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New Books

I placed an order with Amazon Japan (THE place to get your foreign books in Japan, you pay the American price and get free shipping – foreign books in Japanese bookstores are usually at least double the cover price) the other day, a couple of books that I received yesterday, one of them being the latest James Bond novel by Raymond Benson. I’ve already explained how I’m enjoying these novels by Benson, and this one, THE MAN WITH THE RED TATTOO, I’m enjoying even more because of its setting, which is Tokyo (as of page 75). It’s nice that you can see how much research went into the book as everything is very accurate, from all the Japanese vocabulary used, to describing Bond’s meeting with Tiger Tanaka (the character you might remember from the YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE movie, and who was portrayed by veteran actor Tetsurou Tanba, who these days makes lots of appearances on the Japanese variety show circuit) in front of the Hachiko statue in Shibuya, all the way to Yoyogi Park (where Tanaka’s secret underground base is located, of course). This is just fun stuff, and I’m hopelessly addicted to it. If only the movies were this good.

The other book I got is McSWEENEY’S MAMMOTH TREASURY OF THRILLING TALES, which sees author Michael Chabon editing short genre stories by a whole bunch of people who usually don’t write that kind of stuff (like Dave Eggers, Nick Hornby, Elmore Leonard, and much more). Looking forward to reading it as soon as I’m done with the Bond book, which should be tomorrow at the rate I’m going.

Also picked up this week’s issue of HANAKO magazine, a sort of city guide like TOKYO WALKER, but which seems to be aimed at women. It features an article on interesting places to visit in Ikebukuro, which I’m always on the lookout for. There were actually quite a few cafes/bars/restaurants that were mentioned that I’d never heard of, which should make for some good outings. I usually never go out for a drink in Ikebukuro (land of very cheap bars with no style), but finding a place within stumbling distance from my place would be nice.