Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hey! I read "My name is Loco and I'm a racist"

No need to lower your expectations for "My name is Loco" though!
To be completely honest, I didn't really have particularly high expectations on neighbourhood blogger Loco's self-published book "My name is Loco and I'm a racist". Well, maybe that doesn't sound completely right actually, I did have expectations on it being worth 10 bucks/1000 yen but I didn't expect it to be a "real" book in terms of editing, packaging and overall feel. My expectations were more of a re-packaging of posts and a little edited to be able to give some consistency and then published as a book. As I know Loco's writing from the blog, I would have been fine with this and I thought I'd write a generally nice "review" here saying something like "it holds up in book format as well".

I was wrong, to my surprise and delight, it's a "real" book. Like the man himself says, it's hard to label it, but I'd guess it's more of a memoir than anything else with large parts of it taking place in Japan (but by no means all). Loco comes from a completely different background from me, being black and growing up in New York during times of racial tension. The path that he has travelled is also very different from mine, but this is what makes it interesting to me as I find it interesting to read different perspectives from that of mine.

As the title of the book hints at, a lot of the book is discussing the topic of racism, but not in a theoretical judgemental way, but instead based on the personal experiences that Loco has had, in Japan and the US. Not only directed at him, as a black guy, but also his own prejudice. I unfortunately don't really have the time to elaborate more on the contents, but you can check out the Amazon page for more info, but if you have any interest in Japan and/or racial issues I can only strongly recommend the book. It's very well written, and contrary to my assumption, it's not a bunch of post from his blog fused into a blog (there's a few posts in there, but they mostly fit right in and if I hadn't read them on the blog, I'd never figured it out). It's also a ferociously honest book and at times quite emotional, but manages to pull it off.

So, anything I didn't like about it? Well, not much to be honest, there's just a few small things that I'd maybe recommend Loco to think about by the time the book goes into it's 4th printing. As great as the cover of the book is, I find it jarring a bit with the content as the cover makes it look like it's a book with funny anecdotes about the square peg in Japan. Don't get me wrong, there's humour in there, but it's not the dominating theme. I guess it's up to personal taste, but slap on a more suitable cover and put it in airport book shops and I think it could really reach an audience. Then there's just one or two posts from the blog that come off as slightly disjointed in context as people are mentioned in one chapter and then again later on in the book but there's nothing to bridge what has happened in the relationships (did anyone understand that?). It's more of a teaser than anything as one chapter makes me interested in knowing more on what happened later on but is not followed up on later in the book. Then finally, a really small thing, but in a few places the book writes out the Japanese characters for words but in most places it does not. For a nano-second or so it shakes my brain a bit and I personally think that the Japanese characters are not needed as the book is not for Japanese learning purposes anyway.

In conclusion. Get the book. If you are the type of person that haven't figured out e-books it's also available in a paperback edition now here. I'm eagerly looking forward to his upcoming stuff and what he could possibly pull off with hopefully decent sales from My Name is Loco behind him!

(Maybe I need to explain the choice of picture here a bit... But what I meant to illustrate here is how I initially expected the product to be like only to be surprised to see that it actually looks exactly like the picture on the box with no need to lower any expectations)       


kamo said...

My eyes! MY EYES!!!!

Too fucking right you'd better explain the choice of picture. While you're at at, you should explain to my wife why I WILL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN.

I thought I frequented some fairly 'specialist' websites, but never anything like this. You're one sick puppy, Salaryman.

Chris said...

That pic soiled my brain forever.
I'm going to be a twisted perv and it started right here and will end in some seedy back alley in Akiba...
Thanks for that!!!

Anonymous said...

That that is really a "What you see is what you DON'T get"...disturbing really

Will said...

Some packages are best opened in the dark. Love is blind for a reason.

Mr. Salaryman said...

Kamo - That doll would be a perfect birthday present to anyone, fantastic! I wonder if they got a lot of complaints on the picture and actual product not really matching up? Anyway, you'll sleep, eventually...

Chris - Nah, you'll be Ok Chris! I don't think it's a lot of fun to go down on one of these dolls so you'll stick to the living for sure, they'll enjoy it more too

Creepo - Disturbing indeed

Will - Wow, that's like... ... really... poetic and stuff ;)

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