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Wrong About Japan

de Peter Carey

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5862639,830 (3.11)1 / 22
The Booker Prize-winning author of Oscar and Lucinda describes how his shy young son's fascination with Japanese manga and anime led father and son on an intriguing odyssey to Tokyo, where they discover the intricacies of modern-day Japanese culture, from shitamachi and the Internet to kabuki and the samurai. The recipient of two Booker Prizes, Peter Carey expands his extraordinary achievement with each new novel and now gives us something entirely different. When famously shy Charley becomes obsessed with Japanese manga and anime, Peter is not only delighted for his son but also entranced himself. Thus begins a journey, with a father sharing his twelve-year-old's exotic comic books, that ultimately leads them to Tokyo, where a strange Japanese boy will become both their guide and judge. Quickly the visitors plunge deep into the lanes of Shitimachi into the weird stuff of modern Japan meeting manga artists and anime directors; painstaking impersonators called visualists, who adopt a remarkable variety of personae; and solitary otakus, whose existence is thoroughly computerized. What emerges from these encounters is a far-ranging study of history and of culture both high and low from samurai to salaryman, from Kabuki theater to the postwar robot craze. Peter Carey's observations are always provocative, even when his hosts point out, politely, that he is once again wrong about Japan. And his adventures with Charley are at once comic, surprising, and deeply moving, as father and son cope with and learn from each other in a strange place far from home. This is, in the end, a remarkable portrait of a culture whether Japan or adolescence that looks eerily familiar but remains tantalizingly closed to outsiders.… (mais)
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 Japanese Culture: Peter Carey's "Wrong About Japan"6 por ler / 6keigu, Fevereiro 2010

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Mostrando 1-5 de 25 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Great journey through Tokyo with an emphasis on anime and manga. Read as a prelude to my trip to Japan next year. ( )
  secondhandrose | Oct 31, 2023 |
This book caught my eye a while ago, not long after my return from Japan, because I hoped it would tell me a bit more about the country’s lively manga and anime culture. Only now have I got round to reading it, and I’ve been left feeling rather perplexed. What is it actually meant to be? Part memoir, part travelogue, part pop-culture history, part social analysis, it skips between different guises without ever really settling on one, or fulfilling any. Strangely unsatisfying, it’s perhaps best described as a father-son road movie, in which Carey and his manga-obsessed twelve-year-old son Charley fly to Japan in search of the truth behind this international art phenomenon...

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2019/01/08/wrong-about-japan-peter-carey/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Jan 8, 2019 |
An interesting tale of Father and Son traveling to Japan. Though Carey-san is often wrong in his understanding of Japan (especially of anime/manga) he appears to be making his best effort, despite his son's embarrassment. Cute and short. ( )
  Rekki | Apr 1, 2018 |
I really enjoyed this book and literally romped through it. I guess that might have been because I am slightly familiar with Japan through family and several visits. I have also read some of Peter Carey's novels. In some ways it is a book about the relationship between a father and his son, rather than a book about Japan, but Japan provides the backdrop. Sometimes I guess we have to remove ourselves from our usual environment in order to see and understand the nature of things.

When son Charley is offered a trip to Japan he says on p.10 '" Not if I have to see the Real Japan."' The challenge of Peter Carey's book is: what is the 'real Japan' for each reader. Certainly that was the challenge for me. When I think of my son-in-law's family making mochi rice on their farm, that is surely the 'real Japan'. It is real because our family has experienced that. Whereas Charley might have regarded that as the 'Real Japan' he didn't want to see.

Japan is made up of a host of realities, of real Japans and each person will have their own experience of those, or glimpse into them. Perhaps the book is about created reality with the boy Takashi being an example of a creation which for him is real and which is probably echoed by many other young people in the world and perhaps more obviously in Japan. Takashi's other realities are working at Mister Donut and conforming to business norms and practices, and on the other hand having a family - well a grandmother whom Charley and his father meet very briefly at the end of the book. Had they accepted Takashi's invitation, they would have seen another Real Japan. Well in a way on p.158 I think Charley recognised another reality from the one he had wanted to see.

On p.16 there is mention of 'old Japan, kimonos, fish and rice for breakfast'. Maybe there is an 'old Real Japan' and a 'new Real Japan.' In the new Real japan one would commonly have a salad for breakfast!.

On one trip to Tokyo I attended a performance of a Noh play - which reality was that? Or was it unreal but pointing to reality? Perhaps Peter Carey and his son had a comparable experience when they went to kabuki.

This book also highlights the fact that we pick and choose things when we go to a different culture, and sometimes when we experience something not chosen that is the reality.

Peter Carey does underline for me that there is a loud, brash and slightly scary angle to entertainment in Japan, and this is even evident in TV programmes for children. The beauty of his book is that he is able to underline some of the origins of that.

Really worth reading. ( )
  louis69 | May 13, 2017 |
Booker Prize winner Carey (Oscar and Lucinda) writes about finding a connection to his twelve year-old son through anime and manga. Eager to pursue their mutual interest, the two travel to Japan, where Carey's literary contacts lead him to interview the most famous anime directors in the country. Having promised his son before the trip that there will be no traditional Japanese cultural activities, Carey manages to slide in an interview with a master craftsman of samurai swords and a day of Kabuki, while his son surprises Carey by having made friends on the internet with a local anime fan who seems to know their every movement and pops up frequently hoping to tag along.
Beginning this, I knew nothing about either anime or manga, but Carey's plot synopsis of several of the popular ones intrigues me. ( )
  mstrust | Aug 20, 2013 |
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For both my sons, with all my love
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I was at the video shop with my twelve-year-old son when he rented Kikujiro, a tough-guy/little-boy Japanese film whose charming, twitching hoodlum is played by an actor named Beat Takeshi.
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The Booker Prize-winning author of Oscar and Lucinda describes how his shy young son's fascination with Japanese manga and anime led father and son on an intriguing odyssey to Tokyo, where they discover the intricacies of modern-day Japanese culture, from shitamachi and the Internet to kabuki and the samurai. The recipient of two Booker Prizes, Peter Carey expands his extraordinary achievement with each new novel and now gives us something entirely different. When famously shy Charley becomes obsessed with Japanese manga and anime, Peter is not only delighted for his son but also entranced himself. Thus begins a journey, with a father sharing his twelve-year-old's exotic comic books, that ultimately leads them to Tokyo, where a strange Japanese boy will become both their guide and judge. Quickly the visitors plunge deep into the lanes of Shitimachi into the weird stuff of modern Japan meeting manga artists and anime directors; painstaking impersonators called visualists, who adopt a remarkable variety of personae; and solitary otakus, whose existence is thoroughly computerized. What emerges from these encounters is a far-ranging study of history and of culture both high and low from samurai to salaryman, from Kabuki theater to the postwar robot craze. Peter Carey's observations are always provocative, even when his hosts point out, politely, that he is once again wrong about Japan. And his adventures with Charley are at once comic, surprising, and deeply moving, as father and son cope with and learn from each other in a strange place far from home. This is, in the end, a remarkable portrait of a culture whether Japan or adolescence that looks eerily familiar but remains tantalizingly closed to outsiders.

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