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Tune In Tokyo:The Gaijin Diaries [Kindle Edition]

Tim Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Everyone wants to escape their boring, stagnant lives full of inertia and regret. But so few people actually have the bravery to run – run away from everything and selflessly seek out personal fulfillment on the other side of the world where they don’t understand anything and won’t be expected to. The world is full of cowards. Tim Anderson was pushing thirty and working a string of dead-end jobs when he made the spontaneous decision to pack his bags and move to Japan. It was a gutsy move, especially for a tall, white, gay Southerner who didn’t speak a lick of Japanese. But his life desperately needed a shot of adrenaline, and what better way to get one than to leave behind his boyfriend, his cat, and his Siouxsie and the Banshees box set to move to “a tiny, overcrowded island heaving with clever, sensibly proportioned people who make him look fat”? In Tokyo, Tim became a “gaijin,” an outsider whose stumbling progression through Japanese culture is minutely chronicled in these sixteen hilarious stories. Despite the steep learning curve and the seemingly constant humiliation, the gaijin from North Carolina gradually begins to find his way. Whether playing drums on the fly in an otherwise all-Japanese noise band or attempting to keep his English classroom clean when it’s invaded by an older female student with a dirty mind, Tim comes to realize that living a meaningful life is about expecting the unexpected...right when he least expects it.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When Anderson decides his life in North Carolina is in a rut, he chooses to make a dramatic change and moves to Japan to teach English, as he chronicles in this hilarious, enlightening, and insightful memoir. Anderson is tall, white, and extremely gay—all things that distinguish him from the average person in Japan. His various adventures—accidentally stumbling into the adult area of Tokyo and learning that Japanese porn cuts out all the good parts; discovering the hard way the low standards some English academies have for their teachers; experiencing the joys of karaoke and experimental music—help Anderson begin to understand the differences between American and Japanese culture. A gifted writer, Anderson is sensitive to cultural differences, delightful in his irreverence, and astutely aware of himself and his particular perspective. His observations are often laugh-out-loud funny and will leave readers with the desire to travel and to keep turning the pages, wondering, by the end, where Anderson will travel to next.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

“Aside from such classroom encounters and problems of his own with the Japanese language that vaguely recall David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000), Anderson regales his readers with tales of Japanese popular culture and his own social life…” –Booklist

Product Details

  • File Size: 639 KB
  • Print Length: 294 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1612181317
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing; Reprint edition (November 29, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0050KIRE6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,481 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
136 of 143 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tuned Out But In Tokyo October 14, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The pleasure any reader will have in any travelogue depends on the personality of the author. Does he or she make a good travel companion? Tim Anderson is snarkily funny and doesn't complain. He plunges into the life of an English teacher in Tokyo with brio. Tokyo is one of my favorite cities and Anderson's narrative is often amusing. I'm not sorry I "visited" Tokyo again and glimpsed it again through his eyes. Tokyo is a fascinating city and Tim gives us all the surface glitz.

Don't expect great insights or to learn anything new about Japan.

I didn't mind that Tim was self-absorbed,ignorant and clueless at the beginning of the book. One travels to discover and learn. Or some of us do. But the typical chapter in this book will have Tim observing some typically Tokyo scene and then go off into some kind of fantasy riff as if the stuff happening in Tim's head was more real than what he was seeing. Worse, the fantasy seemed to shut off his natural curiosity about what he saw so he remained ignorant and was never driven to find out why.

At only one point did he come close to grasping an essential difference between Japan and America and that was in the chapter on karaoke. He notes that Americans hog the microphone playing the big star that they see in their heads. Then he talks about going out drunk with a group of Japanese who when one person sang would act like the back up singers/musical group. And he got into it--he liked being part of the group with everybody participating...but it didn't lead him to a better understanding of the importance of the group to the Japanese persona. At the end of the chapter he declares his intention of continuing to hog the microphone in the American Way.
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not too impressed, gomen ne January 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because it sounded like I had a lot in common with the author. I too, teach English in Japan (although not Tokyo) and I was excited to read a book detailing the adventures of another young gay guy in Japan.

Unfortunately, it kind of let me down. The writing, for me, was hard to follow. There were times when Mr. Anderson would launch into detailed fantasies mid-story. A lot of the times, it was hard to distinguish what he was actually seeing and doing and what he was just fantasizing about. Another thing that made the book hard to read was the use of really really long, detailed sentences that used several examples and descriptions and references all crammed into an incredibly long run-on-esque sentence that when I was in junior high and high school my teachers would always berate me about and threaten me with certain death unless I beat it into my poor hormonal, adolescent brain that it was wrong and I avoided them at all costs. <<< Kind of like that.

The result of this made want to fast forward to the end of several paragraphs to bypass all of the (at times) unnecessary description and fluff.

As for the content, I laughed a few times and I think the author was spot on in his description of certain things. Other times, I found myself raising an eyebrow at what I was reading. I felt a lot of times that I was just reading a big gay stereotype. Some of the references in the book maybe outdate me (sorry!), but it just felt like he was turning himself into a gay caricature to make a point.

Usually when moving to a new country and living there for an extended period of time, you change as a person. I didn't really get that from this book. If there was any self-realization or maturing, it didn't come through very strongly.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fish out of water story with details galore September 15, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The term "gaijin" (Japanese slang for "foreigner") actually has close literal roots to the term "hairy barbarian," the way westerners were viewed when the term was coined (and in many ways, still to this day).

I'm a fan of Japanese culture (three ex-girlfriends who were Jaoanese, JPOP and the cuisine, mostly) and over the years I've become educated in some of the "inside" details of the culture, like "kawaii" ("cute," but in a sugary, adolescent, "Hello Kitty" kind of way). I've also read Christopher Seymour's Yakuza Diary: Doing Time in the Japanese Underworld...which I highly recommend...because it's a book that balances the sunnier, goofy, sweetly eccentric aspects of the culture emphasized in Anderson's book with the more harsh, stark, day-to-day realities of life in Japan.

There are three kinds of "gaijins" who go to Japan in an attempt to immerse themselves in the culture:

1). The outsider. They arrive an outsider, remain an outsider, and leave an outsider

2). Those who "fit in," with varying degrees of success, primarily via making themselves "useful" (such as teaching English)

3). What Anderson describes as a "Japanger"..."the overwhelming feeling of frustration and displeasure, usually of Western people living in Japan, resulting from doing daily battle with the sometimes maddening idiosyncrasies and inscrutable behaviors of the Japanese people."

Where does Anderson, as a "gaijin" from the American South, fit into this picture? At different times during his adventure, he experiences a little of all three categories.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun read!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Tune in Tokyo; it's fun and froth and all dot, and when I reached the end I had a smile on my face! Read more
Published 7 days ago by Vellie
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed reading this memoir
Enjoyed reading this memoir; I traveled to Japan as a teenager. There are some hilarious moments where I laughed out loud. Read more
Published 13 days ago by mandalee
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Enjoyed it very much, amusing and intriguing
Published 26 days ago by victoria rauscher
1.0 out of 5 stars Filthy
The book goes to the life as i am not interested in encouraging or seeing so I stoped reading early on.
Published 27 days ago by Gary
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun read
Fun and entertaining story about his experience in Tokyo. Made me want to go and see the uniqueness that is japan for myself. One day.
Published 1 month ago by mrs
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Travels of a Fish out of Water.
This was a fun book about a stranger in a strange land. I enjoy when we Americans try to adjust to being outside our homes and this was a funny quirky look at someone who feel like... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rosalind R. Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Read!!!
This is an amazing narrative of life beyond what is known, I absolutely loved it. It's a must read any day of the week.
Published 1 month ago by Smitty
1.0 out of 5 stars couldn't even finish the book
I honestly could not make it through half the book. Tim's writing style is unique but it makes it very hard to read when every other paragraph is some wild daydream/fantasy that... Read more
Published 1 month ago by jTea
3.0 out of 5 stars Long Time Gone
Starts out as a hilarious cultural travelogue of Japan. Felt that the cultural comparisons became tedious long before the author's need to resolve his personal indecisiveness came... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rex
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book and can't wait to read it again!
I couldn't believe my luck in discovering this book in the Amazon store. I lived in Japan for two years and am now absolutely nostalgic. Read more
Published 2 months ago by puppetlady
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More About the Author

Tim Anderson is the author of Sweet Tooth and Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries, which Publishers Weekly called "laugh-out-loud funny," Shelf Awareness called "so much fun," and Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times completely ignored. He is an editor and lives in Brooklyn with his husband, Jimmy; his cat, Stella; and his yoga balance ball, Sheila. Tim also writes young adult historical fiction under the name T. Neill Anderson and blogs at seetimblog.blogspot.com. His favorite Little Debbie snack cake is the Fudge Round.

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