64 of 72 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan (Hardcover)
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book -- most stories about Westerners moving to Japan are simple, ego-driven pieces of "finding yourself" trash.
I gotta say, though, that Tokyo Vice, while it might have fallen into this category, DOESN'T. Jake Adelstein knows his stuff, and the audience can figure that out in the first lines. This is no "ohmygosh-Japan-is-different-because-everyone-is-ASIAN-and-speaks-JAPANESE!" Instead, this is layer upon layer of real information, texture that I don't think anyone could pick up unless they were actually immersed in a culture, and written from a place far past the wide-eyed excitement of a first-time visitor.
The book has an interesting, engaging narrative, that stands on its own even without all the depth of knowledge the author brings. And, though the subject seems like it's straight out of fiction, it's not. I know more about the Japanese newspaper industry, the Tokyo Police Department, and the seedier aspects of life in Japan now than I ever have. And that's saying something.
Frankly, this book could have been a piece of garden variety, semi-racist, often lurid, pulp fiction. Instead, it's a thoughtful look back on an experience no one else on this earth has had.