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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mr Foreigner by Matthew Kneale

Almost anything Japan-related, I would be desperate to read/watch/listen. As for this book, I'd say it's kinda boring.

Image from Google.

Mr Foreigner, originally published as Whore Banquets, is written by Matthew Kneale. This edition was published in 2002 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. First published in Great Britain in 1987 by Victor Gollancz Ltd as Whore Banquets.

Matthew Kneale was born in London in 1960, the son of two writers. He studied at Oxford before spending a year in Tokyo where he taught English and first began writing. His latest book, English Passengers, was shortlisted for the 2000 Booker Prize and won the 2000 Whitbread Book of the Year Award. He travels extensively and has visited 82 countries to date. - credits from the book itself.


Daniel Thayne, a young Englishman, finds himself trapped in Tokyo. His passport lost, he is working illegally in a ramshackle language school, whose boss refuses to pay his salary. He is in a dead end relationship with Keiko, his cloying Japanese girlfriend, whose apartment is filled with stuffed toys.
His troubles are only beginning. As the hot, stormy weather of the rainy season descends, Keiko's family appear on his doorstep, determined to pressure him into marriage with their daughter by any means.Owners of their own mysterious and threatening 'Company Business' (or is it 'Business Company'?) they set about taking over his life. As Daniel resists, or tries to, he will learn a great deal about Japan - good and bad - and about his own culture.

From a Japanese-based book, I'd quite expect more Japanese terms. The only Japanese terms I found were "ita dekimasu", "arigato", "namae" and "campai" (should be spelled "kanpai" by Romanji terms). The author also referred to the Yakuza as "pimps".

Story-wise, it was annoying and boring - basically the same events went on again and again. The descriptions were also, in my opinion, sometimes a little blunt.

I'm still waiting for my copy of Yakuza Moon to arrive. My order has been placed on Amazon and it should be arriving any time within these two weeks.

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