Cover Image: The Final Yen

The Final Yen

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Member Reviews

The Final Yen by R. Sebastian Bennett I worked for a Japanese Company for 30 years and lived in Tokyo for 3 years. This book is well written and is honest. I would call it a tragicomedy. The story takes place in about 1989 and is sober reflection by the author on his one year of pleasure, enjoyment, frustration and drunkenness working for a Japanese Advertisement Company. 
Many go to Japan with the hope of going local but in the case of Mr. Bennett try as he does, he cannot give in entirely to becoming a small cog in the great Japanese machine where truth is less important than “Wa”. 
I think this book is for those who grew up business wise frequently going to Japan and understand the joy as well as the frustration of living and working with the people in Japan. Having lived in Japan as well as China, they are so close geographically but galaxies away in their thinking. Neither is right or wrong just different and worse nearly impossible for a Westerner to be fully accepted no matter how hard one tries.
 Mr. Bennett has gone on after his Japan trip to gain a doctorate in Creative Writing, teach and publish widely. It is just not the story I can relate to but his excellent use of the word and story-telling that is most appealing about this book. I bow deeply to you and thank you for bringing back memories of my times in Japan.
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Bennet writes about an American man living in working in Tokyo during the 1980's in a series of related stories. I was living in Tokyo during this time period so I can vouch for the accuracy of his descriptions and for me as a reader, it was a nostalgic read. For readers who are unfamiliar with Tokyo during this time period, this will give them a good look at what life was like for a young white man working in sales. Everything felt very authentic to me.
The writing is solid and smooth. The only issue is the romanization of the Japanese phrases which are liberally sprinkled through each story. They need the eye of a proofreader, but I'm sure that will be taken care of upon publication.

An excellent addition to the gaijin in Japan genre! 
Thank you NetGalley for an advance copy of this book.
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