In the years before COVID-19, Haruki Murakami fans gathered at Nobel prize-watching parties in eager anticipation of the announcement of the literature category, and year after year local TV showed actual tears of disappointment that the author had lost once more (as he did again on Thursday).

Yokohama resident Yoshio Osakabe, 80, is a longtime “harukisuto,” the name given to zealous fans of the writer. He maintained a meticulous and extensive website devoted to Murakami’s works from 2002 to 2019, and even ran in the same races as the author. Previously, he worked in English and German translation, and now volunteers at the Hamagin Space Science Center in Yokohama.

1. What was the first Haruki Murakami work you read? "Norwegian Wood."