japanese author

Train Man by Hitori Nakano

382980Title: Train Man

Author: Hitori Nakano, Bonnie Elliot (Translator)

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Humor, Romance, Japanese Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


An instant bestseller when it was first published in Japan, Train Man became a multimedia sensation, generating a smash-hit TV series, a blockbuster film, and multiple manga series. Now here’s the novel that started it all.

Boy–bashful and not overly brave–defends girl from obnoxious drunk on a Tokyo train. Girl sends boy a thank-you pair of pricey Hermés teacups. Boy’s a geek and doesn’t know what to do next. End of story for most nerds–but this one turns to the world’s largest online message board and asks for help, so for him it’s just the beginning. This matchless love story is told through a series of Internet chat room threads.

As Train Man, our hero charts his progress and unveils each new crisis–from making conversation to deciding what to wear on a date and beyond–in return, he receives advice, encouragement, warnings, and sympathy from the anonymous netizens. And Train Man discovers the secret to what makes the world go round–and proves we really do live in a universe where anything can happen.

Let me say this outright: Train Man is definitely not a book for everyone.

It’s one of the geekiest books I’ve ever read, as it deals with a guy who meets a girl and tells people about it on an online forum. The aforementioned guy isn’t the normal drop-dead gorgeous male lead you usually find in books, but rather, he’s a normal otaku (or geek, in English) who is shy and awkward and seems to spend an abnormally large amount of time telling his woes to the internet. This person is me

Train Man is told in the form of an online forum where people comment, usually a line or two, one after the other. You have no clue who these people are. There aren’t really any names since, well, this forum deals with anonymous people talking to each other. The story revolves around this guy who is fondly called Train Man by the commenters, because he defends a girl from a drunken idiot on a train and receives a pricey gift as a thank you. Because he’s awkward and clueless, he proceeds to run to the internet for help on how to deal with this.

Every time our hero posts an update, people comment and give advice or sympathy. With each update comes a barrage of comments. Some are trolls, some warn him to be cautious, but a lot of people offer advice and encouragement and sympathize with our hero.

I can see why most people dislike this book. If you’re not familiar with forums, it can be very confusing to read. If you’re not a person who spends a lot of time on the internet (aside from Facebook), you might find it strange that people communicate this way. Why would people even talk to complete strangers, let alone trust their advice, about their problems? They don’t even know each other. There are barely any names (if any). If you want to respond to a comment, you refer to the comment’s number (Comment #525, for example). It probably seems really silly to most people. XD

But that, I guess, is the beauty of the internet. It gives us the bravery to say and do things we wouldn’t dare in real life. It gives us the power to be something more than we could ever dare or hope to be in real life. Sure, there are terrible people on the internet (people far worse than trolls, definitely), but Train Man gives us an excellent view of how people communicate and help each other out despite knowing virtually nothing about each other.

I find Train Man quite humorous and entertaining because I’ve been on several online forums myself. I’ve met many people online and retained friendships with them, some for years now. It’s amazing how a common interest or cause can unite people and cause a bond between them, no matter how far apart they are. It probably sounds silly to say that some of the best or most interesting people I’ve ever met are people I’ve never seen or met. I only know them by their usernames and avatars and the way they express themselves on the internet.

Sure, I could be talking to some creepy old fat white guy who lives in a basement (or, maybe I am one of those creepy men and you have no clue about it! OOO: ) but no one would ever know. Unless I started stalking people, I guess. (Don’t worry, I never would I’m too lazy anyway lol) I do think it’s interesting that how you look doesn’t matter at all when you’re on the internet discussing games or books or whatever. It’s the way you think and how you share stories and interact with other people, and I find that a very wonderful thing.

Train Man is the story of the internet. Of geeks, of awkward introverted people like myself who like the anonymity and can openly share things without the fear of being judged your whole life. Train Man is also a love story, but what speaks the loudest to me is the kindness and compassion of people in the story. In a world where I am constantly annoyed and frustrated by how horrible people are to each other, this book serves as a reminder that not everyone is horrible/apathetic. That there are people out there who care, or will care if you share your story with them. These are the same people who will defend you against trolls and bullies and other idiots. It really is amazing.


The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

Okay, I was supposed to write reviews for the books I listed in my previous post, but I just needed to gush about this book first!!


Title: The Devotion of Suspect X

Author: Keigo Higashino

Genre: Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

From Goodreads:

Yasuko Hanaoka is a divorced, single mother who thought she had finally escaped her abusive ex-husband Togashi. When he shows up one day to extort money from her, threatening both her and her teenaged daughter Misato, the situation quickly escalates into violence and Togashi ends up dead on her apartment floor. Overhearing the commotion, Yasuko’s next door neighbor, middle-aged high school mathematics teacher Ishigami, offers his help, disposing not only of the body but plotting the cover-up step-by-step.

When the body turns up and is identified, Detective Kusanagi draws the case and Yasuko comes under suspicion. Kusanagi is unable to find any obvious holes in Yasuko’s manufactured alibi and yet is still sure that there’s something wrong. Kusanagi brings in Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist and college friend who frequently consults with the police. Yukawa, known to the police by the nickname Professor Galileo, went to college with Ishigami. After meeting up with him again, Yukawa is convinced that Ishigami had something to do with the murder. What ensues is a high level battle of wits, as Ishigami tries to protect Yasuko by outmaneuvering and outthinking Yukawa, who faces his most clever and determined opponent yet.

Wow. This. Book. Is. Brilliant.

Okay, so the reason I actually discovered this book was because someone in K-pop was reading it and I was curious to find out about his reading tastes. LOL @ my shallow reasons XDD But I regret nothing now!!!

The Devotion of Suspect X begins with an accidental murder. Yasuko Hanaoka is your normal lady trying to live a normal life with her daughter. Except she’s got this no-good ex-husband, Togashi, who shows up and tries to get money from her. She tries to refuse, he threatens her and eventually he ends up dead on the floor of her apartment. Her neighbor, Ishigami (who has a sort of crush on her), overhears the commotion and decides to help her get rid of the body and cover up the entire thing.

Okay, that sounds pretty normal for a mystery/crime novel, I guess. Except Ishigami is a mathematical genius who uses logic to create a plan that is super brilliant, and one I don’t really want to talk about because I might end up saying something spoilery. Nevertheless, it is amazing to read the book and unravel the pieces of the puzzle one by one.

It’s pretty interesting how math is a factor in this…I hate math but the way it is explained in this book is simple and easy to understood (kudos to you author and translator!!). I’ve always said you don’t really need ~complicated math in real life but…Ishigami treats the murder like a mathematical equation and just… nah, nope not gonna say anything because

But anyway. I was surprised at how fast I read through this book, even with the math equations and explanations. Because normally math makes me fall asleep or run away. lmao The story just sucked me in, waiting in anticipation and dread for them to discover who the killer was. Because I really, really didn’t want the police to find out since Yasuko, well, was justified in her reasons and I didn’t want her life (and her daughter’s) to be ruined :c

The plot twist totally killed me because I did not see it happeniiiiiing AT ALL, which was pretty awesome for me because…this is a crime novel where you know from the start who the killer is. It’s just..how everything was done being slowly explained throughout the book that’s so enthralling…and just when I thought I knew everything and decided to just wait for the inevitable (because well, shouldn’t all crime novels end with the crimes being solved lol), the author came and punched me in the face while cackling and saying, “Hah! Surprise!!”

And that left me stunned and unable to sleep for a while, despite the fact that I stayed up late to finish reading. lels

bless my source for discovering a new author to love huhu