Pretty Good Number One is now available from most major ebook stores, including Kobo, Amazon, and iBooks. And it’s doing great: it’s been the #1 bestseller in Japanese travel on Amazon for most of the last week.
I particularly enjoyed reading this long, considered review by Yune on Goodreads:
He’s clearly a Japanophile as well as an appreciator of good food at low prices and lovingly describes, along with eel backbones and chicken livers, great food from 24-hour convenience stores, ramen-ordering systems (you pay before you even enter), inadvertently sitting down on restaurant tables rather than on the seats, sending his eight-year-old out to run grocery errands unaccompanied (I was particularly tickled to revisit Iris, who often offers sage commentary such as “If you’re a sumo wrestler, you can do whatever you want. And if someone doesn’t like it, squash goes the person”) — but with a wry self-awareness that shares his fascination rather than over-saturate readers with it.
As you may know, writers love reading books about the craft of writing. It lets us pretend we’re doing our job without actually doing our job. A few years ago, I read the book No Plot? No Problem!, and the piece of advice I took from it was: make a list of things you hate to see in a book and refer to it while writing, because those things will tend to creep into your book like roaches. (If you’re wondering, I didn’t write a novel in 30 days or otherwise.)
For this book, it was a long list. I wanted to avoid unexamined stereotypes, the phrase “the real Japan,” any indication that I really understand Japanese culture, misuse of Japanese vocabulary, and so on. Basically, I wanted to steer clear of anything that would make a reader with a Japanese background say, “Hoo boy, another white guy who thinks he knows everything.” The early reviews suggest that I’ve done okay. Phew!
Some fun blog and media coverage is coming up, plus an enormous post about some of the technical aspects of ebook production, but for now I just wanted to say thank you again for being my most faithful readers and for helping to make this little book a success.