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Speed Tribes: Days and Night's with Japan's Next Generation
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Speed Tribes: Days and Night's with Japan's Next Generation

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3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  602 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
This foray into the often violent subcultures of Japan dramatically debunks the Western perception of a seemingly controlled and orderly society.
ebook, 304 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by HarperCollins e-books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,175)
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George
Aug 10, 2016 George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Βαθμολογία: 9/10

Ψάχνοντας για παλιές εκδόσεις ξένης λογοτεχνίας που κυκλοφόρησαν στην Ελλάδα μέσα στην δεκαετία του '90 -με την ελπίδα να βρω κανένα διαμάντι που τόσο καιρό μου είχε ξεφύγει-, πέτυχα το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο από τις εκδόσεις Πατάκη. Αμερικάνικο όνομα συγγραφέα, ενδιαφέρων τίτλος - οι μόνες διαθέσιμες πληροφορίες. Είπα να το ψάξω. Κοίταξα στο Goodreads και είδα ότι πρόκειται για μια καταγραφή των υποκουλτούρων των νέων της Ιαπωνίας, τέλη δεκαετίας του '80, αρχές δεκαετίας του '90. Ε
...more
Rick
Dec 23, 2012 Rick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those who think of Japan as wholly tradition-bound, pristine and conformist, this book paints a very different picture. Through chapter-long vignettes, each following a different person for a brief time, it captures the disaffected, alienated and, in some cases criminal, youth of Japan. Written in the early 90s, the book is interesting in that it likely was chronicling the front end of a problem that still exists today -- young Japanese who feel out of touch with the expectations of the soci ...more
S.
Feb 18, 2013 S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
suggestively-linked vignettes that confront the question, is it innocent Anglo-Saxon Westerners being seduced by the corrupt Japan or innocent sober Japanese being seduced by the drug-addled foreigner? meditation on appearances vs. reality, living in the moment vs. planning for the future, the potential of the individual vs. the cohesion of the group. Greenfeld "dog-whistles" or "winks at the Japan insider" with little twists of phrase, demonstrating an insider's knowledge of what the people kno ...more
Forrest Norvell
Nov 22, 2009 Forrest Norvell rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
Seamy is all right when it's backed up by gritty detail, but this entertaining but slight sociological foray into many of Japan's disaffected youth scenes wants all of the grime with none of the shoe leather. In its style and narrative, it's more William Gibson than Donald Richie. I love William Gibson, but he's a fiction writer, not an anthropologist or journalist, and is also informed by a pulp crime aesthetic that's at odds with some of the stories Greenfeld is trying to tell in this book. I ...more
Rand
Mar 19, 2013 Rand rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays, japan
Creative Non Fiction should be recognized as a genre by the US Library of Congress. Calling this book a collection of "case studies" denigrates the work of historians and sociology. That being said, this book is entertaining, some of the pieces moreso than others.

I wanted it to be Fruits in prose but it's not. At least not entirely. The story of the Map Maker and the one about Choco Bon Bon make the book worth picking up (for anyone interested in reading about smuggling and porn, respectively).
...more
Ashley
Jul 04, 2016 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was very interesting. I loved seeing this side of Japan. The writing style was also very captivating. Greenfeld did a fantastic job creating the setting and building up theses real characters. This books is more like journalistic approach but it reads like fiction. I'm also curious to know if things are still very similar ten years later. It's a book I think anyone should read if you're at all interested in Japan.
David B
Apr 02, 2016 David B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An occasionally awkward blend of reportage and fact-based fiction about Japan's own Generation X. I lived in Japan for three years, and although I never encountered any people of the type revealed in these vignettes, nothing I read in these pages conflicts with my own understanding of Japanese society.

The final section, about a computer-obsessed otaku, is an unfortunate way to end the book. It's speculations on the melding of man and machine are overdone; furthermore, it falls back on the old cl
...more
Kei
Jan 25, 2016 Kei rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting take on the parts of Japanese culture that we don't necessarily hear about from other sources. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of this culture and is explained through the description of routines and events around the lives of Japanese people - e.g. the chapter on Hostessing is centred around the life of a hostess, and so on. This proved to be an efficient way of explaining what things are really like. A lot of the facts and figures were astonishing, and though - consid ...more
Yupa
Jun 10, 2012 Yupa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dall'"Oriente" con furore...

Accozzaglia sensazionalistica di storiacce ad effetto sul Giappone come luogo dell'apocalisse postmoderna, della distruzione dell'individualità, della morte della cultura (qualunque cosa sia la "cultura"), delle perversioni psicosessuali più bizzarre e via sclerando.
Taglio molto giornalistico per soddisfare la mai sopita brama voyeuristica verso un'esotismo ributtante e seducente al contempo, tristemente inconsapevole della propria caricaturalità, a metà strada tra
...more
J.
Dec 16, 2009 J. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
...More like three and a half stars...
Slightly dated ('94) by now, but still well stocked with fascinating material about Fringe Japan, from the motorbike-punks to the salaryman-bar hostesses, from the yakuza wiseguys to the otaku, the computer hackers. Each chapter a different outing with a different subgroup, all of whom the author seems to have befriended for at least a while.

There is no doubt an unresolved question with a project like this one, resting on the ethics of representing a (fairl
...more
Sean
Aug 04, 2009 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who have lived in Japan for a while, people interested in Japanese subcultures
I absolutely destroyed this book in less than two days. It's a very easy read that keeps your interest and allows you to build reading momentum. Having lived in Japan since 2006 as an English teacher (I'm returning this summer) I found it especially interesting, because I've had first-hand contact with some of the subcultures that are described here (the right-wingers blaring slogans with loudspeaker-equipped trucks, otaku, etc.) That being said, some of the information seems a bit dated. For ex ...more
Paul
Jul 06, 2015 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
I think this book provides a good insight into Japan's next Generation and also another aspect of Japanese society. The stories are insightful and its interesting, but it would have been good to have photos to go with the different cases and people. I just wonder what will happen to Japan in the long run when this generation continues to grow. nevertheless a good read.
Wes Freeman
Nov 14, 2007 Wes Freeman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alternately compelling and sloppy, but always lurid, Speed Tribes' original sub-title was something like The Children of The Bubble. It was meant to chart young Japan after the economic bubble of the 1980s popped and left their parents wondering why they weren't rich anymore. It does that, I guess, never having been to Japan. Greenfeld, who is half-Japanese, is seriously about telling you how messed up Japan is and he's always searching for that borderline between the absurd and the pathological ...more
David Bonesteel
Jun 14, 2013 David Bonesteel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An occasionally awkward blend of reportage and fact-based fiction about Japan's own Generation X. I lived in Japan for three years, and although I never encountered any people of the type revealed in these vignettes, nothing I read in these pages conflicts with my own understanding of Japanese society.

The final section, about a computer-obsessed otaku, is an unfortunate way to end the book. It's speculations on the melding of man and machine are overdone; furthermore, it falls back on the old cl
...more
Sean
Jan 01, 2009 Sean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has it all: Sex, violence, drugs, nerds, hostesses, thiefs, mob-enforcers, radical-nationalists.. the list goes on and on. The author (who had the distinct advantage of being a half-Japanese gaijin, fluent in Japanese) provides a glimpse of the flipside of model Japanese-citizenry through a mosaic of short stories whose characters reside on the outer-rims of their society. These “tales from the darkside” almost made me sell my sampler, quit my job, and hop on a plane back in the day, u ...more
Andrew
Aug 27, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


Inspired by Greenfeld’s time spent employed and residing in Japan, this unconventional, personal ethnography (consistently accurate or not) does a spectacular job of perplexing readers' cultural, social and moral perceptions of Japan, its youthful and, as significantly, the individual observations of the readers about themselves.
Ryan
May 12, 2014 Ryan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-next-20
it was entertaining enough but at the end of it all there wasn't much to take from it. Some people have difficult decisions.... in Japanese culture and in every culture. Maybe Japan itself isn't as interesting as we like to think it is or maybe the characters didn't seem that alive to me but it still held my attention for 20 minutes at a time... like the Reader's Digest might. drugs.. sex... corruption... expectations of family and society... The usual. I love Japan.
Kay
May 02, 2009 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who liked the book by Nicholas Bornoff
Recommended to Kay by: Lynn
Shelves: fiction
A well written, journalistic style set of anecdotes about the various cultures in Japan that go against the usual stereotypes and imagery that are familiar.

Intriguing and thoughtful, each anecdote deals with an aspect of Japanese life in the form of fictional stories mixed with factual back-up and paints a realistic portarit of Japan that is far removed from the tourist promotions and cinema cliche.

Max Balestra
Jul 15, 2013 Max Balestra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: society
Very nice collection of tales from the economically roaring Japan of the 1990s.

The author collects real stories, but re-writes them so that the final result could almost be a beautiful collection of short stories that go across the entire japanease society. Yakuzas, young hackers, students of prestigious universities, right-wing extremists, are all among the protagonists.
Bach
Dec 29, 2012 Bach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthropology
A fierce and fun read about Japan's underground culture. From the troubled teens to the culturally insensitive, the book flies from case study to case study, documenting the varied issues in the next generation of Japanese. Bold and unrelenting, Speed Tribes is a great anthropological look into the uncertain future of one of the world's most diverse cultures.
David
Aug 17, 2009 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a fun time with this book though it was dated. The underground cultures in Japan have undoubtedly undergone permutations. Nonetheless, the descriptions depicted a side that I had never really experienced while in Japan. Some of the Japanese Greenfield used seemed off which also made me wonder how much creative license he took with his vignettes.
Michael
Aug 11, 2007 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
The first half of the book was much more compelling than the second. While Greenfeld discussed a number of aspects of modern Japanese society that I hadn't delved into previously, in the end I realised that the Japanese are fundamentally just as bad (or good) as Americans. This is probably an important realisation for a rampant Japanophile!
Crystal
I found this book a little glib, and the characters unlikeable, and was disappointed that it contained the usual weird errors found in non-academic books about Japan. Still, a little research showed that some of what I found hard to believe was actually true, so I'll give Mr, Greenfeld a little more credit.
Rita
Feb 25, 2010 Rita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of the stories were a really interesting read, but I did find it hard to get through 1 or 2 of them. I would love for there to be an updated version of this book (since it was written in 1994). Who knows how many of the cultures in this book have evolved, or even exist anymore.
Ryan
Apr 06, 2008 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I heard that about half of it's embellished (the author himself had a nasty drug habit, like many of his subjects). It's still a fun and quick read, particularly the sections about "choco bon bon." A movie loosely based on the titular motorcycle gangs is now in the works.
Mike
Feb 05, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a little after I graduated high school and found the book to be pretty interesting. The author reports on various subcultures found within the Japanese society. What was fascinating was that none of these cultures are really talked about outside of Japan.
Mud
Feb 17, 2008 Mud rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Eye opening. Greenfeld quickly dispells the myth of an orderly japanese society, providing a glimpse into a diverse set of Japanese subcultures. While I only found about half of the studies truly compelling, hence the two star rating, it's still worth the read.
Christina
Nov 16, 2007 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, culturestudies
I read this a long time ago when I took a Japanese studies class and it was a very fascinating book. Presents several different aspects of the differences in Japanese culture as well as some of the differences between the new generations and the older generations.
Tiger Baby
Sep 04, 2007 Tiger Baby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Japanophiles/Motorcyclists
Shelves: booksaboutjapan
This book was great. It totally shatters any preconceptions about the Japanese all being meek & polite. It's written by this young guy who is half Japanese and half Jewish. It delves into the underworld of Japan, written as only someone who's lived to tell the tale.
Michael
Someone could write a really good Elmore Leonard styled crime story based on the real life Yakuza, Bosozuko (motorcycle gangs), motorcycle thieves, pornstars, teen idols, hostess', and Otaku(fanatics/fanboys)featured in this book. I'm sure somebody has...
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I'm the author of six books, including the recent novel Triburbia, the story collection NowTrends, the memoir Boy Alone and the Japanese youth culture collection Speed Tribes
More about Karl Taro Greenfeld...

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