Some of you may know Marcus Bird from his online adventures around the world, with his web series Jamaican in Japan or Jamaican in Egypt. He is no stranger to Japan, having lived there for two years, and in particular, Tokyo. The former Tokyo socialite is releasing his new book, entitled “Naked As The Day”, which comes out on December 10th, 2013. He answers a few questions about the book below:
Welcome to Jamaipanese.com Marcus. So what will our readers get from reading your new book? Why did you write this book?
I had some very ambitious goals I worked to accomplish while I was in Japan and I learned that in seriously chasing a dream we have to make very hard choices. When you live in a foreign country you need to become tougher because there isn’t anyone around to help you. This means if you have moments of despair, it is the truest sense of despair. If you hit a big goal or take some amazing step, you experience the truest sense of elation. But the demands of certain things I tried to do had many dark, psychological components, which spilled over into my life, work and relationships. I explored elements of these experiences through the book’s protagonist, who is slowly breaking down from the quiet pace of life around him in the small town he lives in. He is drawn to Tokyo—in the way that any big city calls to us; with its attractive lure of uncertain promise.
What’s different about your book?
I think any novel written by a foreigner who lived in Tokyo will be unique, because everyone’s journey is unique. What I can say about my book is that it isn’t a “how to” guide or some heavy cultural exposé on all things weird in the land of the rising sun. First and foremost it is a story about a man and his struggles, set in Japan. It deals with adult themes like depression and anxiety, isolation and introspection. It gets dark, it gets sexual. I think this is important to say, because people are very, very curious about Japan and the common interest for many people are sensationalized things like talking robots, cute characters, Anime or the Harajuku girls who dress like dolls. But Japan also has real people with real lives, and the story is structured around this kind of Japan. But don’t get me wrong, the story is interesting and filled with vivid and quirky characters, but there won’t be any ninjas or sword wielding Yakuza in this book (laughs).
The only way most people can live in Japan is by teaching English, regardless of what their educational background is. As time passes this can become frustrating for some people. I take this angst and filter it through the lens of someone ready to try and break out of that way of life. So I take you into the world of people outside the English teaching gridlock; the world of Djs, models and actors. I take you into life in the heart of Tokyo city, through the trials of a guy trying to beat the system without breaking in the process. Kirk, you’ve been to Tokyo and you know there is a powerful energy and atmosphere there. When you’ve lived there for a while, this energy grows and grows and starts to become a part of how you think, act and function. I dive into that and mix it in with the central story.
Who do you think this book will appeal to?
This is a fast, big city story with interesting characters and vivid conversations. It is a book for people that like something different and unexpected. This is also a book for people who know about wanting to, or took a step towards self-actualization in the face of an uncertain future. Like my last novel, Sex, Drugs & Jerk Chicken I take you to a lot of places around town, from the alleyways of Shinjuku to booths in high-rise clubs, so people get a touch of “scenester” information from the book. There are cute girls and crazy people with massive egos. There is despair, comedy and occasionally insider information on Japanese life. You don’t need to have lived in Japan to read this book. It is a book for anyone who has ever felt uncomfortable where he or she is presently and know they can do more, and be more.
Thanks for sharing this with us Marcus, we look forward to reading the book.
Please take a look at the book trailer below and get your free chapter of “Naked As The Day”, coming out December 10th 2013.