В даний момент читаю книжку ” Злі білі піжами” Роберта Твігера


I just finished reading the book “Angry White Pyjamas”, with the subtitle “An oxford poet trains with the Tokyo riot police”. The book is written by Robert Twigger, an English bloke who found himself in Tokyo; Thirty years old, unfit and nothing else to look forward to except further physical decline.

As a reaction to this, he starts practicing Aikido at the Yoshinkan Honbu Dojo. Yoshinkan is the organization founded by Gozo Shioda, one of the top pre-war students of Morihei Ueshiba.

After a while of regular practice, Robert decides to enroll in the senshusei course – a one-year full-time instructors course, originally designed for the Tokyo Riot Police.

The book evolves around Roberts daily exploits and experiences during the course, as well as insights into the daily life of Tokyo in the nineties.

The book is well written and I felt I got to know the different characters of the story quite well. It’s an interesting look into a Westerners experience in modern Japan, however I think Mr. Twigger sometimes exaggregates certain aspects to make them somewhat more interesting to the reader, without saying that this constitutes a problem as such.

The book also gives a good insight into the life in Yoshinkan Honbu, and the relationship between the different groups frequenting the place: The japanese teachers, the foreign teachers, the japanese riot police students, the foreign senshusei and the japanese and foreign regular students. All these groups and individuals have their own way of dealing with Aikido and life, and this makes for some interesting encounters in the course of the book.

I’m a bit surprised that Twigger describes the charactes in such detail as he does. Although he’s not being nasty to the people he writes about, he is quite honest in characterizing them. I was curious to find out if the names used for the instructors were all correct. They were. Inoue sensei and Chida sensei are of course well-known names in the Aikido community. The foreign teacher, Mustard sensei, who’s described quite vividly in the book, has his own dojo here. I downloaded a video clip of Mustard sensei from the website – his Aikido is very correct and very fast 🙂

Robert Twigger himself has moved on to write several other books. He also teaches Aikido, and is currently based in Cairo. You can find his webpage here.

Angry White Pyjamas is a good read – I’d recommend it to anyone interested in Aikido and/or what it’s like as a foreigner in Japan.