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 30 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 16 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.
©2012 Tim Anderson (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I had started out getting the Kindle version and was part way through it and when I discovered it was available on Audible I got it quick! Audio books work out so much better for me that I was glad I could switch to the Audible format to hear the rest of the book.
I really enjoyed the story of the author's adventures in Japan. I thought it was an often funny story and would recommend it!
The Audible version is also a great example of how the right reader can really make the story great! He sounds a lot like Mathew McConaughey to me and does great with his accents when he's describing some of the other foreign characters in the story.
I think it's really worth the 'credit'!
This is a fun history of an average guy getting out of a rut in middle America by going to teach English in Japan. If you are interested in Japan and like travel stories, you will probobly enjoy this. Sections are not family friendly, but as the voice of the book is that of a 20 something out on an adventure, that should probobly be expected.
A tiny little story
I've travelled and lived in Japan and love the country. This book was on a 5 dollar sale and thought it would be worth a try. The book is read by MacLeod Andrews who has a pleasant voice well matched to the tone of the book. The story itself is about a 20ish gay person visiting Japan for the first time to teach English. The book basically it a collection of experiences and interesting intervals which he encountered.
It would depend on the topic, I think he wrote pretty much all he could about Tokyo in this book.
The voice of the author is well suited for the tone of the book. Which in many cases is a bit cynical but funny. Speaking Japanese myself I
To book is good for some slow giggles and best enjoyed when relaxing or commuting.
Very easy to listen to, you can just zone in and zone out and not miss the actual story (mainly because these are little unconnected anecdotes). Perfect for quick city rides, because you can just listen to it for 7-8 minutes and still get some entertainment out of it.
Out of all the David Sedaris wannabes, this one actually comes closest to being occasionally funny. He is from Raleigh, NC - Check. He is gay - Check. He travels to Japan without speaking much of the language - Check. It won't have you roll around laughing, but good entertainment value.
Although the book is light and engaging, the experiences shared by Tim Anderson are very deep and personal. Funny from beginning to end!
I really love this story, it really made me understand what it would be like to venture to a foreign country and be enveloped by its culture. Especially because I do plan on living in Japan as well. This rendition of his experience only made me want to go more. Also McLeod is amazing!
Was it the drunk Australian teacher or maybe it was the Vagina Room?
I laughed all the way through.
I loved this book. The author was very engaging and very very funny.
The book started a bit slow but really built into something fascinating. Interesting as a travel book but more interesting to those that have lived and taught abroad or have aspirations to do so. There are great descriptions of teaching both in suburban and urban areas, The logistics of living in Japan, the nightlife, the people, and the types of students one encounters. There are also many interesting social interactions outside of class from bars, to music lessons, to bands, and more.
100% accurate descriptions of the type of people and often odd personalities that are attracted to teaching in Japan. I was laughing at loud and groaning at many of the descriptions as they matched perfectly with people I have experienced in Japan. The author doesn't pull any punches with the social misfits, losers, drunks, and _________ that think Japan will be the answer to their lack of social skills in their home country.
The author had a slight southern accent which matches the authors southern roots. One felt it could have been the author reading the book.
Yes, I am of Japanese descent but grew up in the US. The story of an English Language teacher in Japan was very illuminating. Seeing the Japanese through a western lens is always fascinating. Even more so, given the author's youth & orientation.
saying almost anything would be a spoiler.
few mispronunciations, energetic
Read books. not too many. Mostly good ones.
Underwhelming. Deadpan. Diverting.
Tim Anderson's pretty much the only character around. The other people in the memoir are by and large unmemorable, though there are some exceptions (his account of his ill-fated rock band is particularly nice.)
MacLeod Andrews was mostly good, except for when he tried to speak Japanese and speak in a Japanese accent. Then it was sometimes offensive.
Sometimes I would laugh out loud, sometimes I would chuckle, but overall I listened in stoic silence trying to figure out when the next time I would laugh was.
In general, I don't laugh a whole lot (ha ha). This particular read though was not bad. It was an interesting, if seemingly dated (no talk of cell phones here), jaunt through Japan. Though many observations were a bit stereotypical (Anderson's description of Japanese people's formalities, for instance), and though Andrews' reading was sometimes more than just stereotypical (intentional changing of r's to l's, for instance), it was overall vaguely amusing. I enjoyed greatly that the story was a bunch of vignettes in Anderson's life, but I would have liked to see greater insights into Japanese culture. Overall: not bad. But not great.
"a funny insight to living in Japan"
I picked up this audio book expecting a dry and factual travel story.. thats not what i got at all, its actually a really amusing tale of the authors life in Japan over the course of a year and a half while working as a English Teacher.. our litirary gaijin spins an interesting story of life in a way different from his suburban American roots with tales of psychotic drunken flatmates, strange customs and falling in love with a culture so alien to him.
Ok. you wont learn much in the way of Japanese language or customs from this book but you woll come away with a desire to experience the lifestyle yoursrlf someday.. a highly enjoyable read indeed.
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