Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sara Backer: American Fuji

A really good book that I'm reading right now.

A BookCrossing book, naturally. :-) It's a bookring, organized by totoroandmei. I started it on ... Tuesday, I think. I'm really enjoying it. It's an unusual story ... about some Westerners in Japan. Kind of a mystery - one of the two main characters is an American who's come to Japan to find out more about his son's death there one year earlier. (The son was a student at Shizuoka University.) The circumstances surrounding the accident and subsequent fatality are very peculiar and don't seem to quite add up. The father is trying to get to the bottom of it, but that's easier said than done. He's very frustrated by Japanese society, which he doesn't understand and feels anything but welcomed by. The other main character, an American woman who's lived in Japan for about five years, is trying to help him, but she has her own problems too. And she doesn't really want to get involved ... or does she ... ? ;-)

A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum ... a couple of little details that were fun for me personally, which makes the book stand out a little for me. The female gaijin, Gaby, exercises by running every morning, normally about the same route in her neighborhood. When she's running she passes by a - or the? - Tamiya factory. They're the world's top producer of model cars (models as in build-it-yourself kits) and radio control cars. They're like the Mercedes of the model kit world. :-) I used to sell those in my old job ... so it was fun when the factory suddenly popped up like that.

And in another scene, the bereaved father, Alex, is escorted to his hotel by a young Japanese woman. (He is an author and has managed to get to Japan as part of the promotion for his latest book, Why Love Fails. :-) They get to talking about relationships, men and women, love, etc. She's not really that into her boyfriend and from what she tells Alex, he doesn't treat her that well either. Alex thinks she should look for something better. But no, she can't do that, she's so old, 25 already ... at that age a Japanese woman just has to grab on to what she can get. She says. Alex is a little shocked, although to be honest he isn't that interested. (He has only come to Japan to find out about his son, he doesn't care much about the book tour.) But he feels it's really sad the way she sees things ... or the way things are for her. He has this sudden wild idea of taking her back to the States with him, he could be her Henry Higgins ...

So she was twenty years younger; in her culture, that wasn't a barrier. He could whisk her back to Seattle, put her through graduate school if she wanted, give her room to grow. 'What kind of man do you like?'

Her eyes got misty. 'Keanu Reeves.'

On the other hand, twenty years was a big gap.

LOL!! I know how she feels ... !! :-D

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