mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Mysterious Japanese Mysteries

Finished Higashino Keigo's Salvation of a Saint, and very nice too. Of course one can see, in a foreign culture's mysteries, where the genre givens come in and reality goes out the window, a facet one is blind to in one's own. Even with the cozily unlikely likes of Miss Marple, one unconsciously agrees to suspend belief in order to make the entertainment work. With Japanese mysteries I can suspend belief but the pantomime doesn't always work, because what's simple logic/ common sense there-in-that-genre is psychologically off the wall here. 'She said she wanted to stop her subscription to the magazine because the serialized story she was following had become boring. But in fact it had become much more interesting, so she must have had another reason for cancelling her subscription.' Buh? There's no empirical 'boring' or interesting' here. How can reasoning like that lead you to the murderer?

As for why I was reading someone I'd never heard of ten days ago, it's a result of Hopscotch or Serendip or whatever you want to call the way I pick my books to read.

A week ago Friday I go into work and say 'Hey, what about that earthquake?' They say 'What earthquake?' because they were on the ground floor when it happened. Talk turns to Earthquakes I Have Known, esp ones in Japan. J, casual worker, says 'But they have all these tall buildings in Shinjuku' and I explain the (possibly mistaken) theory that Shinjuku is the one seismically stable area in Tokyo. 'But isn't that where all the yakuza are? I keep seeing these movies and reading these books--' I explain the concept of wards and machi and chomes and that yakuza are found in the red light sections more than near the government offices or the temple-heavy chomes of Shinjuku-machi itself.

'Oh right, Shinjuku san-choume, that's in this book I'm reading, whatsit called-- Shinjuku Something--' Hardly able to believe it, I venture, 'Shinjuku Shark?' 'Yeah! That's it! There's a whole series!'

Understand, I'm perpetually reading Shinjuku Zame myself and have been for oh lord, twenty years? I bought it mostly to find out if the book was as homoerotic as the movie was, way back in the day. And I don't believe it is, because even June magazine was surprised to find that Shinjuku Zame was a June film. That being so, there are always more interesting things to read. But now I discover it's been translated-- badly, I'm given to understand-- off I go to see if it's in the library system. Mh, yes, but only that one in English. Go to amazon to see what else is available. One other. What's with this 'whole series' the guy's talking about? (I mean, there is, but he doesn't read Japanese.) Well, so much for that...

And johnny on the spot amazon pops me up 'People who bought this book also bought...' Seigo Higashino and Miyabe Miyuki, who both look interesting, but Higashino is at my local library and that's what I've read. And that's how I find my books, when I don't pick them up off people's lawns.

As a plus, there's a buncha mystery theatre eps based on his stories(?) that might repay watching.
Tags: japan, reading_13, rl_13

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