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Tokyo Junkie: 60 Years of Bright Lights and Back Alleys . . . and Baseball

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Tokyo Junkie is a memoir that plays out over the dramatic 60-year growth of the megacity Tokyo, once a dark, fetid backwater and now the most populous, sophisticated, and safe urban capital in the world. Follow author Robert Whiting (The Chrysanthemum and the Bat, You Gotta Have Wa, Tokyo Underworld) as he watches Tokyo transform during the 1964 Olympics, rubs shoulders wit Tokyo Junkie is a memoir that plays out over the dramatic 60-year growth of the megacity Tokyo, once a dark, fetid backwater and now the most populous, sophisticated, and safe urban capital in the world. Follow author Robert Whiting (The Chrysanthemum and the Bat, You Gotta Have Wa, Tokyo Underworld) as he watches Tokyo transform during the 1964 Olympics, rubs shoulders with the Yakuza and comes face to face with the city’s dark underbelly, interviews Japan’s baseball elite after publishing his first best-selling book on the subject, and learns how politics and sports collide to produce a cultural landscape unlike any other, even as a new Olympics is postponed and the COVID virus ravages the nation. A colorful social history of what Anthony Bourdain dubbed, “the greatest city in the world,” Tokyo Junkie is a revealing account by an accomplished journalist who witnessed it all firsthand and, in the process, had his own dramatic personal transformation.


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Tokyo Junkie is a memoir that plays out over the dramatic 60-year growth of the megacity Tokyo, once a dark, fetid backwater and now the most populous, sophisticated, and safe urban capital in the world. Follow author Robert Whiting (The Chrysanthemum and the Bat, You Gotta Have Wa, Tokyo Underworld) as he watches Tokyo transform during the 1964 Olympics, rubs shoulders wit Tokyo Junkie is a memoir that plays out over the dramatic 60-year growth of the megacity Tokyo, once a dark, fetid backwater and now the most populous, sophisticated, and safe urban capital in the world. Follow author Robert Whiting (The Chrysanthemum and the Bat, You Gotta Have Wa, Tokyo Underworld) as he watches Tokyo transform during the 1964 Olympics, rubs shoulders with the Yakuza and comes face to face with the city’s dark underbelly, interviews Japan’s baseball elite after publishing his first best-selling book on the subject, and learns how politics and sports collide to produce a cultural landscape unlike any other, even as a new Olympics is postponed and the COVID virus ravages the nation. A colorful social history of what Anthony Bourdain dubbed, “the greatest city in the world,” Tokyo Junkie is a revealing account by an accomplished journalist who witnessed it all firsthand and, in the process, had his own dramatic personal transformation.

46 review for Tokyo Junkie: 60 Years of Bright Lights and Back Alleys . . . and Baseball

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erin Loranger

    Having lived in Tokyo from 2010-2015, I was very intrigued by the description of Robert Whiting's memoir Tokyo Junkie and was delighted to receive a copy from NetGalley and Stone Bridge Press so that I could provide an honest review. Whiting writes with an insider's knowledge and the perspective of having lived in Japan for over 60 years. I loved reading about how the country has changed and how the arc of history has impacted cultural institutions such as baseball, yakuza and Japanese politics Having lived in Tokyo from 2010-2015, I was very intrigued by the description of Robert Whiting's memoir Tokyo Junkie and was delighted to receive a copy from NetGalley and Stone Bridge Press so that I could provide an honest review. Whiting writes with an insider's knowledge and the perspective of having lived in Japan for over 60 years. I loved reading about how the country has changed and how the arc of history has impacted cultural institutions such as baseball, yakuza and Japanese politics and using the 1964 and 2020(1) Olympic Games as book ends was an effective way to frame the time period of the personal recollections. Just as interesting as these large topics Whiting tackles, are the stories of his everyday life and the characters with whom he has crossed paths. What an interesting life lived by a man who was obviously open to embracing the adventure. The respect and love that Whiting feels for the country and its people are evident and makes this an absolute joy to read for anyone interested in Japan, who have traveled Japan or the many of us who were so lucky to have lived there. I am eagerly awaiting the publishing date of Tokyo Junkie as I have a long list of those I know will enjoy it and can't wait to get a copy for myself.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Books on Asia

    Upcoming Release (Stone Bridge Press, April 20, 2021) Review for Books on Asia by Mark Schumacher Since the 1977 release of his first book The Chrysanthemum and the Bat, author Robert Whiting has remained the “go to” guy for entertaining and educating and enlightening books about Japan. His many English books and articles, once translated into Japanese, have hit the bestseller lists in Japan. Whiting resonates on both sides of the Pacific. This book is Whiting’s memoir of his adventures (often riot Upcoming Release (Stone Bridge Press, April 20, 2021) Review for Books on Asia by Mark Schumacher Since the 1977 release of his first book The Chrysanthemum and the Bat, author Robert Whiting has remained the “go to” guy for entertaining and educating and enlightening books about Japan. His many English books and articles, once translated into Japanese, have hit the bestseller lists in Japan. Whiting resonates on both sides of the Pacific. This book is Whiting’s memoir of his adventures (often riotous) as a longtime Japan resident. It is a definitive, detailed, and authoritative book: an “ensemble of curiosities with enough facts to fill two books.” That quote, by the way, is from the N.Y. Times book review of Chrysanthemum and the Bat. It still accurately describes Whiting’s style of writing. Tokyo Junkie‘s 60-year trajectory carefully and entertainingly details the rebuilding of Tokyo (and Japan) from a destroyed postwar backwater reeking of urine, into a global economic powerhouse reeking of graft, bribery and scandal. It references slogans, cartoons, poems, propaganda films, secret reports, sports columns, and a wealth of other documents of the time. It is also a roller-coaster ride into the underbelly of Japan and into the underworld of Whiting’s own life in Tokyo during those decades. Drunkenness and debauchery and chicanery play a big part in Whiting’s riveting narrative, but the book’s larger message of “renewal” (both Japan’s & Whiting’s) and the “goodness” of Japan’s common people, is crafted with great skill. His wife Machiko plays a big part in Whiting’s “recovery.” Writes Whiting: “My story is part Alice in Wonderland, part Bright Lights, Big City, and part Forrest Gump, among other things. It is a coming-of-age tale as well as an account of a decades-long journey into the heart of a city undergoing one of the most remarkable and sustained metamorphoses ever seen. It is also something of a love story, with all the irrational sentimentality that term entails. Tokyo and I have had our differences, our ups and downs—I once left for what I thought was good, so tired of being a gaijin (foreigner) that I thought I would die if I stayed any longer—but as our relationship reaches the end and I look back, I must say that all in all it was the right place to spend all these years. It is not too much to say that I am what I am today because of the city of Tokyo. It was here that I learned the art of living, discovered the importance of perseverance, grew to appreciate the value of harmonious relations as much as individual rights, and came to rethink what it means to be an American as well as a member of the larger human race.” Later in the book, Whiting describes his own metamorphoses: “I had developed bizarre social skills, to use the term loosely. I knew how to talk to my fellow Tokyoites but found I was becoming less conversant with Americans. I peppered my speech with Japanese words used all the time in daily conversation—sugoi, shoganai, maitta (wow, can’t be helped, I give up)—without realizing what I was doing. Moreover, I had unconsciously adopted Japanese mannerisms: bowing when talking on the phone, sucking wind as Japanese do when trying to think of something to say, pouring beer for dinner partners.” Whiting and I have been friends since the mid-1990s, when we both lived in Kamakura. He was perpetually stuck inside a Japanese newspaper or magazine, researching his latest book. When I visited to fix or backup his Microsoft computer (I was his PC tech), I asked him how long it took him to write a book. He said: “About five years.” Like Japanese baseball, Whiting’s approach to writing is a lot of hard training and practice and research, over and over and over. He had a routine of reading the Japanese newspapers and magazines and journals, with a toothpick in his mouth, which replaced the thousands of cigarettes he had smoked and beers he had drunk in earlier times. He had come down to earth. He had become one of us again, a famous man without pretension. I like him for that. This book is Whiting’s love letter to Japan, to Tokyo, to the overall kindness of Japanese people and Japan’s endearing culture, which allowed him to arrive as a hated foreign conqueror and later to return as a friend. Writes Whiting: “I first came to the city over five decades ago in 1962 as a raw nineteen-year-old GI from small-town America. I spent over three years working for the CIA and the NSA, secretly spying on the communist regimes in Russia and China.” In his book’s conclusion, he writes: “The product of the city’s continuing renewals and rebirths has redefined what it means to be Japanese. Along the way it redefined me as well.” Tokyo Junkie is a likeable, breezy, well-written memoir, packed intensely with detail and eye-opening information about Japan, about the foibles of its author, and about bitter WWII enemies becoming steadfast friends in the following decades. *** Mark Schumacher is a longtime Japan resident based in Kamakura. He is an independent scholar of Japanese Buddhist statuary, and author of the popular A-to-Z Photo Dictionary of Japan’s Buddhist & Shinto Deities (online since 1995). Visit Books on Asia at http://www.booksonasia.net https://booksonasia.net/2021/04/02/re...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey

    (Note: I received an advanced reader copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley) Author Robert Whitling’s account of his experiences living and working in Japan’s capital city turned out to be a surprisingly engaging read that is a combination of memoir, history, and love letter to Tokyo. I was both wholly absorbed within its pages and also to keep myself from constantly pausing to look up everything from specific temples and other local historical sites of note, to various aspects of Japan’s crimin (Note: I received an advanced reader copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley) Author Robert Whitling’s account of his experiences living and working in Japan’s capital city turned out to be a surprisingly engaging read that is a combination of memoir, history, and love letter to Tokyo. I was both wholly absorbed within its pages and also to keep myself from constantly pausing to look up everything from specific temples and other local historical sites of note, to various aspects of Japan’s criminal underworld, and even Liberal Democratic Party scandals. Even when he's focusing on very specific topics like American athletes playing in Tokyo's professional baseball teams, Whitling’s deep connection and adoration for the city help make it come vividly alive across all the decades he lived and worked there. And as a result, Tokyo Junkie felt like it managed to be a book, a plane ticket halfway across the world, and a time machine all at once, leaving me both feeling like I just went for a grand journey, yet also feeling like I have a new location to add to my post-pandemic travel list.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bernie Gourley

    Tokyo is the river that runs through this book, which for large tracts reads like a memoir and at other turns reads like a broad overview of things Japanese. I’ve only been to Tokyo once, for about a two week stay, but it’s impossible to miss the almost alien level of distinctiveness of the city. It’s the largest city in the world, but in many ways feels like a small town. The subways shut down at midnight, creating an alter ego to the city, aptly depicted in Haruki Murakami novels. Whiting’s To Tokyo is the river that runs through this book, which for large tracts reads like a memoir and at other turns reads like a broad overview of things Japanese. I’ve only been to Tokyo once, for about a two week stay, but it’s impossible to miss the almost alien level of distinctiveness of the city. It’s the largest city in the world, but in many ways feels like a small town. The subways shut down at midnight, creating an alter ego to the city, aptly depicted in Haruki Murakami novels. Whiting’s Tokyo journey begins with his time posted there in the military, a time which happens to correspond with the city being readied for the 1964 Olympics, through the present day COVID Pandemic challenges (which happens to correspond with the 2020 Tokyo Summer games being delayed -- and it remains to be seen whether these games will ever happen given the fact that the COVID virus is not taking our plans for vaccine-driven herd immunity sitting down.) As Whiting’s book is part memoir, it gives particular scrutiny to the subjects of his earlier books, in as much as those topics touch upon life in Tokyo. One of these subjects, the more extensively discussed, is baseball and the very different way the game is played and reported upon in Japan. The other key subject is organized crime and the legendary Yakuza. Crime in Japan is a captivating topic because it is both invisible and infamously brutal. I enjoyed the view through these niche lenses because (particularly) the latter is not so conspicuous, but is riveting stuff. [When I was in Japan, I was taken to a bathhouse (not considered strange in Japan as it sounds to an American.) Before we went, I was told that if I had big tattoos, I couldn’t go; and, if I had a small tattoo, I’d need to use a washcloth to keep it covered the whole time. This is apparently because reputable establishments don’t want the taint of Yakuza on their premises. So, this is how much they keep things on the down-low.] Whiting led various lives in Tokyo, he was an airman, a student, a salaryman, an unofficial advisor to a Yakuza gang, a journalist, and a nonfiction writer. These allowed him to see the changing city from a number of varied perspectives, offering much deeper insight than the run-of-the-mill expat. In addition to the modern history of Tokyo, Japanese baseball, Yakuza, and Whiting’s various lives in the city, the book makes a lot of fascinating dives into a range of Tokyo topics, such as: sumo wrestling, the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, the city’s distant history, salaryman drinking habits, the demographic crisis (i.e. its aging population has been approaching the point of too many retirees per working taxpayer,) etc. The book offers a no-holds-barred look at the good, the bad, and the ugly underside of the city. It at once praises the city’s politeness, cleanliness, and smooth-running order and rebukes its dark side – dirty politics, toxic workplaces, xenophobia, etc. I enjoyed this book tremendously. It offered great insight into Tokyo, Japanese culture, as well as many niche areas that I probably would never taken the time to investigate, otherwise. If you are interested in learning about Tokyo, particularly modern Tokyo, this is an excellent read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Date reviewed/posted: March 7, 2021 Publication date: July 6, 2021 When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave ( #thirdwave ?)is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for Date reviewed/posted: March 7, 2021 Publication date: July 6, 2021 When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave ( #thirdwave ?)is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. Tokyo Junkie is a memoir that plays out over the dramatic 60-year growth of the megacity Tokyo, once a dark, fetid backwater and now the most populous, sophisticated, and safe urban capital in the world. Follow author Robert Whiting (The Chrysanthemum and the Bat, You Gotta Have Wa, Tokyo Underworld) as he watches Tokyo transform during the 1964 Olympics, rubs shoulders with the Yakuza and comes face to face with the city’s dark underbelly, interviews Japan’s baseball elite after publishing his first best-selling book on the subject, and learns how politics and sports collide to produce a cultural landscape unlike any other, even as a new Olympics is postponed and the COVID virus ravages the nation. A colourful social history of what Anthony Bourdain dubbed, “the greatest city in the world,” Tokyo Junkie is a revealing account by an accomplished journalist who witnessed it all firsthand and, in the process, had his own dramatic personal transformation. Tokyo is truly the greatest city in the world (Sorry, New York, London, etc.) - it is so fascinating and I cannot wait for this COVID-crap to go away so I can go back and visit my sister! The book is written in an inviting style and draws you in and I, for one, was sad when it ended. It will be interesting to see when/if the games ever happen as this virus is really, really evil. Since we will all be armchair travelling for a while, take this book to the beach (or your back yard, porch or balcony) and enjoy it - just wear a tonne of SPF110 as you will lose track of time as you read this. - If we are in the 3rd or 4th wave/mutation of COVID19 by then, stay inside: no tan is worth dying for. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🍣🍜🍱🗾🌸

  6. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    It’s Robert Whiting at his finest in Tokyo Junkie, which is essentially a memoir largely focused on Whiting’s life in Japan and on Japanese culture, particularly as it relates (or sometimes doesnt) to the way we see the world as Americans. I’ve been on an All Things Japan kick lately and thus this book came at a perfect time for me. I’m also a huge fan of Whiting’s baseball writing, and there’s plenty of baseball-related content in Tokyo Junkie too. That said, this one probably isn’t for everyone. It’s Robert Whiting at his finest in Tokyo Junkie, which is essentially a memoir largely focused on Whiting’s life in Japan and on Japanese culture, particularly as it relates (or sometimes doesnt) to the way we see the world as Americans. I’ve been on an All Things Japan kick lately and thus this book came at a perfect time for me. I’m also a huge fan of Whiting’s baseball writing, and there’s plenty of baseball-related content in Tokyo Junkie too. That said, this one probably isn’t for everyone. There is a LOT of detail on things like Mori architecture and Japanese government corruption. Great if you like these things, a lot to digest if you don’t. The book is also probably longer than it needs to be and contains a lot of personal “this one time I met this one guy” type vignettes that I greatly enjoyed but that may feel tedious for some readers who aren’t looking for a full immersion experience on this subject. For me, Whiting is a can’t miss anytime he has a new book out, and this one hit the mark as usual. And while I’ll always love his baseball musings the most, there’s loads of fascinating material in Tokyo Junkie that runs the gamut on life in Japan that delights in equal measure. *I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

  7. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    As someone who has lived in Japan for a few years out of every decade since the ‘80’s, Robert Whiting’s book Tokyo Junkie brought back a lot of memories. Even his stories from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s brought to mind stories my father, uncle, and brother told of the times they were stationed in Japan right after the war, and again in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Mr. Whiting has had a front row seat to the resurrection of a nation from the ashes of defeat to becoming to second largest economy in the world. As someone who has lived in Japan for a few years out of every decade since the ‘80’s, Robert Whiting’s book Tokyo Junkie brought back a lot of memories. Even his stories from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s brought to mind stories my father, uncle, and brother told of the times they were stationed in Japan right after the war, and again in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Mr. Whiting has had a front row seat to the resurrection of a nation from the ashes of defeat to becoming to second largest economy in the world. If some of his stories seem outrageous, trust me-they aren’t. Japan, and especially Tokyo has been able to rise from the ashes like a Phoenix, and continues to do so. It is my favorite city in the world, and every time I return it seems something big has changed, but it’s still so familiar. In his stories, Whiting takes you through time, when Tokyo was still rebuilding, when Americans walking the streets were rare, and living there didn’t cost a fortune, to today when many citizen have to take out multi-generational mortgages just to buy an apartment. If you’ve spent time in this glorious city, you’ll recognize these stories. I found myself laughing out loud more than a few times. Mr. Whiting understands the Japanese and unapologetically upsets the “wa” as only a gaijin can. Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    2.5 stars, really. Tokyo Junkie is a memoir of the author's time in Tokyo with a large part of it being devoted to baseball and the criminal world. I found the parts about life in Tokyo in his earliest days to be the most interesting and more of a story of Tokyo than his later years. Some will find this memoir offensive as it is very much the tale of a white man in Japan at a time when such men were unusual and as such had way more privilege than they deserved. Whiting is very honest about how he 2.5 stars, really. Tokyo Junkie is a memoir of the author's time in Tokyo with a large part of it being devoted to baseball and the criminal world. I found the parts about life in Tokyo in his earliest days to be the most interesting and more of a story of Tokyo than his later years. Some will find this memoir offensive as it is very much the tale of a white man in Japan at a time when such men were unusual and as such had way more privilege than they deserved. Whiting is very honest about how he comported himself in such an atmosphere. The memoir reads smoothly, but as a reader, I wanted to know more about Tokyo than the author. Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy of this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ted

    -I received a digital review copy courtesy of Edelweiss and Stone Bridge Press- Tokyo Junkie: 60 Years of Bright Lights and Back Alleys...and Baseball is truth in advertising as it’s a memoir mostly of Tokyo from a bygone era-roughly the early ‘60s through the ‘80s bubble. Whiting does later enter the realm of the 21st century and provides coverage of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Covid-19 and the predicaments of hosting the 2020/1 Olympics. Early on, Whiting seems right on target with -I received a digital review copy courtesy of Edelweiss and Stone Bridge Press- Tokyo Junkie: 60 Years of Bright Lights and Back Alleys...and Baseball is truth in advertising as it’s a memoir mostly of Tokyo from a bygone era-roughly the early ‘60s through the ‘80s bubble. Whiting does later enter the realm of the 21st century and provides coverage of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Covid-19 and the predicaments of hosting the 2020/1 Olympics. Early on, Whiting seems right on target with his insight “...the Japanese already have their own religion: Japan and the idea of being Japanese.” As a writer, he is most of all a journalist, and he frequently writes in broad strokes. Without the singular focus of his two most notable books which examined the Tokyo underworld and Japanese baseball, this one is more ramshackle, but certainly more heartfelt, homespun and obviously personal. With Tokyo being so highly advanced on many levels, it’s hard to reconcile the prevailing thought during the time of his arrival in early ‘60s Tokyo that the city was sadly considered a backwater (by deployed American clergy and military factions). However, I appreciated learning more about Sophia University as Whiting fondly recounts his time studying there and connecting him to work opportunities (i.e., English teaching) in the rapidly rising, expanding and multi-layered city. Whiting writes with appreciation on how Tokyo formed him for the better after leaving the limiting environment of Eureka, CA and the regimentation of the Air Force. He also exhibits the spirit of adventure and curiosity that was embodied by the late Anthony Bourdain who he mentions as a symbolic fellow traveler. Days turn to decades in Japan and Whiting further elaborates on what he thought propelled the Japanese during the formative era of Tokyo as he cites their inspiring effort, determination, honesty and Gaman. (I was not previously aware of Japan’s women volleyball team defeating the Soviet Union for the Gold at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.) He also ventures deep into the Yakuza underworld and their lucrative connections to Tokyo construction, supposedly based on planned obsolescence, and by turn corrupt and entrenched politics. His smattering of recollections range from “had to be there” moments to the distinctive experiences regarding the overall rise of Tokyo to what many consider (including myself) as the most exciting and preeminent city in the world (with Osaka being a close runner up). Whiting’s mention of the “abundant hydrangeas” in the early summer evoked memories for me of being in Japan for the first time. He even details the rockabillys in Shibuya’s Yoyogi Park which were featured in Wim Wenders’ documentary Tokyo-Ga. The architecture of Kenzo Tange, former New York Yankee and good guy Roy White who made the effort to learn the language and Ayumi Ishida, singer of Nippon standard “Blue Light Yokahama,” all make appearances in Whiting’s first-hand accounts. Whiting does have the tendency towards focusing on the sordid at times and presents some old guard unsavory Americans that are downright embarrassing. However, I did come around to baseball player Daryl Spencer-once he returned to Kansas. Like most of East Asia in this century, there is a palpable excitement and optimism about the future in Tokyo which stands in marked contrast to the repetitive and perfunctory patterns found in the United States. As a dynamic megacity which challenges attempts at comprehension, Whiting understands that Tokyo needs to be ever-evolving into something it has never been before. Still, many doubted how Tokyo was going to feasibly conduct the Summer Olympics and Paralympics even before Covid-19. With no international spectators, things will be done much differently than attempts to reach the sky high standards set by Beijing in 2008. Facing another seemingly insurmountable challenge, Tokyo and the Japanese will once again characteristically rise to the occasion with wa and go well beyond expectations.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    My thanks to NetGalley and Stone Bridge Press for an advanced copy of this memoir. Robert Whiting's memoir Tokyo Junkie is a love story to a city that the author has watched grow, change, and grow into the megacity that it is today. For over 60 years Mr. Whiting has lived in Tokyo, with some interruptions in other world capitals, but has since a young man considered Tokyo his true home. Joining the army at a young age, he was assigned to Japan in the early 1960's and fell I love with the culture, My thanks to NetGalley and Stone Bridge Press for an advanced copy of this memoir. Robert Whiting's memoir Tokyo Junkie is a love story to a city that the author has watched grow, change, and grow into the megacity that it is today. For over 60 years Mr. Whiting has lived in Tokyo, with some interruptions in other world capitals, but has since a young man considered Tokyo his true home. Joining the army at a young age, he was assigned to Japan in the early 1960's and fell I love with the culture, the language and the people. He chronicles the changes he has seen to the city from its post-war ruins, to the changes made for the Tokyo Olympics, to its growth as a technological hub, financial crash, and Olympic dreams that have been detailed by a world pandemic. Mr. Whiting covers crime, the financial world, arts, but its the sports that he loves especially baseball. He found a career writing two books on a the love of the sport in Japan, that opened many doors for him both professionally and socially. There's even a brief section on Japanese wrestling that I found very informative. This book is a study in both a city and a man, juvenile in some places, wise in others but necessary for the creation of the man he became.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Miriam

    I received an advanced ecopy of this book courtesy of NetGalley. Tokyo Junkie is a memoir of the author's time in Tokyo Japan starting after WWII and moving onward. It is an interesting study of what Japan was like and how it has evolved as a country. However this book very much feels like it is written from an older white man and it doesn't feel fully authentic to me. The author is very up front with the fact that he is an outsider's look on Japan which is important but did end up being a DNF f I received an advanced ecopy of this book courtesy of NetGalley. Tokyo Junkie is a memoir of the author's time in Tokyo Japan starting after WWII and moving onward. It is an interesting study of what Japan was like and how it has evolved as a country. However this book very much feels like it is written from an older white man and it doesn't feel fully authentic to me. The author is very up front with the fact that he is an outsider's look on Japan which is important but did end up being a DNF for me. The text is very readable and flows very nicely. Very interesting concept on the whole. Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

  13. 4 out of 5

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  14. 5 out of 5

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  15. 4 out of 5

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  16. 4 out of 5

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  19. 5 out of 5

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  20. 5 out of 5

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  21. 5 out of 5

    wellreadreg

  22. 5 out of 5

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  24. 4 out of 5

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  28. 4 out of 5

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  29. 5 out of 5

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  30. 4 out of 5

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  31. 4 out of 5

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  32. 5 out of 5

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  33. 4 out of 5

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  34. 4 out of 5

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  35. 4 out of 5

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  36. 4 out of 5

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  37. 5 out of 5

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  38. 4 out of 5

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  39. 4 out of 5

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  40. 5 out of 5

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  41. 5 out of 5

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  43. 4 out of 5

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  45. 4 out of 5

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  46. 4 out of 5

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