25% thoughts on Tokyo Vice

I thought it’d be good to capture some of my early thoughts on Jake Adelstein’s Tokyo Vice. It’s about an American reporter working for one of Japan’s national newspapers. I read a sample chapter sometime last year and enjoyed it but didn’t buy the full version until now.

I read 18 Minutes last week. I got away from my books spreadsheet and that was a little bit of a guilty pleasure. Productivity books are probably the lamest possible guilty pleasure. The story-per-chapter format works well for Steven Pressfield’s trilogy on creativity. It also works well for Peter Bregman’s 18 Minutes.

I enjoyed it but it reminded me of why I wanted to get away from reading these kinds of nonfiction books. It had a chapter on the marshmallow study. A mention of the study where you’re more likely to follow through if you set a date and time. Growth mindset? Check. 10,000 hours? Check.

In the middle of reading 18 Minutes I realized that nearly everything made me think of work. Which isn’t exactly the best thing for casual reading outside of work. 

I’ve been a little focused on the takeaways from a book. What will I remember a year from now? I need to reconsider that reading for leisure means enjoying the book during leisure time. I don’t go to dinner with friends thinking about what takeaways will stick a year from now. I go because it’s enjoyable in the present and probably the best possible use of my time that can take place with any regularity.

Reading can be a getaway. That’s why I’m really happy so far with Tokyo Vice. It’s so far removed from the productivity and creativity books that I filled last year with. Not only is it a different country, it’s a different time. The culture is so different and Adelstein captures his perspective so well. You get a sense of what being an outsider in Japan is like. 

I’m going to try continuing with my rule: if there’s no narrative, I’ll listen to the audiobook.

My early directive for Tokyo Vice: learn as much as you can about the culture you’re trying to be a part of while understanding that you’re still an outsider. There are also some advantages to being an outsider so figure out how to use those.

This micro blog will pretty much be a blog about what I’m currently reading.