Tokyo Junkie: 60 Years of Bright Lights and Back Alleys . . . and Baseball
40+ years after The Chrysanthemum and the Bat, which TIME Magazine named the best sports book of the year in 1977, and 30+ years after You Gotta Have Wa, an absolute must-read for any baseball fan, Robert Whiting is at it again. The original English-language written voice of Japanese baseball now has a lifetime’s worth of perspective, wisdom, and observations from straddling the American and Japanese cultures, and this book encapsulates it all.
As Whiting puts describes it in the book’s prologue, the “story is part Alice in Wonderland, part Bright Lights, Big City, and part Forrest Gump, among other things. It is a coming-of-age tale as well as an account of a decades-long journey into the heart of a city undergoing one of the most remarkable and sustained metamorphoses ever seen.”
Arriving in Tokyo in 1962, Whiting entered a metropolis that was on the cusp of bursting onto the world stage, most visibly via the 1964 Olympics. Since then, the city has flourished and grown almost exponentially in so many ways, but not without its share of dark secrets and growing pains.
Whiting’s unique perspective as a curious, thoroughly-adapted foreigner who also happens to be a critical observer and world-class writer makes him the perfect person to document the city’s modern history.