I'm an aikido practitioner (even if I study a different style from the one depicted here), so I picked the book out of curiosity.
To sum it up very briefly, I've got the impression (on the basis of this book and some of his biographical notes on it) that Mr.Twigger routinely picks very strange ways to pass his time, probably with an eye to write books about his experiences.
This is all fine and good, and the book itself is amusing and competently written, but it will probably end up causing most Aikido students to be disappointed (if not enraged) by the author's attitude towards something they probably consider very important to them.
Many have criticized this book treatment of teachers and students, while others were offended by the superficial treatment of japanese life. I'm not qualified to speak about Japan, but I agree that in the end the commitment of Twigger seems lacking, and that most of his description seems tinted by the desire to get at the end of his ordeal more than by actually wanting to get better at Aikido.
Try to picture a non-belligerant, unfit, intellectually oriented individual (a geek?) who joins the Marines in order to write a book on what it takes to be a Marine, and then starts having second thoughts, depicting everything like a militaristic, cult-like, oppressive experiment in brainwashing, but still persists.
Don't be surprised if his view on the training and the people he meets through it are not exactly objective (just as a book written by a fanatical aikidoka would be far from objectivity...).
So, in the end, read it for pleasure, but please don't use it to to draw any conclusion about Japan culture or Aikido....Continua