Perspicacious visitors to Travel Between The Pages have likely noted that I am a fan of Japanese author Haruki Murakami. As it turns out, we both share a passion for collecting T-shirts during our travels. In fact, we even have some of the same shirts. For example, we both own a Reykjavik University Tee. Awhile back I posted a story about Murakami’s partnership with a well known clothing store designing shirts. Now, the writer is releasing a new book about his T-shirt collecting habit, which is due for release in November in the U.S..
While we await the publication of Murakami T: The T-Shirts That I Love, Murakami has shared a teaser exerpt in the upcoming issue of The New Yorker magazine. Murakami discusses one of his favorite shirts, red with a Heinz ketchup label that says “I PUT KETCHUP ON MY KETCHUP.” You can read the entire article at the New Yorker: and here’s a sample:
This T-shirt has a straightforward message: “I PUT KETCHUP ON MY KETCHUP.” Now, that’s the statement of somebody who is seriously in love with ketchup. It kind of teases those Americans who put ketchup on everything, but I find it interesting that one of the companies that distribute these shirts is none other than Heinz. A little self-deprecatory humor going on here, but you can’t help feeling the American spirit in it, the optimistic, cheerful lack of introspection that says, “Who cares about being sophisticated! I’m gonna do what I want!”
When I walk around town in this shirt, Americans sometimes call out, “Love the shirt!” The ones who do this usually have that “I love ketchup” look about them. Sometimes I feel like coming back with a “Hey, don’t lump me in with you guys,” but usually I just give a cheerful “Yeah, pretty nice, huh? Ha-ha.” This kind of T-shirt communication does a lot to liven things up. You’d never find that happening in Europe. For one thing, Europeans by and large hardly ever eat ketchup.