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Customer Review

on 14 September 2011
Tim Anderson's well-written memoir "Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries" is a funny, fascinating window not only into Tim's life as a tall, white, gay, American Southerner but also into life in Tokyo and the Japanese culture. Tim, who was pushing thirty, left his boyfriend and moved to Japan after a string of dead-end jobs. Tim's hilarious self-effacing stories as an English teacher and his experiences while playing in an all-Japanese noise band as a "gaijin" or outsider are masterfully told.
My favorite humorous descriptions include Tim's experience at the Shinjuku Train Station. He found himself eased down the nearest staircase by the sheer force of the crowds tugging him like an undertow. They decided he would go out the south exit. That was fine with him.
Learning Japanese as a foreigner he was terrified that one day he would instead of telling someone they looked nice he'd end up saying, "I want to lick your daughters underarms."
I loved Tim's description of a Washlet or toilet found in nicer Japanese restaurants. "It has a slew of useful functions, like a butt sprinkler, a heated seat, and a dizzying selection of sound effects to muffle the user's unseemly emissions."
When teaching English as a foreigner in Japan Tim says the classroom atmosphere is one of absolute deference to the teacher. By contrast "teacher" to many American students is just a fancy word for "target."
While sitting on a sofa in the Chill Out Room at a nightclub in Tokyo Tim wonders why his friends approach the glass, see him, wave, look above him, then back at him and giggle. Then it suddenly dawns on him "Oh-my god-no-it's-a-vagina!" Behind his head is a huge black and white photo of the biggest vagina he has ever seen. And it looks angry. Tim looks around and realizes to his surprise the room is simply jam-packed with photos of vaginas of all sizes - every gay man's nightmare.
Ryuji, a first grader Tim was tutoring, successfully got Tim to say the word "sex" by asking him to say the letter X five times. Ryuji then laughed at him for saying a "bad" word.
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