“Living everyday in the presence of those who refuse to acknowledge your humanity takes great courage”
“You want to see a very bad man? Make an ordinary man successful beyond his imagination. Let’s see how good he is when he can do whatever he wants.”
“Learn everything. Fill your mind with knowledge—it’s the only kind of power no one can take away from you.” Hansu never told him to study, but rather to learn, and it occurred to Noa that there was a marked difference. Learning was like playing, not labor.”
“...a God that did everything we thought was right and good wouldn't be the creator of the universe. He would be our puppet.”
“There's nothing fucking worse than knowing that you're just like everybody else.”
“Sunja-ya, a woman’s life is endless work and suffering. There is suffering and then more suffering. It’s better to expect it, you know. You’re becoming a woman now, so you should be told this. For a woman, the man you marry will determine the quality of your life completely. A good man is a decent life, and a bad man is a cursed life—but no matter what, always expect suffering, and just keep working hard. No one will take care of a poor woman—just ourselves.” Mrs.”
“There was more to being something than just blood.”
“There was consolation: The people you loved, they were always there with you, she had learned. Sometimes, she could be in front of a train kiosk or the window of a bookstore, and she could feel Noa's small hand when he was a boy, and she would close her eyes and think of his sweet grassy smell and remember that he had always tried his best. At those moments, it was good to be alone to hold on to him.”
“You are very brave, Noa. Much, much braver than me. Living every day in the presence of those who refuse to acknowledge your humanity takes great courage.”
“No one is clean. Living makes you dirty.”
“because she would not believe that she was no different than her parents, that seeing him as only Korean—good or bad—was the same as seeing him only as a bad Korean. She could not see his humanity, and Noa realized that this was what he wanted most of all: to be seen as human.”
“But ideas can make men forget their own interests. And the guys in charge will exploit men who believe in ideas too much.”
“People are awful. Drink some beer.” Haruki”
“In Seoul, people like me get called Japanese bastards, and in Japan, I'm just another dirty Korean no matter how much money I make or how nice I am. So what the fuck?”
“Noa had been a sensitive child who had believed that if he followed all the rules and was the best, then somehow, the hostile world would change its mind. His death may have been her fault for having allowed him to believe such cruel ideals”
“All landowners who were foolish enough to stick around were shot. Communists see people only in simple categories.”
“His Presbyterian minster father had believed in a divine design, and Mozasu believed that life was like this game where the player could adjust the dials yet also expect the uncertainty of factors he couldn't control. He understood why his customers wanted to play something that looked fixed but which also left room for randomness and hope.”
“Patriotism is just an idea, so is capitalism or communism. But ideas can make men forget their own interests. And the guys in charge will exploit men who believe in ideas too much.”
“Even if there were hundred bad Japanese, if there was one good one, he refused to make a blanket statement”
“that a man must learn to forgive—to know what is important, that”
“People are rotten everywhere you go. They’re no good. You want to see a very bad man? Make an ordinary man successful beyond his imagination. Let’s see how good he is when he can do whatever he wants.” Sunja”
“Etsuko had failed in this important way—she had not taught her children to hope, to believe in the perhaps-absurd possibility that they might win. Pachinko was a foolish game, but life was not.”
“In the end, your belly was your emperor.”
“At this point in the course, everyone in the room despised Akiko, but suddenly he admired her courage to think so differently and to suggest such a difficult truth. He felt lucky to be at a university and not in most other settings, where the person in charge was always right. Nevertheless, until he really listened to Akiko disagree with the professor, he had not thought for himself fully, and it had never occurred to him to disagree in public.”
“What surprised him was that as he felt closer to death, he felt the terror of death, its very finality. There were so many things he had failed to do. There were even more things he should never have done.”
“The penalties incurred for the mistakes you made had to be paid out in full to the members of your family.”
“It was still hard for a Korean to become a Japanese citizen, and there were many who considered such a thing shameful—for a Korean to try to become a citizen of its former oppressor. When she told her friends in New York about this curious historical anomaly and the pervasive ethnic bias, they were incredulous at the thought that the friendly, well-mannered Japanese they knew could ever think she was somehow criminal, lazy, filthy, or aggressive—the negative stereotypical traits of Koreans in Japan.”
“It was much smaller than her own, but everyone seemed closer, as if each member were organically attached to one seamless body, whereas her enormous extended family felt like cheerfully mismatched Lego bricks in a large bucket.”
“Living every day in the presence of those who refuse to acknowledge your humanity takes great courage.”
“But life is too short to masturbate silently,”
“I look down and see my hands uncapping the pen, turning the notepad right-side up on my knees. My mouth is dry, my stomach is in knots, my life is over, my heart is broken.
I start to write.”
“Yes. Go away.” I stare at the ceiling. Having him this close makes me sad for some reason. Must be the drugs again. I never did like being on them. Wine is way better.
He takes my hand back. “Don’t be like that.”
“He laughed, slow and sexy. "Darlin', the only way this is ending is with me buried inside you.”
“Some things are jest too big to fergive.”
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