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Book Review: The Year of No Money in Tokyo


I received my copy of Wayne Lionel Aponte’s 163-page book, “The Year of No Money in Tokyo,” in early June. Although it took me two-days to read the book (pretty good with my schedule), I will read it again to take additional notes for my podcast and to see if I missed anything interesting the first time around.

I emailed Mr. Aponte to query his interest in doing a podcast on his book and his life in Japan. He declined, saying that the format did not suit him. In all fairness, he did, however, offer to answer questions regarding his travel memoir. One “issue” that I took with his response was the tone of his reply [“No means no.”] to my follow-up email in an attempt to persuade him to provide an interview / response during a tag-team podcast with @JapanNewbie (Harvey in Japan) to our written reviews. I strongly believe that a podcast would add a more personal touch and enable me to probe for answers that printed words, considering the content, did not express in his memoir. Besides, a podcast would probably help him sell more books!

This post is in no means meant as a slight to Mr. Aponte but he is of the opinion that it is difficult to get men to read books and to write something about them. He informed me via email that most of his book sales and reviews are from women, which he feels is a pity, because his book is written from a male perspective.  For the record, I disagree that it is difficult for men to read books (it depends on the man and the book) “and write something about them (the books).” Unless these men are being compensated, completing the task as a school assignment, blogging, tweeting or into some other -ing, I do not put pair the two.

On the other hand, maybe one reason why men are not reading and writing about his book is due to “some” men in Japan that have experienced difficulties during an economic downturn or some men that have decided to “stimulate” the locals economically, have no desire to air their laundry. With that said, I do recommend the book, even though I have issues with the content and want a better explanation of why Japan had economic troubles for those that may not fully understand why the well-educated Mr. Aponte ended up in a situation that took him from white collar to basically a male host that provided “benefits.”

I have met many foreigners that had a run of back luck (some thrown in jail over B.S.) only to bounce back stronger and more grateful than before. Luckily, I  made it to the end of the book and found that Mr. Aponte seemed to become a better and less bitter man. In my humble opinion, The Year of No Money in Tokyo gives a point of view that, well, feeds into certain stereotypes and fears of black men (let alone the foreigner) in Japan while at the same time giving you an insight on Japan that is not found in other books discussing the Land of the Sun. It sort of makes me want to turn my book (based on true events) in a non-fictional work. Check Amazon to order and read more reviews on Mr. Aponte’s book.

Be sure to read Japan Newbie’s outstanding review on The Year of No Money for more!

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