Imagine you write a novel, your first, it gets published, is modestly received, and your life goes on, really, as though nothing has changed . . . and then you get a call from Japan. Your book has won three prestigious awards there and you’re somehow a big deal. Konnichiwa, Japan!
He’s asked to go to Japan for the premiere of the movie adapted from his book (now called “Niryuu Shousetsuka” or the “Second-Rate Novelist.” Guided by handlers and booked into a hotel suite James Bond might occupy, he meets the director, the stars of the movie, and his adoring public. He’s trapped by his language, alone on the other side of the world, living a surreal dream of the recognized artist all before he’s rushed back home to his tiny apartment, his friends, and his normal life.
Below is an excerpt of Gordon’s article, “Big in Japan.” I hope he pens his Japan story into a novel. I’d read it and then go see the movie (Zach Galifianakis could play the title role).
In a daze, I was paraded before the press, blinded by flashbulbs and tracked by TV cameras. But because I couldn’t understand the directions, I often talked to the wrong camera, stared into space or even leaned on the scenery — until my intrepid and glamorous young translator told the reporters to wave if they wanted David-san to look at their cameras, like a baby at a birthday party. I watched the film with her whispering in my ear: “He is the detective.” It was as if I had fallen asleep and had a weird dream about my own book. At the end, when the lights came up and I stood to leave, she tapped my shoulder and pointed. The audience was clapping wildly. For me. I took a few deep bows and fled.