Wrong about Japan
By Peter Stafford Carey
(Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9781400078363, 158pp.)
Publication Date: January 3, 2006
List Price: $15.95*
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When Peter Carey offered to take his son to Japan, 12-year-old Charley stipulated no temples or museums. He wanted to see manga, anime, and cool, weird stuff. His father said yes. Out of that bargain comes this enchanting tour of the mansion of Japanese culture, as entered through its garish, brightly lit back door. Guided–and at times judged–by an ineffably strange boy named Takashi, the Careys meet manga artists and anime directors, the meticulous impersonators called “visualists,” and solitary, nerdish otaku. Throughout, the Booker Prize-winning novelist makes observations that are intriguing even when–as his hosts keep politely reminding him–they turn out to be wrong. Funny, surprising, distinguished by its wonderfully nuanced portrait of a father and son thousands of miles from home, Wrong About Japan is a delight.