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The Floating Girl
List Price: $6.99
Our Price: $6.99
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Manufacturer: Avon
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5

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Binding: Mass Market Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 813.54
EAN: 9780061097355
ISBN: 0061097357
Label: Avon
Manufacturer: Avon
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 384
Publication Date: 2001-07-01
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: 2001-07-03
Studio: Avon

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Editorial Reviews:

Half-American, half-Japanese, Rei Shimura is finally beginning to feel like Tokyo is home. Now a writer on art and antiques at the Gaijin Times, a comic-style magazine aimed at affluent young readers, Rei's latest assignment is a piece on the history of comic book art. During a weekend of research and relaxation at her boyfriend Takeo's beachside house, Rei stumbles upon the perfect subject: an exquisite modern comic that reveals the disturbing social milieu of pre-World War II Japan.

Rei art story, evolves into something much darker. One of the comic's young creators is found dead -- a murder that soon takes the tenacious Rei deep into the heart of Japan's youth underground. Immersed in the investigation, she finds herself floating through strip clubs, animation shops, and coffeehouses to get the true story -- and save her own skin.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: Trying too hard to please
Comment: Every time I read one of this series I swear I'll forgo the next one. A Japanese-American trying to be more Japanese than the Japanese gets a little old after the fourth or fifth book. But... I'm usually standing in line for the next one. I'd like it if she quit trying so hard or went back to the States where she was raised (she has) and settled down to selling Japanese artifacts and sleuthing.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Ukiyo-e The Floating World
Comment: Floating Girl is a reference to ancient pleasure quarters called Floating World home of courtesans, geisha, entertainers, tea houses.

In the year 2000 young people's pleasure is found in manga (comic books), dressing as anime characters in costume play (cos-play), partying.

Rei Shimura (Nisei = Japanese American) is an antique dealer in Tokyo who writes a column in the Gaijin (foreigner's) Times.

Ancient woodblock prints were artist commentary on Edo society, Rei looks at manga (comics) as a modern equivalent. She stumbles upon a manga depicting comfort women, Chinese Korean Filipino women forced into sexual slavery by Japanese during WWII.

When Rei seeks out the talented artist of the Mars Girl doujunshi (parody of copyrighted comic manga character hijacked to tell story written by amateur groups called Doujinshi circles) mysterious death and disappearances ensue.

Paraphrasing the Chairman in movie Memoirs of a Geisha, happiness is not something we deserve, when it occurs it is a sudden gift as Rei discovers repeatedly throughout this book series. Her intrusion into the well ordered life of Japanese precipitates questions and death.

Rei's American mother gives her curiosity, boldness and vintage designer clothes. Her Japanese father gifts her with etiquette watchful observing reserve, scholarly inquiry. Rei's major limitation in Japan is illiteracy, inability to read Kanji (characters) inhibiting her movements in Japan still carefully stratified according to class.

Her Japanese boy friend Takeo from a prominent Ikebana (eye kay bah nah, NOT ickybana) family rejects her as unsuitable to marry because of her mixed blood and inferior financial status. Her Scottish boy friend abandons Japan her to return to his own culture Scotland.

Rei walks among disparate demanding worlds with tenacity, trying to earn a living selling antiques, learn kanji, write for a newspaper which celebrates comic books. Rei tries to behave as a good Japanese daughter for her relatives, yet acts boldly in her own American way.

Rei blunders into a Comik book convention wearing an anime costume and makeup, learning more and more about this separate pleasure world of fantasy: the temporary insubstantial unreal.

The Floating Girl explores the modern pleasures of the young leisure class comparable to the ancient Ukiyo-e Floating World of the past, addresses woman's place in Asian society in the present, misunderstandings of Westerners of Japanese and vice versa, and the unique situation of those always on the outside, the half blooded and their difficulties.

Fascinating series beginning with Salaryman's Wife about young wives who spend their husband's entire salary and more on clothes and pleasure. I suggest one begin with the first book when Rei is 25yo and continue on through the series as she becomes 30yo in the current 8th book Typhoon Lover.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: My least favorite of the series
Comment: I really love this series by Sujata Massey. However, this book was my least favorite of the bunch. I still give it three stars because it's NOT BAD...but her other books are so much better, especially The Bride's Kimono, Zen Attitude and The Flower Master. I'm looking forward to reading The Typhoon Lover.

For die hard Rei Shimura fans, of course you should get this to make your collection complete, but I'm just warning you I felt this was not as engaging as the other books in this series. For those of you who want only the best, perhaps you should skip this one.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: I love mysteries and anime...
Comment: The Floating Girl by Sujata Massey is a dream come true. I love Japan, I love mysteries and I love manga and anime. So when a volunteer at work told me about this book I had to get it. A twisted plot, interesting characters, Japanese culture and manga. I enjoyed every chapter and finished the book within 24 hours. I plan to get all the books in the series and watch out for any new ones.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: Decent albeit at times irritating.
Comment: Rei Shimura, the Japanese-American amateur antiques dealer and sleuth returns to solve another crime in Tokyo. This time, she is drawn into the wacky world of doujinshi, the parody-imitation of Japanese manga.

Here she meets otaku, the fans that dress like their favorite characters and attend conventions - not unlike comic book fans Stateside! But there are sinister happenings afoot as one of the artists of a doujin-comic ends up dead.

The book, while entertaining, focuses on a strange, small, but very visible part of Japanese culture that makes it so unique to our western minds. At times, these comic-book otaku (or "individuals obsessed with something specific") are irritating enough to make the reader want them all dead.
American fans of things Japanese often call themselves otaku, but they should know that this is not considered a positive thing. Otaku are viewed as strange and marginal pretty much in Japan as well. Dressing up like Sailor Moon when 20 years old is weird in any culture!

While Massey's other books showcase interesting aspects of Japanese culture, this book takes something that is quite marginal and strange and presents it as almost normal. Readers should know that there is quite a difference between the Doujin-scene and the Manga-scene. Manga-creators are generally accepted in society and even held in esteem for their artistic talents as writers or artists. Doujin (or doujinshi) is considered to be underground, as the art is usually mere imitation of someone else's work, and the stories tend often to be "hentai" (meaning perverted) versions of popular series. Massey tries to show that the artist in question was truly talented, but this does not depart from the fact that his work was an imitation of someone else's creation. Just as otaku is not a positive, generally neither is doujinshi.

In any case, the book is somewhat darker than previous books in the series, and I did not find it as comfortable or enjoyable to read. Often the book and its description of doujin-culture just disturbed me.
I suppose covering all aspects of Japanese culture helps readers in the West be introduced to them. But there are so many more interesting topics to cover in Japan, including the mainstream manga phenomenon, something not really touched upon in the book. In a country where comics are targeted at everyone from babies to seniors and bookstores have entire sections devoted to them, delving into doujinshi was not entirely necessary, and may leave the wrong impression in people's minds about manga in Japan.

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