Reflection: Abandon the Old in Tokyo, part 3

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I said the last time that I stopped blogging for a while that it wouldn’t happen again. But it did. Sorry guys. Here’s a short one though on the next two parts of Abandon the Old in Tokyo. Really losing interest in this collection now, but only one more to go. Think I might post an update on my reading list in the coming days, so that will be something.

 

Unpaid:

The main character in this story is an ageing man who’s company has recently gone under as a result of poor dealings. He losses everything he has as a result of his company’s collapse. His wife leaves no longer loves him because he can’t provide for her and debt collectors start paying him visits looking for the money he owes. With nothing of his former self remaining the main even losses touch with his humanity and by the end of the story has sex with a dog. Yes, I just said that, this story has a man who has sex with a dog. On that note, I think I will just move on.

 

The Hole:

In this story a man finds himself lost in the woods when he stubbles upon a woman living in a cottage. He asks the woman for directions out of the woods, but is tricked and becomes trapped in a hole and held as a hostage by the woman. She tells him that she will release him if he loves her, but he is unable to prove that he loves her and he remains trapped. Eventually the man’s wife comes looking for him and meet the woman. She discovers what has happened to her husband, and tells him that she will help him escape, if he doesn’t divorce him. He agrees he won’t, but the wife doesn’t believe and abandons him to die in the hole. Now once again, Tatsumi doesn’t portray women in the greatest of light, however, he also addresses issues of women feeling they need to change themselves for men. All in all, neither gender really wins out in this story.

 

I feel that I’m not really giving this collection the recognition that it deserves. They are really poetic and thought provoking short stories. They just aren’t really my cup of tea. I also don’t care for some of the themes that flow through the stories and this is making me lose a bit of focus on what the message is. Overall, Yoshiro Tatsumi’s story’s are just too cynical for my liking.

 

Turtle

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Reflection: Abandon the Old in Tokyo, part 2

Sorry that I havn’t been posting much lately, but here’s the second part of my reflection on Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s ‘Abandon the Old in Tokyo’. In his reflection I’ll take a look at the story’s ‘The Washer’ and ‘Beloved Monkey’ Just a reminder that this work is a Seinan manga, aimed more at the older range of the audience.

 

The Washer:

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This is the third story in this collection and follows a window washer on a high-rise office block. The washer can see through the windows of the offices and watches the goings on of the people on the other side of the window. I can’t say too much about this story without giving away too much. But I didn’t really care much for this one. I can see what the author was aiming to achieve and the theme of the anxieties of a father fearing for his daughter. But when I finished it I wasn’t really left with any profound memories or feeling. I simply wanted to move on to the next story. However, in saying that, I myself don’t have children, so this story wouldn’t really relate to me. Like I said this collection is aimed for an older audience and therefore the themes would be more related to people in this age group. Still I feel this story just isn’t as good as the two which preceded it.

 

Beloved Monkey:

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We are introduced to a factory worker who reveals early on his history as an army veteran who recently left his home in the countryside. When he arrives home from work the reader meets his pet monkey for the first time. What the meaning of the monkey is is entirely up to the reader. I saw the monkey as a manifestation of the main character himself. Living in fear and loneliness of his new world, but even more afraid of returning to his home to face what he left behind. The story is good, but I still wasn’t very impressed with it. I enjoyed it more after a second reading, but I can’t see myself thinking back on it too much in the future.

 

 

So all in all, I guess you can say that I’m not overly impressed with these two stories. I bought the collection after reading so much about how much of a visionary Yoshihiro Tatsumi is. And I can agree with that statement. His work is a lot deeper and thought provoking than most other manga that I have read. However, I find it very repetitive. His portrayal of the struggling working class man and women as figures who will ultimately lead to your downfall just doesn’t match up with myself. Linguistically the stories are good, it’s the themes that Tatsumi brings to them that I don’t really enjoy and after the first two stories I was expecting more, but I feel kind of let down by the repetition.

 

Turtle

Reflection: Abandon the Old in Tokyo, Part 1/4

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I bought this collection of manga short stories by Yoshihiro Tatsumi a few months ago. The stories in it are really strange, so I thought I might reread it and write up a review of the collection. The intended audience of this collection is older men, and the stories follow mostly middle aged men as through some sort of crisis. It differs from anything else I’ve read, which is mostly shonen manga, and although I prefer that genre I thought I could post about this collection to add something a little bit different.

 

Occupied:

The first story in the collection follows a washed-up manga artist as he tries to figure out what his next step will be after being let go by a children’s book company. While on his way home from being fired by the company he decides to use a public restroom. The cubicle is full of crude graffiti. After leaving the restroom he is unable to stop thinking about the images on the walls and returns two days later and draws some of his own. This vandalism creates a sense of accomplishment for the main character. He meets an editor of an adult magazine, who he appears to have met before, and is offered a new job working for him. Overcome with joy the man returns to the public toilet and finds the walls have been cleared and begins to draw on them once again. It turns out that on this occasion he managed to wander into the women’s toilet and once discovered is declared a pervert and security and police are called on him.

The story catches the sense of loss the man most feel after losing his job which was his only means of income. No one else is presented as being important in his life. No wife, no girlfriend, no children, no friends. The man is completely alone after losing his job. The only bit of relief he receives is the excitement he get from drawing on the walls in the public restroom. I’m not a big fan of this story, but I think that the author caught the sense of hopelessness people have after losing all sense of stability. The final scene presents the dangers that exist when you try to replace that stability with something else. In this story he replaced in with rude drawings in a public space. The story could quite easily find the man becoming an alcoholic or a drug addict.

 

Abandon the Old in Tokyo:

The second story of the collection follows another middle-aged man, this time who has a stable job and living his mother. After finally having enough of listening to his mother telling him how much she sacrificed for him, the main character decides it is time to buy a new apartment and moves his mother out. He decides to take his fiancé on a vacation, but doesn’t even make before he realises just how similar she is to his own mother and abandons her on the train. Returning to his mother’s apartment he finds that his mother has overdosed on medication, and I presumed she has died.

This story contrasts the first story in that the main character is in stable employment and has family in the form of his mother and fiancé. However, he too recognises that something is wrong in his life and decides that is time to leave his mother and begin his new life with his fiancé. It doesn’t take long though for him to realise that he is leaving his life with his mother, for the same life with someone else and decides he was better off as he was. When he returns to find his mother overdosed he realises that he has now lost everything he needed.

 

 

Turtle