Saturday, September 22, 2012

Stupid Guy Goes to India - Yukichi Yamamatsu

If you are an non-Indian and have experienced India, you are likely to rate this book high. Coming to India for job, Yamamatsu a Manga artist, lands up In Delhi. The next 200 pages are his attempt to find foot hold in India trying to publish Manga Books here in India.

Yukichi's arrival to India itself was marred with troubles. He called the Pak Embassy to start with before getting the India Embassy. The typical travellers issues awaits him as , the need of Visa , the costly ticket, unpleasant journey by Air India, general confusion and chaos at the airport, and missing bags . He has his own vested interests. The market in Japan is dull and the only job he know is to draw. India is a huge country with vast population , hence coming to India and publish a few books is a viable idea, especially Indians are not exposed to Manga style of comics. He had been warned by his friends and colleagues about various things to worry about India and the precautions to be taken. Moreover, he does not know the language, not even English.

After reaching the hotel, his initial idea was to find an accommodation. Small, cheap and a place where he can do his job. His struggle with the house, the Japanese Embassy, the schools which teaches Japanese for a translator for the Japanese books, the equipment needed to carry out his tasks ; each had its own impact. The next 6 months of his eventual living in the capital of India, trying to get his book translated, printed and distributed is what the content of this book. He goes through numerous hurdles trying to overcome each in his own way.

The book is presented in the typical 'manga' style and structure. The reading is from back to front for the normal readers and from right to left. It's a casual read. Funny & hilarious if you are a non-Indian and a bit under whelming if you are an Indian. It has all the ingredients you expect a foreigner to see in India; cows on the road, crowded market places, general confusion with the language, improper mannerisms of the locals, lack of ethics and professionalism, dirty lanes, pickpockets, prostitutes, cheaters , filthy slums etc etc. The art per se, is very good and his observation of his surrounding, to the minute detail is brilliant. His drawings of Indian Deities, Mahatma Gandhi and multiple Indian characters are very good. However, beyond some good drawings and his general experiences and 'conformation' of the general view about India, this book has nothing else to offer because there is no compelling story apart from his own confused self through out the book.
Stupid Guy Goes to India ( 2008)

Yukichi Yamamatsu ( translated by Kumar Sivasubramanian in 2011 )

Blaft Publications

230 pages
Hindustan times , DNA, The Hindu

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