Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Review | My Japanese Husband Thinks I'm Crazy

My Japanese Husband Thinks I'm Crazy by Grace Buchele Mineta
October 2014 by Texan in Tokyo
172 pages
Amazon + Good Reads
4/5 stars

""My Japanese Husband Thinks I'm Crazy: The Comic Book" is the autobiographical misadventures of a native Texan freelancer and her Japanese "salaryman" husband: in comic book form. From earthquakes and crowded trains, to hilarious cultural faux pas, this comic explores the joys of living and working abroad, intercultural marriages, and trying to make a decent pot roast on Thanksgiving."
-Good Reads

If you follow me at all on Twitter, you may have noticed a recent obsession that has taken me and my friend, Ke-sha, by storm. We are absolutely and 100% obsessed with vloggers who document their everyday lives... but more specifically, we love watching American and Canadians who live in Japan. I know that you're probably giving me the side eye and scratching your head but trust me - these glimpses into lives that are happening halfway across the world are fascinating. I know little to nothing about Japanese culture except what is mainstream in America - I know about manga and anime, Pokemon and heck, I can even claim to know several Studio Ghibli films. But I have enough self(American)awareness to recognize that this it not a fair (perhaps even accurate?) representation of Japanese life and so, as always, I turned to the internet.

This is where Grace and her husband, Ryosuke, enter the picture. I won't spend time discussing their YouTube channel because this is supposed to be a book review after all. But suffice it to say that I've watched every single video and vlog within the past week and I adore the glimpses of their lives that Grace and Ryosuke allow viewers to be privy to... and because I consumed so much of their content, it was only a matter of time before I became aware of and purchased Grace's first book - My Japanese Husband Thinks I'm Crazy

Grace chronicles sweet moments between herself and her husband and comedic little snippets about the life of an American adjusting to Japanese culture via short comic panels and informative articles and anecdotes. It seemed to me that Grace was being honest with her experiences and was not trying to accomplish an agenda or convince her readers of anything. She is simply telling her story and trying to make it easier for foreigners and Japanese alike by letting us in on some cultural faux-pas to look out for. 

At 172 pages, this comic/book was a quick and easy read and I enjoyed it immensely. Grace is a writer as well as an artist, and as a fan of her YouTube content, I was happy to find that I enjoyed this form of media as much as I love their videos. I think that it is also important to include that you do not have to be a fan of or even have knowledge of Grace's YouTube videos - her book stands on its own. 

So, who would I recommend this to? Anyone who enjoys Texan in Tokyo videos, obviously... but also to anyone who is a Westerner and is curious about Japanese culture. Like I said earlier, I knew nothing about authentic Japanese culture and I've walked away from this book not only knowing more about a favorite YouTuber, but also more knowledgeable about the Japanese culture... and I'm happy about that. Because we all know that Ke-sha is going to win the Powerball and fund our trip to Japan, right? 

*I want to mention that I purchased this book from the Amazon Kindle store and read it on my iPad. If you're thinking about buying the e-version but are worried about how it will look, I can attest that (at least on iPad), it was beautiful. 

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