Saturday, June 20, 2015

Texan in Tokyo Book Reviews!

This review will include all three <3

**Spoilers maybe**

I had originally planned on downloading the free kindle version but I was too late to the party and only got a preview. I don't actually own a kindle, but I downloaded the app and had to make an account on Amazon (I only have a Japanese Amazon now) but I figured super worth it for this book...welp, I don't do much online shopping anymore (I believe retail therapy is necessary weekly, but I also need to budget). Either way, I was able to get the previews of this and the second books and I was hooked!
I love that I was able to read all three as an ambassador and I made sure to start from the first as I think it really starts the journey.
From reading Ryosuke's (hers not mine) written Forward you can feel the love that was put into this book. I must admit I see the drawing style and I am really happy that she included the earliest, less organized comics. This really shows what I consider the journey that these books (and most likely Grace too) have gone through.
While there is a structure, I feel like some comics come out of no-where and don't have an entirely solid store, but that's exactly how life is no? A wild string of events that we live every single day.
As for the text inserts, I did skim through some as I am already familiar with certain cultural things and some of them I have already thoroughly read in her blog posts.
I have been a fan of Grace's work for about a year now and I honestly cannot stop reading will do my best to support her as long as she chooses to produce work. I am really happy to see how much effort and affection she put into this first book. I love that her comics show emotions from the simplest things and that I couldn't help laughing out loud as I read some of them.
There is this honesty about everything. As any normal human being I would assume that many things she keeps private and wants for herself, but I'm so glad that there are some things that she has the courage to share and even if it may not be as deep as it could be, just a glimpse of it all shows how brave and talented she is.
She makes you want to know more (not on a creepy stalker level), and you can get a true sense of who she is by her writing. Reading the first,  automatically got prepared for a bit of a longer evening that reading the second would involve. I didn't want to just read them, I wanted to give all of my attention and really feel the comics for all they were. It's completely relate able and shows Japan in a different set of eyes. To see it from experience and not just pictures gives a whole different look.
Marvin is the most adorable side-kick. He provides the encouragement and humor that you know gets her through the day and also gives a sense of not being the only crazy person to have 'someone' to help makes decisions and keep you from loosing it.
Reading about the onsen bit made me literally feel better about myself. I don't actually go to onsen, for a few reasons, but just reading the way that she has grown to love it, and how it has helped her with her 'body issues' that SO MANY of us American girls can relate to--helped me feel better about myself too.
This entire series has humbled me and made me realize things about myself that I probably wouldn't have thought about otherwise.

Another start with Ryosuke's forward, but this time, not so much about his wife, I feel like this was really more about them. He talks about it as a 'baby-book fever' and it's so sweet to see how much it also affects him in the best possible way.
I feel like the second time around Grace had confidence with the groove of things and it really did told a story, not just as a continuation and showing her life, but also with showing bits from their past and seeing how things were while they were still in America.
There's also more of a glimpse of her family life, and seeing the pride she takes in talking about her relationship with her Japanese in-laws. It's refreshing and inviting, more so than the first book and this one, despite my eyes burning from staring at the computer screen for two hours made me not want to stop reading and continue to the final (which I couldn't due to having to wake up early the next morning...but I rushed to start reading during every free moment I had).
This is the point of their story where she seems to be getting more comfortable with Japan and her marriage and writing/drawing in general. The confidence is there, and somehow gives you confidence too. You feel what she feels when you read it, and I'm more than sure she was probably slaving over this working hours on end at that kitchen table with all the coffee in the world---but it's there, the raw emotion of it all.
Maybe I'm just trying to find it and so I do, but I want to find it, because I feel like it should be found.
I think there is a lot more comparisons, more looks at how Grace keeps her American/Texan roots no matter how long she's been in Japan. I related this on SO many levels and I felt better about doing some of these things as well as learning about life and essentially how to stress less.

Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo
I had every intention of reading all of these in the same night, but due to an early start the next morning, caved to waiting for every free second I had at work.

I am actually relieved that I was able to read all three in one shot, simply because like with any good TV series, when you are forced to wait  very week for a new episode which is COMPLETE TORTURE, if you wait till they're all out you can watch in one shot and not suffer.

Though, I do hope Grace keeps pumping out books, but in the meantime, this is the more current and newest and I'm glad I was able to read it before many as an ambassador.

The third Forward written by Ryosuke has a bit of a sadder element this time around. He finally sees the reality that is being a blogger/internet celebrity. These Forwards really show his journey with these books, and I really appreciate that he writes them each time.

I love that this time, since she covered the basic Japanese words/cultural bits in the previous two, she included the 'Useless Japanese' section, which is the furthest from Useless and even actually trending at the moment. Many people want to know other less known Japanese and I think this was the absolute perfect time to have included it and her drawings bring it to life in a whole new way.

I found myself giggling like a moron at my computer again as I read somethings that I knew I would probably also do in those situations and made me want fold-able flats in the most unhealthy way. Just as Ryosuke's Forward brought a more real, and somber take on the book, I came upon the insert blog post that I had read before and found myself tearing up while reading, and made my heart sank when I saw it in the book. Putting this in the book brings my feelings on this book full circle.

Grace is honest, while still keeping her privacy. Grace is brave, but still probably very self-conscious about it all. And Grace is one of my heroes.

Like I mentioned with the first book. Maybe I have been looking for a deeper meaning in these books... But I'm glad I found something for me, because it means more to me personally than I think some others reading just for the cute comics (which isn't wrong either) will find. I am positive that these books were written for her, and for those who read...but I don't know that she ever thought it could affect people on a deeper level than just laughing and understanding Japan a bit more.

I understand more about myself, I feel like my Friday was so much happier from reading these and not only feeling less alone, but feeling like
Deep down, all people, are the same/strong/beautiful.
Good enough is ok too.
Be honest, and accept all of yourself.

Thank you Grace.
You and your books, have helped me feel a happiness I had lost for a long time.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Thank you so much. This review brought tears to my eyes.
    I didn't realize how Ryosuke's forewords have changed over the books - but yeah, as soon as he joined me doing blog/YouTube/book stuff full-time, quite a few things changed.

    I can't even think about a fourth book right now (because I only JUST finished the third!!!) - but I promise Ryosuke's foreword is going to be adorable and light-hearted~

    1. I am so glad that I was able to read these books and even write this review!

      I know that it will be a very long time till you make more and I hope that you can relax now knowing that it will be out soon to make ALL THE MONEY!

      It's beautiful to see how your relationship has changed over the years and I look forward to reading/seeing more! <3