'I'm interested in ordinary people,' Murakami told me of his main protagonist, Kafka Tamura. 'I guess the people he's going to meet aren't ordinary in most cases, they're kind of weird, unrealistic characters. He himself is kind of ordinary and that is very important to me because I sympathise with those kind of people, I like to see the world through the eyes of ordinary people.
'The protagonists in my stories are basically alone but kind of positive. He's not pessimistic or negative, he's positive to life or to the world, and he's looking for the clue to solve the problem and for somebody he can communicate with. His attitude is important to me and I suppose readers will feel the same way - positiveness.'
After the massive success of Norwegian Wood ('It was war'), which has since been turned into a film, Murakami wanted to settle for more modest expectations, though the global furore over 1Q84 may have unsettled his ambition. 'I publish a novel every three years or so and my readers are waiting. That is good. They are very loyal to me, or addicted, so they are waiting for the publication of my next one. It's a very idealistic cycle: I write a book and they are waiting.' Here's to the next one!