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You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O.: A…

You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O.: A photo-essay dissecting the…

by Nicholas Floyd

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You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O. is a fascinating little book, but let's quickly talk about what is *isn't*. It's not a deep sociological or anthropological study. The author makes a number of observations -- some serious, some humorous. But they represent the musings of a foreigner, not an academic review. It's also not a coffee-table style book full of impeccably framed professional photographs. The photos are casual, although that doesn't necessarily make them less appealing.

With that said? I found it irresistibly interesting. I went through the entire book in one sitting, and walked into another room to show off a couple of the funnier photos. It's a very quick and easy read, and you learn something: once you're done, you have some insight into a foreign culture. I think it would be a great book to send as a gift for someone about to hop on a plane or bus, and I'm glad I had a chance to read it.

I do have some suggestions for the author for his next work. I felt like this book might have been improved if it hadn't spent the entire time in his own headspace. Recounting more conversations (particularly with other foreign observers like himself) would have been enlightening. And of course the book is quite short -- a longer tome would have been appreciated.

Disclosure: I was recently provided a complimentary copy of You Can't Spell Toyko Without K.O. to review on Kindle. I strive to provide honest and unbiased reviews regardless of where I acquire the books that I've read. ( )
  Michael.Sullivan | Dec 10, 2016 |
Just didn't get the point of this book. I'm not one to laugh at photos of people sleeping in public because they are tired or drunik. ( )
  CassandraSabo | Aug 5, 2016 |
Mr. Floyd's book was extremely interesting because it tied together research in overcrowding in mice with the results of overcrowding and overwork in Japan. It explained how it is considered "wrong" to leave work before the boss does, and often a person will go in to work one morning and not leave until the next evening. In addition, transportation is often extremely crowded and commutes may be as long as four hours. Also, if a subordinate is urged by a supervisor to drink alcohol, it is not proper for him to refuse. The result of all this is that many Japanese go to sleep at odd times, in odd places, in odd positions. Floyd does not suggest a remedy for any of these problems. He simply presents the problems. ( )
  Anne_Wingate | Jun 23, 2016 |
okay, I've lived on a few different continents, Asia being one of them, and I still don't get this book. apparently there is a social phenomenon in Japan around sleeping, passing out, drunk, acting like people are unresponsive in public. The book is cool, but I don't get the premise. You could do this in any other place in the world after a long day, drinking binge, or whatever. ( )
  kristincedar | Mar 28, 2016 |
What first seemed to be a list of pictures with insinuations of what could have happened, turned out to be the perfect window and insight into Japan's K.O. phenomenon.
As a foreigner, I was in for quite a (culture) shock when I first set foot in Finland. Women falling out of the bus? Passing out in public? Noooo! I'm not naive... but where I come from, it simply happens behind closed doors. So I wondered... Is there something similar happening in Japan? Than what I experienced here in Finland? There might be a certain amount of alcohol involved, though the truth is a lot sadder...
Floyd manages to point out the aspects and causes in such a way it became - to me, a fascinating matter. You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O. is far more interesting than I initially anticipated. An intriguing read! ( )
  NinaCaramelita | Mar 14, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0996173242, Paperback)

Every day, all across the city of Tokyo, a curious phenomenon unfolds: scores of blue- and white-collar citizens end up passed out — sometimes in spectacular fashion and mind-boggling positions — on the streets, on trains, in restaurants, in bushes, or anywhere else imaginable. Come nightfall, one might stumble upon a well-to-do Japanese salaryman lying crumpled and snoozing facedown on the sidewalk, apparently walloped by a haymaker of fatigue that sent him crashing down for the count. These brutal knockout punches sometimes involve intoxication, but alcohol alone fails to explain this widespread yet unintuitive phenomenon: making a public spectacle of oneself in a society like Japan’s, where conformity and shame heavily regulate behavior. Rife with fascinating insights into Japanese culture, You Can’t Spell Tokyo Without K.O. embarks on an eye-opening journey where social commentary and candid street photography explore the various societal factors — some enviable, some alarming — that contribute to this epidemic of passing out in public.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 21 Feb 2016 16:14:27 -0500)

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