In Appropriate: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan
Paperback, 149 Pages
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Gary Schmidt, a small-town American boy, meets a Japanese girl in college and follows her to Japan to start a family. Little does he know that her conservative Japanese clan has hidden agendas and secret intentions. Gary eventually realizes that he must escape their clutches – and convince his family to do the same before it’s too late! IN APPROPRIATE is a book about child abductions in Japan, where after a divorce, a non-Japanese man comes back to Japan to retrieve his children back to America. Although a work of fiction, it is an amalgam of several true stories of divorce and Left-Behind Parents in Japan.
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Dec 21, 2013Littered with grade-school level errors and inconsistencies. No ear for dialogue. Overly mean-spirited in how it treats all the Japanese characters (Japanese women are either passive robots or sex maniacs, for example). Zero character development - actually, we can't even call them characters, they're cardboard cutouts of stereotypes. Seems to think there is absolutely nothing wrong with kidnapping children from an estranged spouse and bringing them to a country where they don't speak the language and in fact have never even set foot in - this seems an odd view given that the book is supposed to be about an 'important but understudied issue in Japan, child abductions'. I guess kidnapping your kids is only wrong if the parent is bringing the kids back to Japan and 'The Eye'. Author says he wrote the book in four days. It shows.
Sep 12, 2011Novels about Japan are a dime a dozen, but rarely is there one that takes the reader on a journey that is not only unique but has a real social message attached to it. "In Appropriate" does just that--it transports the reader to a side of Japan that few ever get a chance to read about in a novel, even more rare in the mainstream media, and it offers insight into an issue regarding Japanese society that has been largely ignored by the publishing elite in print and film. I especially appreciated the historical references sprinkled throughout which give the reader a clear understanding of the time period and social condition of Japan, which helps to explain the main character's behavior and that of his wife and in-laws. Some may argue that the main character, Gary Schmidt, is one-dimensional, but he is supposed to be as he represents a composite of the legions of white men who flocked to Japan during the bubble era to find fortune, fame, and love (or at least sex). The author,... More > I believe, purposefully makes Gary seem like a jerk with his trite locker room references in order not to endear him to the reader but to repulse the reader. I recoiled at some of Gary's "trash' talk, but came to realize that he was a product of his small-town roots and that's how boys likely talked in order to be cool, which actually made them very uncool. It is more of a novelette which makes it an easy read, allowing it to be read in one or two sittings--a plus in this busy world where finding time to read a thick novel is nearly impossible. I recommend it.< Less
May 26, 2011WARNING: The reviews by R.Watkins & Ken Yasumoto-Nicolson - are purely personal attacks - they did not read the book!!! They are internet stalkers dedicated to trashing Mr. Arudou (as you can see - they don't comment on the content of the book at all - just issue personal insults) - perhaps they are jealous? I'm waiting to see the books and academic contributions these stalkers have made to Japan? In fact Ken has had his own website (for the past year) meant to trash Mr. Arudou personally! DON'T TRUST THEIR REVIEWS!!! READ THE BOOK AND SEE FOR YOURSELF!! GREAT BOOK! Wow! I am an avid reader of Arudou’s Japan Times Columns and Academic works – I think -Mr. Arudou needs to continue this work as a creative writer of FICTION!!! Mr. Arudou is a left behind parent; he has lost his two Japanese daughters in 2002! And so his thoughts, feelings and perspective on this topic are amazing. This work of fiction is fast paced, very descriptive and an overall an exciting and interesting read.... More > Its exceptionally accurate in its descriptions of places and Japanese society (I am a Japanese researcher / PhD who has lived in Japan-so I know thing or two). Arudou's descriptions in some parts of the book make me feel like I am right there back in Japan!!! This is a great STORY –and while he states that it has some elements of truth from various happenings – it is a work of FICTION. Like many other stories that have been written on other social problems, such as segregation, war, social injustice, and even slavery, have brought the issues to light and even sometimes helped resolve them. A MUST READ!!!!< Less
May 24, 2011Books on Japan can sometimes be a real chore to get through but Arudou writes fluidly and smoothly. It also helps that he clearly has a thorough grasp of the subject matter, based on his own experiences and those who he has met and worked with over the years. It's a well-constructed story which highlights a number of important issues regarding the rights of Non-Japanese in Japan, with more than a few pointers for anyone considering setting up here. Thankfully, my experience with Japan is very different to that described in the novel, and I don't think the book is intended in any way to represent a 'typical' experience. But it graphically brings home what can happen if things don't work out. Recommended.
May 18, 2011Having read the other reviews of this book, and the author's other online material, I was not surprised by this book when I read it. (And yes, Miss Beamer, I DID read it!) The problem with this book is that the author is trying to make a point more than he is trying to tell a story. His style is more reminiscent of a magazine article than a novel, with background facts brought too far into the foreground, and not enough development of the characters. We are given little or no insight into anyone other than the main character, and even he has few admirable qualities with which we can empathise. We are told practically nothing of the wife's character, for example, other than she makes bento and babies. It is only natural that the story would resonate with those who have endured similar experiences to the main character, but for the average reader, there is little reward in the act of reading this book, I felt as if there would be little enjoyment in retelling this tale to a friend. The... More > story itself has the potential to be a good novel, but it needs more depth, volume and background. It is reported that the author completed this work in less than a week, and it shows.< Less
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- ARUDOU Debito (Standard Copyright License)
- First Edition
- March 7, 2011
- Perfect-bound Paperback
- Interior Ink
- Black & white
- 0.61 lbs.
- Dimensions (inches)
- 6 wide x 9 tall
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