I’d have to say this one was a total eye opener and it felt like a whole new world was opened and you got to see a glimpse of it in a matter of 352 pages. Even that wasn’t enough, I thought. I just wanted to know more about a country I know
..." really nothing about.
What I really liked about the book is Adelstein takes the time to explain to the reader the social customs and practices the Japanese have in their society and he does so with concise clear detail which does not deviate from the main narrative and it’s very straight to the point. It gives the reader a good understanding on Japanese culture and custom, while at the same time providing an entertaining read. I really did enjoy the narrative voice throughout the book. It wasn’t boring, or dry. It was fun, entertaining and when it got down to the serious moments it had the appropriate change of tone that I thought was well done.
The funny moments in the book were just that. Extremely hilarious. The martial arts battle mentioned above has to be my favorite moment of the book. Picturing it, and reading it just made it altogether really funny and I found myself laughing out loud at that particular scene. There are plenty of funny moments all throughout the book, there’s plenty of jibes towards Adelstein by his co-workers and friends that produce a chuckle from the reader, an added bonus is the fact that he’s just learning the ropes of becoming a journalist. It’s like ‘picking on the rookie’ theme throughout the first half of the book.
As the book progresses, it does take a turn from funny to more seedy, and eventually to deadly serious. It’s a gradual change, and I liked it as it was a very smooth transition without a blip. When the narrative did get serious, it suddenly felt as if you were a child who thought playing a game wasn’t fun anymore. The comedy was out of the picture, replaced with a much darker theme and suddenly things just didn’t seem so happy anymore. The ending leaves the reader empty and sad, yet praises go to Adelstein for finding a worthy cause to support. Do note however there are violent descriptions, and sexual descriptions in the book (it’s to be expected considering the subject matter).
I definitely recommend this book for those curious about the underbelly of Japan and organized crime. It’s not what you think it is as depicted in movies. Read this as an eye opener, but also read it for entertainment as well. It’s a wonderful narrative with a serious message in the end. You can’t get anything better than this.Continua...Nascondi
He mouthed something to me in Japanese. He wouldn't leave behind an audible threat. It seemed like a threat to me, but then again I'm not good at lip-reading in any language. I responded nonverbally as well - a simple one-fingered gesture. That was
... all we had to say to each other.Continua...Nascondi
It was a lie, of course. I think he knew that it was a lie and that I knew that he knew. But it was necessary. It allowed him to take the gift, and I wanted him to have it. We do that in Japan. There is the public image, tatemae, the facade that
...de that must be maintained, and then there is what's really going on. The tatemae was that he was just borrowing the room. It worked for him and for me. 'Uso mo hoben' - lies are also skillful means - is a proverb that comes from a Buddhist sutra.Continua...Nascondi
'I am the fucking proof. It's true because I say it's true,' Shibata replied firmly, then stubbed his cigarette out on the windowsill. For a second, even with his pale and sunken face, I got a sense of the sheer force that had made him a
...e him a wet-your-pants kind of enforcer in his day. His look was that intense.Continua...Nascondi
What had saved my ribs was a boha vest. An antiknifing vest. If you're going to get killed in Japan, you're more likely to be stabbed to death than shot. The penalties for using a gun in a crime are steep; this encourages people to use knives. In
...ves. In recent years, the penalties for using a gun have gotten a lot steeper. It's a crime to own one, another crime to fire it, and an aggravating factor if you wound or kill someone with a firearm. This has brought about a revival of Japanese sword as a weapon of choice among the yakuza, which was why I wore a boha vest.Continua...Nascondi