Prosecco N Prose | A Book Club

"On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning" by Haruki Murakami

April 13, 2022 Wendy & Amy Season 4 Episode 35
"On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning" by Haruki Murakami
Prosecco N Prose | A Book Club
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Prosecco N Prose | A Book Club
"On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning" by Haruki Murakami
Apr 13, 2022 Season 4 Episode 35
Wendy & Amy

Wendy and Amy look at a one-sided love affair. / Haruki Murakami's written of a perfect pair. / Does the boy take a chance to make a love connection? / Pop a cork to seeing your 100% perfection.

Show Notes:
Author Website: Haruki Murakami
Link to short story:
“On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning”
Lyrics Page Mentioned:
Oliver Fox’s
article “The Four Pillars of Romance” from Writers Write  Blog.
Drunken Pen Writers Podcast/Website

Next Episode: Tillie Cole's A Thousand Boy Kisses  paired with Jules Prosecco Rosé 


Show Notes Transcript

Wendy and Amy look at a one-sided love affair. / Haruki Murakami's written of a perfect pair. / Does the boy take a chance to make a love connection? / Pop a cork to seeing your 100% perfection.

Show Notes:
Author Website: Haruki Murakami
Link to short story:
“On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning”
Lyrics Page Mentioned:
Oliver Fox’s
article “The Four Pillars of Romance” from Writers Write  Blog.
Drunken Pen Writers Podcast/Website

Next Episode: Tillie Cole's A Thousand Boy Kisses  paired with Jules Prosecco Rosé 


Prosecco N Prose | Season 4 | Episode 35 | “On seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful April morning” by Haruki Murakami.

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Co-hosts: Wendy and Amy                   

Amy (A): Welcome to Prosecco and Prose Episode 35.

Wendy (W): This week’s prosecco is Albino Armani Prosecco Rosé

A: This week’s prose is “On seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful April morning” by Haruki Murakami.                        

 * * * INTRO * * *  

W: We’re back with a short story this week.

A: A very, very short story, might I add; it’s only three pages long.

W: The title is nearly longer than the story.

A: You know, I was thinking that, too.

W: Amy, be a voice, not an echo, but it was an interesting one to cover for our season of romance.

A: I mean it’s different, but let’s first introduce our prosecco, this Albino Armani Prosecco Rosé. Now if you recall, we had the regular Albino Armani way back in … gosh when was that do you remember?

W: I didn’t, so I looked it up because I was curious to see what we thought of it. It was before we started rating them in Season 2 with the Red, White & Royal Blue episode.

A: Oh yeah! We thought the label screamed royalty.

W: This label is very similar, that one was a silver border on plain white, and this one the rose one is a foil pink border on cream. Really pretty and simple.

A: And we thought would be a perfect pair to this short, but this story isn’t exactly simple. It is, but then again, it also kind of isn’t.

W: I agree, and I know you’re itching to talk about it, but Amy we’ve got to tell people about this prosecco.

A: I know, I know. So really quickly; it’s a DOC, Extra Dry, 11% alcohol, we paid $15.99 for it, and Vivino rated it a 4.1. I think that’s the highest rating I’ve ever seen on a Prosecco.

W: Me, too, but we’ve got to remember that we’re really sticking to $20 and under. Yes. Maybe one season we’ll splurge and see what ratings we get then.

A: We’d have to pair some pretty prestigious prose with that pricey prosecco though.

W: You’re full of ideas chocked full of alliteration; I try … I have no doubt you can come up with something good, but not right now. I see your gears working, come back to me Amy!

A: What am I supposed to do when you drop a challenge?

W: I’m sorry. Write it down and let’s move on to the present and this Albino Armani Prosecco Rosé.

A: Already noted in my book.  

W: Just don’t forget which of your 100 roughly estimated notebooks you wrote it in…

A: Also duly noted.

W:  Okay from the bottle, I can read it today: “Italians love to celebrate and start a meal with Prosecco. In this Prosecco Rosé the crispy taste of green apple from Glera grapes marries the floral and red berry notes of Pinot Noir. The Pinot also adds a delicate pink rosé color because life is better in rose.” I feel like they could have said Rosé .My grandpa did tell us he wore rose-colored glasses for that very reason.

A: Oooh He sounds like a gem. I love those glasses on today. 

W: Thank you it was so I could read. He was. Now we also have on this bottle the ratio of Glera and Pinot Noir grapes. 

A: Oooh! We haven’t had that yet. Now it has to be made with at least 85% Glera grape, if I remember correctly.

W: You do.

A: I’m telling you, this prosecco stuff just sticks with me. I mean why couldn’t that have been a course in school?

W: Well, it is. If you go to wine school,

A: True. True So… what’s the ratio?

W: Well It’s 90% Glera and 10% Pinot Noir.

A: Oooh that makes sense…might also explain the lighter color from last week's dark orange prosecco, right though we didn’t get that ratio. I mean it’s a much more salmony-pink this week,....however, looking at it…it does depend on what you hold it against. Cuz I have some white notes and put it against some blackness. 

W: Yes, definitely lighter. It’s like a coral pink to me. I do see more orange than pink, though.

A: Definitely can see the orange. Not a heavy mousse on the pour this time.

W: No, not at all, but there’s a decent amount of perlage in the glass. I mean I’ve got lots of bigger bubbles and some nice streams rising from the bottom.

A: Very persistent, indeed. I mean I have streams and bubbles all over as well. And I agree, the bubbles are definitely larger. They are at least in my glass. They rise up and leave like a creamy sliver of bubbles around the edge. I love watching them pop. It’s relaxing.

W: Don’t get too mesmerized, we’ve got prose to discuss!

A: Oooh I promise, I can tear myself away as this piece was super interesting.

W: It was. What are you getting on the sniff test?

A: Well, let me see…It’s definitely citrus …. There’s definitely citrus There’s also a floral to it ….im also grabbing a little bit of a faint berries, but can’t really pick a specific berry out, yet. What about you?

W: there’s something sweet about it. Floral too it. I’m getting like a honey flower. There’s a sweet smell to it. Said it’s extra dry. 

A: Yeah maybe! Sort of like honeysuckle. . . I need to taste it to see if it’ll bring up something else. Like my green apple.

W: Well, it’s citrus, it’s kind of a I am ahead of you…it’s kind of a sweet citrus, but what’s really interesting is that it’s way less fizzy in the mouth than I was expecting with all the bubbles in the glass.

A: Oooh…Especially with all the big bubbles we’re seeing. It’s really not giving off that bubbly feel at all. Remember the last episode? I mean we had pretty much no bubbles in the glass and it was pretty fizzy in the mouth.

W: It’s not it’s kind of strange. Anyway, I can smell some berries after tasting.

A: Yeah, I’m getting stronger berries on the nose now, but still not anything specific. What I am trying to kind of imagine is a like pureed berries all mixed together. On the smell, I mean. But for taste, it’s almost kind of lemony. Not tart but lemony

W: Hmmm …. Can’t say I’m getting lemon. There’s something citrus, but not that for me. 

A: Also smell more citrus after tasting, but unfortunately, I’m I’m not getting my green apple. Boo!

W: Not yet, maybe it’ll come.

A: Holding onto hope here, but I do like this so far, it’s … I mean It’s … Let me see, how would I describe this?

W: I think it’s like summer in a glass.

A: Oooh that is so good. I’m begging for summer at this point!  

W: Aren’t we all, but it’s right around the corner. It’s a little sweeter, but not too much. It’s pretty good.

A: Very good, but like I said still no green apple. Patience is not my strongest virtue. You don’t say. Go ahead and tell our friends about our author. Let’s move on.

W: Now I had heard of Haruki Murakami, but it wasn’t until I was doing a bit of research on him that I learned just how incredibly popular he is. He’s a Japanese writer and translator and has published some 24 plus books.

A: Yeah he’s a BFD.

W:  Yes he is. And that’s not even a complete list, as not all of his works have even been translated. He’s won loads of honors and prizes and has been praised as among the world’s greatest living novelists.

A: I read that his work’s been translated into more than 50 languages. Wow. His most popular works are Kafka on the Shore and The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. He himself has translated the works of Fitzgerald, isn’t that cool; yeah…Truman Capote, Raymond Carver, John Irving and others …. He’s translated them into Japanese.

W: He writes in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and crime fiction, but is best known for his use of magical realist elements.

A: Definitely saw that in this piece.

W: Honestly, I had no idea just how huge he was and we can’t possibly talk about it all, that would be a whole episode at least, but if you read this piece or even something else and are intrigued to know more, I encourage you to dig into the googlewebs and look him up.

A: I love going down rabbit holes.

W: We both love that. Just so many interesting things out there.

A: And not enough time for all of it.

W: Never. But Murakami, 73, has a cult-like following and is incredibly fascinating. I kind of can’t believe I hadn’t read anything of his before this. 

A: Yeah me neither, but I now have The Elephant Vanishes, which is a collection of 17 stories that were written between 1980 and 1991. I mean this episode’s short story, “On see the 100% perfect girl one beautiful April morning” whoooo…it’s a mouthful. . . is included in this collection. It’s number 4 in the book. 

W: I can’t remember where we found this short story, though, do you?

A: I do, and interestingly, it’s on a lyrics page,, tagged as non-music and literature. I’ll put the link in our show notes….

W: That is rather interesting. As is the story and a very quick read, at, as we mentioned, only three pages long.

A: Yes, and before we get to the summary, I want to talk about one of my new favorite podcasts, the Drunken Pen Writers. These guys are so legit and so fun. They did a six-part Murakami Minute series, as they called it, and discussed all the short stories in The Elephant Vanishes as well as the short story collection First Person Singular.

W: They are very good and it was really, really interesting. They made me want to read the whole book.

A: Working on it as we speak…well not literally right now…thank goodness but anyway. The hosts, Caleb James and Spencer Church they are super intelligent and have very insightful discussions, but more importantly, they are flipping hilarious. 

W: They are and that’s always a huge plus. Always They covered this story, “One seeing the 100% perfect girl” in part 2, yes it was part 2 but the rest of the episodes are well worth the listen.

A: So agree. We had so much fun that afternoon. They break down their episodes into themes. So looking forward to tackling those, but I especially love their DBS episodes. I mean DBS meaning Drunken BS …. No further explanation needed. I’m telling you…so funny. 

W: I haven’t listened to any of those yet.

A: Don’t do it while Ruffino is sleeping. I woke Josh up laughing  my fat tail off after I found their DBS episode on James Joyce’s love letters to Nora. Ah…Warning, it’s explicit, just to let you guys know if that’s not your thing, but O.M.G. so, so funny.

W: I’ve got to check that one out.

A: He was irritated with me as I woke him out of a deep sleep. Will have to check that out. And, you were not lying when you found out about Nora and Jim’s first date, remember the handy from his story “Eveline?”

W: Yes. I’ve been regretting telling you about it ever since.

A:I’m sure you do. Just go listen. I’ll re-listen with you and watch the bubbles pop in my glass. It’ll be great.

W: Actually it does sounds like it.

A: Fun times…They also do an Inebriated Reading Challenge, Book of the Month, a Classic Reading Series…just a bunch of stuff. I can’t believe I haven’t found these guys until now. 

W: Tons of us book community podcasters out there…and we’re all here to support each other. 

A: Right…we’ve made a ton of friends, and I’d love to introduce our friends from Drunk Guys Book Club to the Drunken Pen Writers. That’s a mouthful. Say that five times fast. If we added a little Prosecco N Prose, we could have a triad-of-a-party.

W: We definitely wouldn’t be thirsty.

A: Or run out of books to talk about. I mean…So fun, check these guys out, the Drunken Pen Writing Podcast. Alright, summary?

W: So this story is really just a story in our unnamed narrator’s mind. He sees a girl on the street, decides she’s his 100% perfect girl, then creates a whole fantasy around that idea. He imagines they meet as teenagers; they decide they’re 100% perfect for each other, but they want to test it, just to be sure.

A: Right…So they decide to separate. Um if they are meant to be, they will meet up again and tie the knot.

W: Now remember, this is still all just his fantasy of how it would’ve gone if he had actually talked to her.

A: So dreamy.

W: So they part, both get very sick with a terrible bout of influenza that wipes their memories.

A: Like total amnesia.

W: But they eventually recover, are able to perform the tasks of normal functioning adults, paragraph cracked me up…and even find love again, but only at 75% or 85%. Until, one day, in their early 30s, they pass each other on the street again, and they feel something, they are the 100% perfect person for the other, but their memories are too weak, so they pass into the crowd.

A: I know we aren’t really doing lit terms this season, but this is such a perfect example of a frame story. We’ve got the narrator telling us his story, while also telling us the story outside of it. If that makes sense. Outside or inside if you can call it a dream/fantasy…anyway.

W: Yes! Didn’t even think of that, but he starts, by telling his friend about the girl, then goes in and creates a whole story about him and this woman on the street, and then comes back out to tell us the story he just told is what he should've said to her the very morning he saw her.

A: Exactly. I mean definitely has those magical realistic elements he’s so well known for.

W: Yes. I didn’t know what to think of this story at first. Couldn’t tell how I felt really, but his work is one that definitely benefits from a reread or two, I so agree…

A: Love it! You’re coming around to my way of thinking. I have to say I didn’t like the narrator, but I did like Murakami’s writing and this story.

W: Yeah, I remember you saying that and I remember our narrator didn’t win much empathy from me, but I also don’t think that was the point.

A: I totally agree. Tropes?

W: Now we kind of went digging to find tropes with this one, since it’s kind-of not a love story.

A: Well, we’ll figure that out later when we put it to the Oliver Fox’s Romance Pillars test, but we did feel like we stretched a bit when searching for tropes.

W: We did, but it was fun kind-of trying to shape the story in that way. You guys might think we’re way off mark, you might agree, you might have others you saw ….

A: …But whatever you’re thinking, we’d love to get your feedback. I hope you’ll get the 100% urge to rate and/or review us, on apple and now even Spotify, if that’s where you listen ….

W: Please do! Don’t let it be a sad story of where you wished you’d said something.

A: Don’t want that. No No…Thanks in advance for your support. Now tropes … We thought about amnesia, because of the illness wiping out their memories.

W: Or the one that got away. And really in his story, they both got away, you could say.

A: Then we thought maybe love at first sight, but that didn’t feel true to the story. The narrator seems to feel something at first sight, feels she’s perfect as he tells us, buther side of that only comes from his mind. They don’t meet and fall deeply in love.

W: No. Maybe a tragic love affair, the fact that it’s all just a figment of his imagination and he, or they, never experience love.

A: On that note, you could stretch it and say maybe even cursed. I mean the narrator is under the spell of his own story, but never you know can have it actually realized because he’s scared or nervous or doubts someone could even love him. He seems like a real loner.

W: Yeah Poor guy. He’s shy. Now I think, we both do, really, that the best romance trope fit for this one might be unobtainable love interest. Or a one-sided love.

A: Yes. Yes We know he sees her. We know he has this whole fantasy about how their love story will go, but it’s not at all clear that she even saw him, our narrator, let alone had any feelings for him.

W: Exactly. So I would say it’s definitely one-sided. Yes I agree. And there’s no way it’ll ever be obtainable if the only thing they do is pass on the street and then he goes home and builds the story only in his mind.

A: So with all that said, let’s look let’s go ahead and look at Oliver Fox’s article from the Writer’s Write blog, “The 4 Pillars of Romance,” and see if it fits being a romance.

W: It could very well not. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good story, it just might not be a romance story, per se.

A: And Murakami may not have even intended it to be a romance story, but we liked it, and think this could it might be a fun exercise, or at least interesting, so my friend… Pillar 1: The Couple: Lover and Beloved.

W: I think we have this one, at the very least our unnamed narrator is the lover and the unnamed girl on the street is the beloved.

A: Off to a good start. However, ….

W: …. Where’s the pursuit?

A: Oh, exactly! The narrator is lonely and wants someone special in his life. I think we can agree with this.  I found it kind of sad that even the nameless person he’s telling this to at the beginning, about seeing the perfect girl, is bored with his story before it even starts. I think it kind of shut our narrator down.

W: Yeah…I found it interesting that he begins his fantasy, his fairytale of the two of them meeting, with once upon a time. 

A: Oooh I did, too. I did too. But he does have some inner dialogue about what he should say, how he can approach her as the distance between them closes. I called it his 50-yard pursuit.

W: His story lasted longer than his pursuit.

A: But I’m just saying I do think we get the…what he actually wants, I mean you know a partner; a bit of the how he’s going to get it, and…it fails; and then why he wants it, he’s so lonely and maybe desperate.

W: Okay. I'll agree to that. We have the first pillar. check Let’s see about Pillar 2: The Obstacles: Rivals, Taboos, and Loved Ones—Oh My! I can’t say I see any of these here.

A: Wendy, it’s just so obvious … I mean he’s his own rival. Eh! He’s so introverted that he seems to be practically afraid of his own shadow. And she, you know the beloved, may have a rival of her own. Remember the letter she’s carrying? Oooh. The one he thinks might be full of warm secrets?

W: I do, and I guess so. No one else is really in his way, only himself.

A: Yes, so I’m going to go ahead and say we’ve now got Pillar 2.

W: Okay, I’ll accept that evidence.

A: Check, check. Now Pillar 3: The Romantic Arc: Winning and Losing and…Winning Back Again? is kind of where things start to go off the rails, but we’re going to try.

W: But Will you top off my Prosecco, please, first? I’m 100% loving this! The bottle is closer to you.

A: So know….I think maybe I am starting to get some apple as it warms up, but it’s not tart. More like Fiji sweet, its just not tart. Still though, it’s really…a really nice Prosecco. 

W: I’ve got a hint of cherry and maybe a crab apple. I’m going to fill mine up too. Prosecco Hog. We had a tree way at the back end of the farm and we’d go pick ‘em and be quite proud of our self-sustaining snack, because if you went into the house saying you were hungry, you were liable to get put to work.

A: I love your thinking on how to evade chores. You had too. I had my own set of sneakies I’ll share sometime when we have more time. I bet you do. My mom would probably list them.  However, the romantic arc…back on track…times a wasting. So the two lovers never actually meet, the narrator only sees her in passing, but it’s clear he does fall for her.

W: Yes, even though he says she’s not a great person to look at.

A: That was so funny. It’s a feeling, Wendy, a feeling. That’s what this story is about, it’s a very sensual touchy, feely, looky story, it's a very sensory story.

W: Yes, it is.

A: And he’s willing to look within a person, beyond the outer shell.

W: Philosopher Amy here and her pearls of wisdom.

A: Well, just my thoughts. So in real life, in the real life part of the story that’s the end of the story. There is no arc in that frame. 

W: Agree. Agree.

A: But you know in his dream story, the fantasy story he has his pickup line, you know the “once upon a time” line…Josh uses it in sarcasm…so that definitely wouldn’t work for me. 

W: Me neither…

A: With that line, our narrator wins his beloved over because they both feel they’ve found their 100% perfect other. Right? They grow closer in their short chat, but then the narrator issues a challenge — he says like hey, if we are truly meant to be, let's test it, just once. Just once…yes just once. We’ll go our separate ways, and if we come back, then it was truly meant to be. Just strange. 

W: So they do and well that’s the end, he loses her. Even in his fantasy he doesn’t get the girl. I mean, if you're going to win somewhere, shouldn’t it at least be there?

A: Fair point, but I don’t think he believed in himself enough to let that happen. Even if it was just a fantasy. And also, it might have hurt more to think it could’ve happened if he’d just said something that one beautiful April morning. 

W: Maybe, maybe not. Im in dream land. Guess that’s up to the reader to decide.

A: Yes I agree, so, now I think we do have pillar 3. Check, check, check. Yes check. Round 3. They don’t always win their beloved. We obviously know this.

W: No they don’t. Last one, Pillar 4: The Lover’s Sacrifice. I’m ready to hear your argument on this one.

A: Okay, so no real sacrifice in the outer frame story, I mean unless you want to say he sacrificed the opportunity to at least speak to his beloved on the street. To say something, anything, to at least get her attention.

W: Yeah he sacrificed his potential happiness right up front.

A: Oh yeah exactly, but in the inner story, the sacrifice was for them to separate and then let fate bring them back together again.

W: Yeah but that didn’t work out so well. 

A: No, not so much. The obstacle, didn’t think about this being an obstacle until now, but the obstacle of illness forced them to forget. I mean still trying to figure out how influenza can give you amnesia … I mean both of them at the same time? 

W: It’s fiction, Amy. 

A: I guess, but his goal was not strong enough to achieve, neither in the real world, nor in his fantasy world.

W: He needs better fantasies, that’s all I’m saying. You’re the master of your fate here! Take control! But I do think we’ve shown it does, sort-of follow the 4 pillars of romance. It might be a pretty loose interpretation, but it’s there. Checkity, check, check…

W: Check…. I do have to say I think so, but we’re happy to hear from you guys, our listeners…want to know your thoughts. DM us! 

A: And tell us what we should read next by Haruki Murakami.  Agree Definitely will finish reading The Elephant Vanishes; um the rest of the stories in that book. I’m really intrigued. His writing is different. But I like it. 

W: Yeah…Me, too.

A: You know, it kind of reminds me of “Haunting Olivia” by Karen Russell. Remember that episode. You know with her magical elements set in the real world.

W: Oh yeah. That was a great story as well.

A: Loved love discussing it… And this Prosecco? You have any thoughts on Albino Armani Prosecco Rosè? I could smell a bit more citrus as I was drinking, but never really got tart green apple, just a sweet one. It's good, not complaining.

W: No, not at all. And I see you finished the bottle…100%. I did get a bit of grapefruit rind and it was so, so good with the dark chocolate.

A: The entire season so far is better with chocolate…just had a thought…you know that first night and day after your husband leaves on a deployment?

W: Yes. It’s horrible.

A: I know, it is, but this rosé and a huge bar of dark chocolate would be a 100% perfect pairing. So my military friends, my forever friends…next time, which I always hope doesn’t happen, but we know the deal, grab your best friend, a bottle of Prosecco Rosé, this Albino Armani is a good one, and the biggest bar of dark chocolate you can find, and then….

W: …Just be each other’s support for the days and months ahead.

A: Yeah, no real easy way around it. Now besides the chocolate, I’d love to put some berries, orange slices, maybe an apple slice and make it into a sangria.

W: Oooh, that would be good. I don’t really know what else I would pair it with, maybe a creamy cheese?

A: Hmmm…I don’t know if I’m feeling cheese with this. Maybe eggs? Kind of like a brunch rose?

W: Maybe. Or a shrimp cocktail or veg platter. I don’t know. It’s really good just like this.

A: And with the chocolate.

W: You know, I did write down what the website said. Totally forgot. Here … they said, “the fresh aromas and the delicate fruity taste, make Prosecco Rosé a versatile and eclectic wine, ideal to be paired with several dishes: obviously theme of the season from appetizers to light pasta dishes, to vegetable risotto, fish soups, white meat, stir fried mushrooms, without forgetting fresh and middle-aged cheese.” Lot of stuff Hmmm…I can see the risotto.

A: Well, hot-diggity dam, I guess we’ll have to get another bottle and try it since you know I finished this one. 

W: And didn’t even share the last drop…but alright…there you go twisting my arm. But only in the name of research, though, of course.

A: Of course. I think this Prosecco would be really pleasing to many. It’s very good, definitely worth the $15.99, and I give it a 4.1.

W: Agree on all of that and I give it a 4.1 as well. Great short story, great bottle of bubbly.

A: I think we call that a win-win. A 100% perfect match.

W: Yes, it is. We’ll be back in two weeks, with more prose, A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole, and more Prosecco, Jules Prosecco Rosé.