Gaijin Samurai

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Gaijin Samurai

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...A tragic tale of a samurai's journey through Japan...

When Maku steps off the boat on the shore of Japan near Kobe, he has one goal in mind: to walk to Tokyo to meet his destiny and the woman whose picture he carries. Before leaving he takes a job for a wealthy businessman to prevent a merchant sending his wife love letters. His payment for completing his task is a set of travelling gear to ease his way across the country. As he travels and hunts for supplies, he arrives at Osaka and helps an old lady who has been gathering wood. As they sell their goods in the shadow of the castle, Maku is attacked by the merchant he chased off in Kobe and some bandits he has hired. With the help of the old lady he befriended, he is able to fend them off and he carves his name into the merchants forehead. Leaving Osaka he continues his journey his journey past Nagoya to close to Tokyo. There he decides to take part in hunting a bear loose in the nearby forest, the chase of which will bring him close to Tokyo and his final destiny.

This is an odd tale of a gaijin samurai making his way through ancient Japan. The plot meanders from encounter to encounter taking it’s own pace following the journey. From this you can see the growth of Maku as his past actions come back to haunt him as the events unfold. . I will be honest, the ending caught me completely by surprise, but looking back over it, there are a few clues that all is not as it seems. Even so it makes for a difficult ending to the story that will appeal to some people and make other feel slightly cheated by the outcome. The characters are more defined by their actions, rather than their words, which is refreshing to see, and the lack of background helps to keep the characters as strangers you are watching instead of those you might come to know intimately. The writing style did remind me of the period in which it is set, There were a few spelling mistakes and errors through the book, some of which gave pause for thought as to what the right words would be. It also felt that some of the scenes were a little unnecessary. either a little overlong or could be removed entirely without overall affecting the story.

Overall, this wasn’t a book I enjoyed, more fascinated by as I read through it. I did want to see what was going to happened next, but it never seemed to find it’s stride in really pulling the reader along with the story. If you are a fan of the culture, then this will certainly be worth a read, otherwise have a look at the first few pages and see if it is to taste.

Rating: 3
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