Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Bruce Lee mystique, no machismo, no technical dryness., 25 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Angry White Pyjamas: An Oxford Poet Trains with the Tokyo Riot Police (Paperback)
In particular I wish to respond to the review by dolu@im.se, in which he (or she) complains that 'Angry White Pyjamas' is "self-indulgent twaddle", unsuitable for reading by any martial artists, and that it doesn't teach anything about Yoshinkan Aikido. I feel this is very unfair to what I found to be an extremely good book.
That's the great thing about this book, it isn't intended for an audience of martial artists. Nothing is more awkward or boring to read than a training manual - if you want to learn Aikido, go to a class. If you want to know what it feels like to survive the toughest Aikido training course in the world - read this entertaining book.
It's a well-written account of someone's immersion in a totally bizarre and life changing experience; by turns funny, thoughful or just horrifying. I too got the impression that the author didn't enjoy his time on the course, I also got the impression that he was fiercely proud of his achievement. I don't blame him.
Equally as interesting as the Aikido training is the diary aspect of living in modern Japan, the author seems almost to relish the squalor he lived in! It reminds you that these people are real, they're not Bruce Lee supermen - the author was a Poet... (which may account for the quality of writing, unusual in sports books).
I bought this book on a whim after seeing it picked out on a TV review as one of the best books of the year (Late Review, BBC 2, early Jan 99) - I opened it over lunch to skim the first few pages, I finished it that evening barely having moved from my chair. I think that's praise enough.
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