One significant detail that could easily have been missed appears out of nowhere in the middle of the story: when before Toru leaves Hatsumi the night after his dinner with her and Nagasawa, the narrator Toru suddenly changes the perspective to mention that, several years later, he finally came to understand the special feeling he got from Hatsumi while interviewing a painter. This implies that he became a journalist or some other kind of writer. Thus, he has probably been integrated into society and is on some kind of work-related trip flying to Germany. In that opening scene he is located in a specific place, Hamburg Airport, but he is painfully alone, a situation which allows memories of Naoko to arise easily. Does this mean that his call to Midori at the end of the novel ultimately failed, or did he end up marrying Midori and starting a family? It seems as though he has truly matured, as he began to towards the end of the novel, but at the same time he cannot escape his pain.