Most places would be pleased with a mention in one of best-selling author Haruki Murakami‘s novels. But a small town on the northernmost island of Hokkaido is furious over one of the characters in his latest novella implying that people from their town are litterbugs, and is now demanding an explanation from the author’s publisher.
The eight members of Nakatonbetsu’s town assembly did not think that the portrayal of the people from their 1,900-strong village was at all amusing. According to Shuichi Takai, the head of the secretariat of the assembly, they are asking publisher Bungeishunju as to how they could allow such a passage to appear, as it does not show their people in a good light. Drive My Car – Men Without Women, a 24-page novella, tells the story of a series of conversations between a middle-aged actor and his 24-year-old chaffeuse, who was mentioned as a native of Nakatonbetsu. During one of their talks, she flips a cigarette outside the car and the actor thinks, “Probably this is something everyone in Nakatonbetsu commonly does.”
Takai says in reality, the townspeople are very much active in clean-up operations. In fact, just last spring, people voluntarily had a cleaning drive and collected litter from the public roads. He also said people there will never throw lit cigarettes on the road, as 90% of their town is “covered with mountain forests.” “We want to know why the name of a real town had to be used like that,” he said. The publisher said they had no comment to make since they have not received an official inquiry from the town.
[ via Telegraph ]