself looking into a security camera observing everything Eri Asai was doing.
“After Dark” is just one of the many works of Murakami which are gaining popularity nowadays. I’ll definitely read another Murakami soon.