A classic memoir of self-invention in a strange land: Ian Buruma's unflinching account of his amazing journey into the heart of Tokyo's underground culture as a young man in the 1970'sWhen Ian Buruma arrived in Tokyo in 1975, Japan was little more than an idea in his mind, a fantasy of a distant land. A sensitive misfit in the world of his upper middleclass youth, what he longed for wasn't so much the exotic as the raw, unfiltered humanity he had experienced in Japanese theater performances and films, witnessed in Amsterdam and Paris. One particular theater troupe, directed by a poet of runaways, outsiders, and eccentrics, was especially alluring, more than a little frightening, and completely unforgettable. If Tokyo was anything like his plays, Buruma knew that he had to join the circus as soon as possible.Tokyo was an astonishment. Callow and unformed, Buruma found a feverish and surreal metropolis where nothing was understated, and everything shouted for attention--neon lights, crimson lanterns, Japanese pop, advertising jingles, cabarets, and PA systems. He encountered a city in the midst of an economic boom where everything seemed new, aside from the isolated temple or shrine that had survived the firestorms and earthquakes that had levelled the city during the past century. History remained in fragments: the shapes of wounded World War Two veterans in white kimonos, murky old bars that Mishima had cruised in, and the narrow alleys where street girls had once flitted. Buruma's Tokyo, though, was a city engaged in a radical transformation. And through his adventures in the world of avant garde theater, his encounters with carnival acts, fashion photographers, and moments on-set with Akira Kurosawa, Buruma underwent a radical transformation of his own. For an outsider, unattached to the cultural burdens placed on the Japanese, this was a place to be truly free. A Tokyo Romance is a portrait of a young artist and the fantastical city that shaped him. With his signature acuity, Ian Buruma brilliantly captures the historical tensions between east and west, the clash of conflicting cultures, and the dilemma of the gaijin in Japanese society, constantly free, yet always on the outside. The result is a timeless story about the desire to transgress boundaries: cultural, artistic, and sexual....
|Title||:||A Tokyo Romance: A Memoir|
|Number of Pages||:||256 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Download » A Tokyo Romance: A Memoir|
A Tokyo Romance: A Memoir Reviews
“You know,” he said, before we parted company at the Hongo subway station, “you have to be a romantic to live in Japan. A person who feels complete, who does not question who he is, or his place in the world, will dislike it here. To be constantly exposed to such a radically different culture becomes unbearable. But to a romantic, open to other ways of being, Japan is full of wonders. Not that you will ever belong here. But that will set you free. And freedom is better than belonging. Y ...more
A very disappointing book from this writer and essayist.
Over the years, and especially going back and forth from Japan, I have read many books by fellow Americans and some British citizens on their time spent in Japan. A lot of them are crap. The ones that stand out are the ones that wrote about Japanese cinema and literature. The girls or guys who went there to get a job as an English teacher are usually not that interesting, but alas, those who are devoted to a specific Japanese artist or thinker, then yes I very much enjoy that type of book. There ...more
Gaijn, buitenstaander zijn en blijven in Japan. Als Gaijn kan je het leven met kalme onthechting observeren zonder aan iemand iets verplicht te zijn, vertelt Donald Richie, een Amerikaan die jaren in Japan woont, en Buruma inwijdt in de Japanse cultuur en kunstwereld. Ian Buruma vertrok op jongen leeftijd naar Japan om zich los te maken van het eigen milieu en kennis te maken met een totaal andere wereld als Japan was en is.
Hij schrijft zich in als student bij een filmacademie waar hij niet vaa ...more
Uninspired. And at least 60% of the material here can be found in other (better) books by Buruma.
Having lived and study in Japan, I initially had trouble relating to the author's engagement in the Tokyo arts community and the seeming view that it represented a foreigner's typical experience in Japan. There is an objective, nonchalance description of some disturbing art he experienced. However, he did win me over as the book progressed and I felt his memoir did capture the distinctness of Japan and a foreigner's inability to be accepted by the Japanese and his attempts at "fitting in" while ...more
This is a memoir, by the editor of the New York Review of Books, which takes us largely to his life in Japan, between 1975 and 1981.
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A restless, bored, middle-class youth in the Netherlands, Buruma felt that he never fit in to his own society, that he was always on the fringes, the outsider looking in. He travels to Japan, where he explores both his emerging self, and the Japanese film and theatre culture.
The author Ian Bu ...more
Ian Buruma is one of my favorite public intellectuals due to the variety of subjects he explores in his writing, Asia and Europe, religion and history among other others. However, he cut his teeth in Japan and that is where I first came across his writing in the fascinating Behind the Mask, which had some interesting insights into Japanese culture-particularly literature and film. So I had somewhat high expectations for this memoir, A Tokyo Romance (2018), that were not met. That being said ther ...more