Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thanksgiving Shout to a Guy in a Bookstore in Tokyo

This Thanksgiving I want to send a shout out to the one guy in a city of 13 million who was willing to give me a shot.

If writing a book is like climbing a mountain, then marketing one is like taking on Everest. Marketing one in a country where hardly anyone speaks or reads your language is like taking on Everest with no oxygen. And no clothes. Hungover.

The goal was to convince one of the bigger booksellers in Tokyo to let me hold a book signing in one of their stores. So I started calling around.

“Sorry, we don’t do that kind of thing,” said the first person I spoke to once they’d deciphered my Japanese. “We don’t have many foreign customers,” said another. Someone from one of Japan’s largest and best-known chains told me to call back once I was famous – assuring that I wouldn’t.

I put down the phone. This shit was going nowhere.

Monday, November 15, 2021

I Was Plogging and I Didn't Even Know It

I heard once that the French don't care what you do as long as you pronounce it correctly. I don't know how far one can push that idea without garnering some major embarrassment if not a night in Jail du Nord. I do know that my French sucks, so they probably don't want me saying much of anything. After a certain episode in Nice in 1992 they haven't really wanted me there at all.

The Japanese have words for things that in other languages take half a day to explain. But I'm not sure they have a word for what I've been up to recently. Until the other day I didn't think anyone had a word for it. Then I discovered the Swedish term "plogging".