February 4, 2009

OMG David Sedaris was in Japan...

When I first heard that David Sedaris would be publishing a new book, I thought...oh goody!

It took me (what felt like) forever to get my copy but I finally read it (a couple of weeks ago actually).  Since I haven't started to write about books on this blog (and will probably let that be), why am I writing about this one?  Because the last chapter of this book is "The Smoking Section" - an essay (or more like a blog) about David's struggle to quit smoking.  Of all the places he chooses to begin this challenge... 

Japan - a country where it is still hard to find coffee shops that aren't filled with smoke, a place where you can not wake up and smell the coffee because all you smell is that funky cigarette odor.  (Of course I am exaggerating, but only by 1 pixl.)  So it was a delight to read about somebody choosing Japan as a place to quit smoking... it's like two stories in one.  
1. a struggle to quit smoking.  2. a view of Japan from a unique individual such as David. (  By this I mean a funny, sarcastic and rather witty gay man.)  

I kind of wished he wrote the whole book on Japan.  There are quite a few books about the gaijin  (foreigner) experience of living in Japan and the majority of them are dull, repetitive and quite frequently filled with language mistakes.  The essay "The Smoking Section" was a "breath of fresh air".
Oh, the title of this book "When You are Engulfed in Flames" comes from a phrase that David found in a hotel booklet under the "safety section"... Japan is filled with unique and sometimes poetic signs (ok, ok, mistakes).  
My recent finds are:
"It Looks For" (from a real estate company flyer)
"Hare Style" (a beauty parlor sign)
"Stuff Only" (on a door that says "staff only" in Japanese)


Christine said...

I loved this book! Doesn't it make Tokyo seem a little bit more exotic? It does for me anyway...

I_am_Tulsa said...

It does! I think I prefer to read about Tokyo through someone like David's eyes, than to going there myself...I always feel so lost!
Thank you for stopping by! I was real happy to see someone in Japan on Brad's blog! His stuff is so interesting!