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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Effing Writers


I've been reading a few books on Japan lately... and a more than  few blogs... let's blame my friend Vince for that.

I usually detest reading anyone else's writing on a subject I am writing about for fear of it clouding my own opinions or style of writing.

And yet... it has been helpful.

Vince sent me some 25 books last month... and I'm slowly wending my way through them. I've got basketball playoffs and baseball to watch... I love hockey, but with my team out, it hurts to watch. And there's a host of TV shows I enjoy watching, as well. Plus, the boy wants to play a lot of catch with me, so I bit the bullet and bought both of us far too expensive baseball gloves.

My old glove came apart at the seams after 30 years of use... and my son... well... if he's playing in a league this year, I'll be damned if he uses a plastic glove.

I digress.

I read My Mother Is A Tractor by Nicholas Klar who was a JET around 2005, I think... he was never overly clear on that point in my mind... perhaps to make the book more sellable over a longer period of time... It was an enjoyable read even though he seems to have spent most of his two years drunk and rarely talks about teaching Japanese kids... and I am in the process of reading Learning To Bow: Inside The Heart Of Japan by Bruce Feiler.

Two things. Nicholas has a sense of humor quite similar to my own.... and while I admit to being drunk quite often in Japan I don't discuss it as often as Nicholas does... as I tend to focus more on getting laid... or as I used to feel... trying to be happy. I guess we all have ways of trying to achieve that. Read Nicholas' book and I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy it... though you might hope he would explain a few things in greater detail. 

Bruce... he lived in my prefecture - Tochigi-ken.... and was part of the first wave of JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme participants from 1987-1990, while I was part of the second wave from 1990-1993.

Bruce is a wonderful writer. He's too effing good. I hate his guts. :)

As well... he appears to have lived in a city called Sano-shi, and was the predecessor of my very good friend at the time, one Jeff Seaman, who taught at the same junior high school as as Bruce from 1990 on.

Now... because I love a good coincidence... before I started Bruce's book... a book in which he starts the reader off with such an amazing introduction to the Japanese people that in my head I was calling it bull-crap, because there's no way that could happen... it sure didn't happen to me.... but... the coincidence was that just two days before I started this book given to me by Vince, I was having fun writing a chain of e-mails between us.

Vince is a very funny dude, and he made some crack about something, which led me to tell him a story about my friend Jeff Seaman... someone who I haven't thought about in a while.

Then... I read Bruce's book and I'm thinking about Jeff Seaman again. 

And then Vince sends me a link to the Amazon website... and dammit all, but its to a book written by Jeff Seaman entitled Japanese Nightmares (The Ronin Memoirs)...

WTF?! What's up with Sano-shi that there are two gaijin writers?! And my buddy Jeff an author? I hate his guts! :)

Now when I say I hate Jeff and Bruce... and Nicholas... it's just because I'm jealous... or envious... which one doesn't make me look too much like a complete dick?...

Anyhow.... I'm just unsure if the Jeff Seaman I knew is the same as this author Jeff Seaman.

My Jeff... for about a year or so back in 1992, we embarked on a literary experiment in Japan. He wrote a page of a story... something serious... and then I was to add the next page of plot... usually something lighter because I always thought I wrote comedy better (truthfully... I enjoy writing comedy more, but I've been told I am a far better serious writer... not that we'll ever know here - but I do create a minimum of three articles a month for the industrial magazine I write for during the day)... and how, Jeff and I would continue to MAIL (not e-mail) pages of story back and forth to each other.

So... I know he can write. He also used to write comedy pieces for me for the Tatami Times newsletter I was editor of for about seven months before I got pissed off with AJET propaganda... and I knew he loved to read comic books... brother's-in-arms, so to speak.

Anyhow... this is just me getting my thoughts out there. The Jeff  I knew married a Japanese woman and stayed in Japan for years and years... and I lost contact with him... so... if anyone knows the author Jeff Seaman and can tell me if he is the same Sano-shi AET, I would appreciate it. And maybe get him to contact me and send me a free copy of his book(s)  - autographed of course...

I would love to write my own book, too. But I keep giving it all away for free here in this damn blog. You cheap buggers!

On the plus side... and here's where I think I'm doing okay... this blog has over 1.3 million hits... even assuming people accidentally found it and discovered it wasn't for them, I probably have a million reads. I don't wish to presume that Bruce, Nick and Jeff can't match that... but... ahh, who am I kidding... in my mind, nothing beats the tactile feel of a paper book over a computer screen. I need to write a book... I have about 90 short stories and two novellas... but nothing long enough for a book. 

I must have ADHD or something... it might be why I get bored and only write short stories... 

Hey... Allison W... professionally-speaking... we should do that book we once talked about. Don't make me have to do it myself. I do enough of that already.

Anyhow... thanks for reading this blog even though I know most of the hits seem to be for porn-related material. Sex sells, I suppose. Hmmmm. 

Cheers,
Andrew Joseph
   

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