At 19, Jake Adelstein went to Japan in search of peace and tranquility. What he got was a life of crime - crime reporting, that is, at the prestigious Yomiuri Shinbun.
For 12 years of 80-hour workweeks, he covered the seedy side of Japan, where extortion, murder, human trafficking, and corruption are as familiar as ramen noodles and sake. But when his final scoop brought him face to face with Japan's most infamous yakuza boss - and the threat of death for him and his family - Adelstein decided to step down...momentarily. Then, he fought back.
In Tokyo Vice, Adelstein tells the riveting, often humorous tale of his journey from an inexperienced cub reporter - who made rookie mistakes like getting into a martial-arts battle with a senior editor - to a daring, investigative journalist with a price on his head. With its vivid, visceral descriptions of crime in Japan and an exploration of the world of modern-day yakuza that even few Japanese ever see, Tokyo Vice is a fascination, and an education, from first to last.
©2009 Jake Adelstein; (P)2009 Random House
"Not just a hard-boiled true-crime thriller, but an engrossing, troubling look at crime and human exploitation in Japan." (Kirkus)
"A deeply thought-provoking book: equal parts cultural exposé, true crime, and hard-boiled noir." (Publishers Weekly,)
I wish this was a movie, it's a very interesting insight into the Japanese business culture, I learned so much and really wanted to know how it ended. Some people say his voice is a bit monotone, but honestly it adds to the story, it puts you in his thoughts. The story might end a bit abruptly to me, but I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it to anyone slightly interested in the Yukuza or how it is to be a salary man in Tokyo.
World Champion Parallel Parker
Even though I cringed every time the author threw himself YET AGAIN into harm's way, I'm glad he did for the story that came out of it. I hope he's retired now . . .
It's hard to describe this book. It's true crime. It's a memoir. It's a confession by the author who seems to be desperately seeking absolution...or at least just understanding. At first I was put off by Mr. Adelstein's narration. Truth be told, he's a fantastic writer, but not a great narrator, however, near the end of the book, I realized why he had chosen to take on what he had to know would be criticism (he's a writer, not a performer): this book is too personal to be narrated by someone else.
This is a gritty, beautiful, and very, very real look at what will be an alien world to most westerners. I loved it and I thank Mr. Adelstein for taking the risks he has and doing the good work that he has done.
The subject matter is interesting, but the book is poorly written, and the author spends way too much time bragging about his sexual conquest, and attempting to make himself sound like a tough guy.
Once I met him in a writers speaker session and wanted to read (listen) to his book as I have been living in Tokyo for 20 years now.
I find it quite interesting on how one of the most safest places on earth is not perfect.
The events described here, I still remember them and it adds intimacy knowing how they are describe by someone who either solve them or brought them up to light.
Great for those foreigners who live in Japan
Having lived in Japan for 10 years now I often find myself avoiding books about Japan. It is not that there is a lack of interest but I simply can only take so much of the same old stories. However, this book was something very different. It was a great look into the side of Japan that most people never hear about. Although I had an idea of what I was getting myself into when I chose this book I still was pleasently suprised with the author's approach to some experiences he shared in the book. worth trying if you want an alternative to all the 'Japanese fun & culture' books out there today.
Yes, It's a good story, especially for a reader interested in Japanese Culture
Description of the scenarios. I could vividly imagine the situations encountered by the narrator. Having traveled to Japan before, and believing it to be this idealistic place with no crime, this really proves that the Japanese society, like most societies, is not perfect.
Unfortunately, his narration was a little dorky... and awkward. He stumbled on his words many times.. both English words and any Japanese words he had to say. It made me take the story not-so-seriously, as if the narrator didn't truly live these events. He also didn't take his time reading, so, dramatic effect was lost. It was like he was nervous and didn't practice, and just posted the first take of the book.
The most interesting tidbit that I picked up was that the Japanese Mafia (yakuza) functions outside of Japan, very heavily.. Also that there are books and guidelines written in Japanese on how to ..basically live your life, or "leave" your life.
New narrator please, or re-record it.
If you are interested in Japanese culture, this is a great listen. It presents the side of the culture, primarily crime, that is rarely show in full light. It shows the seeder parts of Japan as seen through the eyes of an American who has spent a great portion of his life there.
The author's story is fascinating, but it takes awhile before I cared enough to look forward to my commute with this audiobook. Mr. Adelstein is a competent, but not brilliant, reader of his work, but he did grow on me. Ultimately, his story raised as many disturbing questions about Japanese society and law enforcement as it answered but it was an interesting peek into another, very different culture from our own.
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