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Big in Japan: A (Hungry) Ghost Story

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  15 reviews
“From Susie Wong to Madame Butterfly to Miss Saigon: you might think that we've had enough of American men adventuring, scoring, and coming undone in the Far East. But you'd be wrong. Gammarino's Big in Japan is a shrewd and lively book, sharp-eyed and unsparing in its account of a young American's good and very bad moments overseas. The writing is wired and the ultimate j ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by Chin Music Press Inc.
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3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  67 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
The anxious pining for that elusive other thing even as your good thing slips away...a hungy ghost story indeed. Gammarino delivers whip-smart dialogue, and the overwrought doldrums of twenty-something so-called genius contrasted against the hot, stink of new sex comingled with a doomed, and misguided love in the land of the rising sun. I did a double take over the MOON; and cringed when the hero hit rock bottom. And if that's not enough, Chin Music Press delivers a downright beautiful hunk of b ...more
Jun 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
What starts out as a seeminly straightforward band story evolves into something much more cerebral yet earthy- the very paradox at the center of the book. An engrossing study of desire, fetishism, Asiaphilia, Freudian sublimation, existentialism, a touch of Zen, and the nature of happiness, satisfaction, and love.
Although it may appeal to the casual Japanophile, take note: there are graphic descriptions of pretty out-there sex/fetish acts, and the faint of heart may find their stomachs turned.
Paul Phillips
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not a bad read, interesting twists and combination of genres.
Jan 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Delton Hulbert
Mar 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
I must begin by saying that I believe this book was intended to be deep. A thought machine of the millenial psyche, perhaps. I must immediately continue by saying that this novel stands as the single worst piece of writing I have ever read, and I have read My Immortal and its like a number of times. This will not be a pleasant review. Neither will it be a cursory one.

This is a story about a young man. The circumstances of his life are ultimately unimportant, since it is intended to be an examina
Apr 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: postmodern
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amber Brown
Jul 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
I do not know what I was expecting with flap copy claiming “erotic and grotesque”, but it certainly was appropriate for this book. I should preface by saying that I have two different opinions of this book: One for writing style and voice, and one for plot. When I read a book, I need to enjoy both to fully appreciate the work for what it is worth; this is why I disliked The Scarlet Letter so severely, despite its creative premise. However, this novel was the exact opposite in my eyes – excellen ...more
Jul 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Ulysses fans
Recommended to Carolyn by: Gammer!
I discovered this book because the author is someone I have known since high school and always considered to be a great creative mind.
Very well-written and well-paced as another reader commented. And I thoroughly enjoyed the Philly/Delco references…however, the story itself was missing something for me. I truly did not care about the protagonist Brain, except that I desperately wanted him to go away, grow up, wake up, stop being crazy, anything other than continue his pathetic existence. I wa
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: firstread
I received this book as a firstread and it was signed by the author so I would like to say a big thank you, I love it when firstreads are signed.

First off, I think this book is wonderfully written. From the point of view of the writing, creativity, and narrative flow I would give this book five stars. However I just cannot get passed a couple aspects that I really don’t like, which is why I gave it three stars.

The story happens around the coming of age of a wholly unlikable, pathetic, struggl
Dec 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it
This was an extraordinarily bizarre book, a bit like going on a rollercoaster ride through a seriously perverted house of mirrors. A few times I wanted to reach through the book and sucker punch the protagonist, who is the most self-centered, obnoxious, arrogant, hypocritical, small-minded little twit in the fictional world. The story was somewhat lacking, mostly involving the Brain's sexual exploits, all very graphic and disturbing in turns, and I kept reading towards the end to see if there wa ...more
Dec 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
A friend of ours wrote this and it's an amazing first novel! Extremely well written, a disturbing and engaging story about music, self discovery, and the dark underbelly of Japan. Hold onto your chair, it's a wild ride!
Feb 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
You have to like the character a whole lot to read a passage in which they literally eat hot poop.
Full review will be up at in a couple of days.
Travis McGuire
Apr 03, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
Unrelateable/uninteresting/unengaging characters kept me from finishing this. I may try again since I own the book or I may give it away. Probably the latter.
Dec 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
wicked funny. rread my review here:
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Jul 25, 2010
45th Parallel Communications
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Dec 29, 2009
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M. Thomas Gammarino is the author of the novels King of the Worlds (Chin Music Press, 2016) and Big in Japan: A (Hungry) Ghost Story (Chin Music Press, 2009), and the novella Jellyfish Dreams (Amazon Kindle Single, 2012). In 2013 he received Hawai’i’s highest literary honor, the Elliot Cades Award for Literature. He lives in Honolulu with his wife and kids.

“We're all prostitutes if you think about it. The whole capitalist system is built on meretriciousness. You sell your body or you sell your mind, and the Cartesian mind/body thing is a fallacy anyway, your mind is just your brain, so it amounts to the same thing really.” 16 likes
“The verse is supposed to get you hard so the chorus can suck you off.” 13 likes
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