“Oh, and Brad Pitt would not play me in the movie adaptation. Sandra Bernhard will.”
“Tune In Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries” by Tim Anderson
The ghost of David Sedaris haunts the pages of Tim Anderson’s Tune In Tokyo. Okay, no, David Sedaris is (thankfully) not dead, but his own memoirs and experience in culture shock, especially in Me Talk Pretty One Day seemed to reverberate through the words written by Anderson, right down to the fact that Anderson, like Sedaris, is incredibly awkward, decidedly nerdy, and very gay. And while Anderson seems to trade out some of Sedaris’s wit and prowess with a little bit more blatant love for pole-smoking, the similiaries are still strong and make for a great, amusing memoir, while, at the same time, convincing me that, hey, if these two can do it, I can do it, too.
I mean, I’m pretty far removed from a sassy gay man in a long-term relationship living in a foreign country, but I’ve got a quirky story or two up my sleeve, too.
Anyway, though, enough about me. This is about Tune In Tokyo, not its ability to remind me of David Sedaris and wonder if I could write a collection of humorous vignettes about my own adventures in life and love. Tune in Tokyo is a great little book, filled with interesting stories that definitely reignited my interest in one day going over and visiting Japan. Having been a little bit of an anime nerd in my past, there wasn’t anything particularly shocking or surprising in any of Anderson’s culture shock adventure, but they were still quite entertaining and he writes with a deft humor that, while not always as on point as, say, David Sedaris, usually gets a grin out of me. One of my favorites is the tale of his visiting a student of his who is helping him with his Japanese, too, and the crises he meets as he tries to determine what is proper and polite in Japanese society and how it weighs against what he would like to do…and then an ultimate discovery that leaves him devastated after the fact.
In general, though, Anderson’s vignettes left me wanting more. Not necessarily in the sense that I wanted more of his work, but mostly just that I wanted a little more flesh to the stories. I wanted to know more about the cadre of friends that appear briefly on his adventures. Some of the stories end just as you feel they’re about to get started. You’re more often than not left with some misty haze of an experience rather than feeling as though the whole event has come about in a well-rounded and satisfying way. Having since taken a stab at a memoir-like story, I can understand that the worry about being too detailed and too drawn out can probably stay a pen pretty well, but I think Anderson could have given us more.
Ah, well. I guess I’ll just have to go there myself and take care of it that way, right?
Books read: 32/100.
And remember! There are still five days left in my Autumn Anthology Contest! The more entries I receive, the more likely the chances that the anthology will make it to print, so get those short stories and poems in! Pester your friends to submit their stories! Flood my inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) with tales that will make me not want to sleep tonight! You know you want to.