“Welcome to the NHK” by Tatsuhiko Takimoto

29 05 2008

“Welcome to the NHK”
by Tatsuhiko Takimoto
(Japan)

It took me 3 days to read the whole book.

The story begins with Tatsuhiro Satou, a recluse – he is one of the so-called “hikkikomori” which are people who lock themselves in their house afraid of interacting with people and the society. He thought that there is a conspiracy that is trying to bring him down, an evil organization that aims to keep him the way he is. Yet, all it takes to solve his hikkikomori problems was to meet up with a girl named Nakahara Misaki who wanted to help him remove his disorder. But along the way, his high school classmate and next door neighbour who is partly a hikkikomori named Yamazaki Kaoru met with him and shared the ideas about women and happiness through “eroge” or erotic games.

Let me start this book reflection by telling everyone reading this to please follow these advices of mine: Don’t do drugs; Don’t make bombs; Don’t try to commit suicide; and Do not download child porn. I warn you if you ever read this book, it’s contained with information about drugs, violence, bombs, eroticism and things which some I’m glad were reconsidered from being included in the anime series.

I apologize for those who were expecting this to be a journal on the anime series or the manga. This is about the original novel to which the ideas were taken from – well some of them that is.

The anime series is a lot lighter. It includes a romantic element on it between Satou and Misaki, Satou and Hitomi, and Yamazaki and Nanako (Nanako never materialized in the novel but the anime wanted to create her to make some kind of completeness and story to the character of Yamazaki’s girl) rather than following the dark contents from the novel. The manga is more devoted to the original novel and of course the novel is the god of them all hehehehe. anyway…

Takimoto’s interpretation on the novel in comparison to the anime series is just mind-blowing. For every page I turn, there are always issues that brings me into deep reflections – many were dealt with in the anime series but the novel catches your mind a lot more with the language that can sometimes go beyond the reasonable and it had made me sort of involved with the crazy world they made – the only difference is that I’m not the one high on drugs.

It’s funny how the character of the narrator Satou seem to send the message that these thoughts are all his and we should care a lot more with what we think and what our worldview is all about – in short, we should just mind our own business.

But I have to point out one very important reflection. It’s when we think too much about our failures in life – with accepting defeat and the fact that we are useless and no-gooders in this world. We even go through thoughts of suicide which amazes me cause it’s always one of the options being considered by depressed people.

In this book, I was so drawn with the idea of happiness according to the narrator. That our loneliness is caused by our interactions and relations with people. We refuse to feel hurt by how other people will react towards our utterances and actions. Yet we also refuse the so-called half-assed sense of happiness – partial happiness in simple terms – which brings the conclusion of being a loner as the best solution.

But this is something that I found worth reflecting as I read the part when Satou and Misaki were about to finish the hikkikomori program… Once we actually move on in our lives – whether by our own actions or through a certain miracle – we will suddenly suppress those depressing thoughts from our minds and come to the conclusion that life is great despite how mysterious it may be. And Satou was able to realize that in the book.

Another issue I found was on the idea of “conspiracy” according to the narrator – that there is an “evil” entity (or organization) conspiring to bring individuals down from moving on with life. That evil is something people want to disperse and as bad as it may sound, religion and gods seem to be one of the ways that evil can be defeated.

But the idea in this book is that “evil” is not something that is external from the individual. Evil is something that is within us and we – the self – are the only witnesses to that evil.

What message this brings to us is that we have the evil in our own lives as well as the good. Each individual have created their own little world so that they can tell to themselves that “this is how I understand life” or “this is how I understand the universe” or “this is how I perceive love, hate, romance and erotic sex”.

We have created these entities in our minds in order to accept who we are and tell the world to respect it. This brings me to this philosophy that I have taken by heart – Anything is possible in every human being! What stops us from that idea is fear and choice. Consider this! And I hope people who would read the book can find something valuable from it with regards to life and how you can believe in the limitless possibilities of being a human being.

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