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In the Pool Hardcover – 31 May 2006

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Product Description

He knocked on the door. From within,a cheery voice sang out "Hello,hello! Come right in " It was just like the greeting you get when checking into a traditional country inn.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
He's the one they call Dr. Feelgood 12 Dec. 2006
By Zack Davisson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"In the Pool" is a deceptive book. From the bland cover and title, you are expecting something equally bland, maybe a bit of a quiet read to pass the time. Certainly not the perverse, hilarious and addicting book you are about to encounter. Just like the hapless patients at the Irabu General Hospital, you are suddenly pitched into a bizarre world where the inmates are running the asylum, nothing makes sense whatsoever, and then every so slowly, the bigger picture starts to become clear.

A series of five short stories, "In the Pool" follows the lives of five different patients, each suffering from some sort of psychological disorder. Kazuo Omori feels compelled to go swimming, and is willing to allow his job, marriage and morals disintegrate for the chance to sink into the blue security of the pool. Tetsuya Taguchi has an erection that just won't quit, making daily life impossible. Trade show model Hiromi Yasukawa is being haunted by an army of invisible stalkers, each one trying to catch a glimpse of her impossible beauty. Yuta Tsuda needs his cell phone the way an alcoholic needs booze. Taking it away from him causes massive spasms in mere seconds. Yoshio Iwamura knows that is obsessive compulsive fear of fire is my psychology, but can't stop himself from going home to check his apartment every few minutes. Each one of them finds there way into the helping hands of Ichiro Irabu, Doctor of Neurology, who seems more interested in joining their obsessions than helping.

Ichiro Irabu himself is a fantastically weird character. A fat, pasty middle-aged man, he has an erotic fixation on giving injections, and employs a sexy nurse who is a stand-offish exhibitionist. Stuffed down in the basement of the hospital, he is constantly complaining that they don't send him enough patients, and when they do it is always the lost causes. Together, Irabu and his nurse hold the stories together, being the only reoccurring characters, even though they are always just supporting actors at most.

Much of the philosophy of Irabu's style is based on the work of Dr. Morita Masatake, a contemporary of Sigmund Freud who taught that accepting your feelings was more important than trying to battle them. Or as Oscar Wilde put it, "the only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it." This is were the deceptive part comes in. At first Irabu's solutions seem to cause more harm than help, as he pushes his patients deeper and deeper into their psychosis until they burn them out. There is a method to his madness.

The only small flaw in "In the Pool" is the translation. The translator calls Irabu a neurologist, although it is clear from the text that this should have been psychiatrist. The translation error is actually fixed later, and he is called a psychiatrist in the later stories.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A fun and clever psychology book 6 Sept. 2006
By J. Thomas - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In the Pool was a huge success upon its original Japanese release in 2002. The stories here have gone on to appear in movies and on TV since its release. In the Pool is a collection of episodes about one eccentric psychiatrist, Dr. Ichiro Irabu, the sole doctor in the lonely Neurology Dept. located in the basement of the Irabu Hospital (say, that's the same name as the doctor...). This is clever and rather hilarious collection is by former magazine editor Hideo Okuda, who credits manga as a major influence.

Five tales are told here, each one about a patient with a condition that cannot be treated by conventional methods, and each one a line on a laundry list of "ailments" that plague not only Japan, but human beings in general. Among the poor souls that find themselves consulting Dr. Irabu are a magazine editor who becomes obsessed with swimming, sacrificing work and family time to get in a few more laps; a just-over-the-hill car-show model who starts to believe every man she sees is stalking her; and high-school student so obsessed with text messaging on his cell phone, even a few moments of separation create panic and cold sweats.

Although each character begins as almost a caricature of him or herself, they develop into people we may recognize in our own lives, or even aspects of our own personality. The fun and humor of each story comes from not the ailment, but Dr. Irabu's unorthodox and unexpected avenues of treatment. Often the reader wonders if what Dr. Irabu is doing is even intended for the patients benefit, and simply his own. (The dubious injections given to each patient on each visit by Dr. Irabu's sexy female nurse give us a clue.) Though in the end of each tale some sort of resolution or recovery path is reached, whether this is by accident or by design becomes clearer as the reader finishes each story. Although each tale is written from the perspective of the patient, we get more and more hints as to what kind of person Dr. Irabu really is.

Translating humor from Japanese to English is one of the most difficult undertakings a translator can expect to take. Comedy is so different culture to culture, and having it make sense and seem natural in the translated language requires real talent, and that talent shows here is the seamless English creation by Giles Murray.

In the Pool is a fun and interesting splash, just slightly deeper than the surface suggests. Dr. Irabu's techniques and ideas collide with not only his profession, but his national culture, and although this isn't always comfortable for his patients, it makes for pure entertainment for his readers.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Delightful collection of short stories 3 July 2006
By W. Bender - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I had never heard of this author, and was given this book as a gift. What a delightful surprise! This collection of five short stories all share the same principal character - a wacky neurologist who works in the basement of a Tokyo hospital. Each story introduces a new patient, each with an unusual ailment, and follows their "treatment" with the doctor. The writing is crisp and funny, and I found myself busting into unexpected laughter throughout the book. My only disappointment was that there were just five stories. When I finished the book, I yearned for more! I hope that more books from this award winning author are translated into English, and marketed outside of Japan.
A deliciously twisted commentary on human neuroses 13 Sept. 2006
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Award-winning Japanese author Hideo Okuda presents In The Pool, a wildly popular Japanese novel that has been successfully adapted to a major Japanese motion picture. "Doctor of Neurology" Ichiro Irabu is a therapist for the image-conscious and all too often mentally pressured people of Japan, and his odd methodology of sharing his patients' stress-related problems and making them much worse before they get better distinguishes him sharply from his colleagues. His patients include a man who suffers a constant and painful erection, a pretty young woman convinced that every man she meets on the street is a stalker, a high school student addicted to text messaging the "friends" he desperately craves, and a journalist terrified his house will burn down should he leave it. A deliciously twisted commentary on human neuroses, with wit and insight that translates seamlessly between cultures. Highly recommended.
The healing power of humor. 24 July 2009
By Dick Johnson - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a series of related stories centered on Dr. Ichiro Irabu, Doctor of Neurology (actually Psychiatry). The five episodes has the good Dr. working his 'medicine' on patients who have no idea what's going on.

Each of the stories focuses on a different medical condition. Irabu, who does not subscribe to 'physician heal thyself', goes to unbelievable lengths to try to effect cures. To say anything more about the book than the product description above would spoil it.

I haven't laughed as hard in years as I did while reading 'Double Check' (one of the stories). I hope there will be further adventures of Dr. Irabu. I certainly felt better while reading this. Recommendation: Grab it!
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