I am currently reading Haruki Murakami’s Novelist as a Vocation, and I thought this was an interesting passage. I hope everyone enjoys it.
One bright afternoon in April 1978, I attended a baseball game at Jingu Stadium in downtown Tokyo. It was the Central League season opener, first pitch at one o’clock, the Yakult Swallows against the Hiroshima Carp. I was already a Yakult fan in those days, and the stadium was close to my apartment, so I sometimes popped in to catch a game when I was out for a stroll.
Back then, Yakult was a perennially weak team, with little money and no flashy big-name players. Naturally, they weren’t very popular. Season opener it may have been, but only a few fans were sitting beyond the outfield fence. I stretched out with a beer to watch the game. At the time there were no bleacher seats, just a grassy slope. It was a great feeling. The sky was a sparkling blue, the draft beer was cold as cold could be, and the ball strikingly white against the green field, the first green I had seen in a long time. To fully appreciate a baseball game, you really have to be there in person!
Yakult’s first hitter was Dave Hilton, a rangy newcomer from the United States and a complete unknown. He batted in the leadoff position. The cleanup hitter was Charlie Manuel, who later became famous as the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. Then, though, he was a real stud, a slugger Japanese fans had dubbed, “the Red Demon.”
I think Hirohima’s starting pitcher that day was Satoshi Takahashi. Yakult countered with Takeshi Yasuda. In the bottom of the first inning, Hilton slammed Takahashi’s first pitch into left field for a clean double. The satisfying crack when bat met ball resounded through Jingu Stadium. Scattered applause rose around me. In that instant, and based on no grounds whatsoever, it suddenly struck me: I think I can write a novel.
I can still recall the exact sensation. It was as if something had come fluttering down from the sky and I had caught it cleanly in my hands. I had no idea why it had chanced to fall into my grasp. I didn’t know then, and I don’t know now. Whatever the reason, it had taken place. It was like a revelation. Or maybe “epiphany” is a better word. All I can say is that my life changed drastically and permanently altered in that instant when leadoff hitter Dave Hilton belted that beautiful ringing double at Jingu Stadium.