Thursday, April 23, 2015

Book Review: Train man


               Train man is a story about a man who is known as Train man, which is a fictitious name that he uses in a message board site called 2channel. In this site, Train man narrates about how he saved several women being harassed on a train by a drunk man, which led to one of the women sending him Hermès teacup as a gift for saving her. Many of the netizens advised him to contact the young lady, which is given the name Lady Hermés in the tread. Upon contacting her, the two decided to meet and eat at a restaurant. With the situation, Train man asked the netizens for advise on what restaurant will he take Lady Hermés to and what style of clothing is he going to wear. As the story progress, Train became more confident and Lady Hermés and him began to go out more, which led to them being a couple in the end. Written by Nakano Hitori, which is a word play on the Japanese term Naka no hitori that refers to all the people that are involve on message boards on the Internet. The title of the novel is Train man because it is not only the pseudonym of the protagonist in the tread but it is also how the story begins with the man’s experience on the train and how his life changed after that event. This novel has similar aspects of a play and a graphic novel because it is written in a third person objective point of view and the narration of the story is through a text box.

            Furthermore, I considered this literature because it is a well-written work, that expresses emotion and feelings through the story and it contains a plot, symbols, themes, and characters. Also, It is relatable to the reader and contains stored values and perspectives that might be new or familiar to us. Even though a book is fiction it still contains facts or is based on a real life experience or events. Train man also exhibits de- familiarization, we are presented to a common thing like courting but in a new light or perspective because we have this notion that women are over thinkers but in this novel the gender roles were reversed. We see men over thinking about the situation happening to Train man while the women we over analyzing.  We are also re-introduced to the concept of jealousy between Train man and the male netizens. Even though the netizens are jealous about Train man’s life on how he gets the girl and how he changes into a more confident man they are still giving advises to him and being happy for him, which is not something a jealous person would do. Another thing that makes this novel a literature is foregrounding. It calls attention to itself with the use of emoticons and a theme, which is change. We see the drastic change of Train man with him being this shy, socially awkward Otaku to a new confident and out going man.

            In addition, the genre of this book is romance. We see the development of Lady Hermés and Train Man’s relationship to complete strangers to friends to being a couple. Lady Hemés’ story is left untold in the text and it is because it gives focus on Train Man and the netizens and how men act when they are courting a lady and it also gives emphasis on them. Also, the novel contains a mix of Japanese and British cultures. Anime and Uniqlo are part of the Japanese culture and the currency used in the book is pound, which is the monetary unit used in the United Kingdom. Drinking tea is both from the Japanese and British cultures. I belief this interconnection of culture started in October 1854, where the relationship between Britain and Japan began with the signing of the Treaty of Friendship and Trade. 2008 is the year they celebrated the 150th anniversary of the relations of Japan and UK and with the long partnership between the two countries there has been an interchange of culture imbibed by the people. The language and events that reflects the current event’s of the author’s day is that the people are more into social networking sites and they use emoticons as a way to express their feelings more and this reflects the Internet or Computer age in the 21st century.

            Moreover, The relationship between men and women in the novel is very competitive in the case of the netizens with the concept of who is right and wrong. They are battling through intelligence on who is more knowledgeable about relationships. On page 16, we can see the girls giving advise to Train man and they are trying to show that they know more about the situation and what to do then males. The power relationship in between the men and the women constantly shifts in the novel. In the beginning, we are shown to the incapability of women to defend themselves because they did nothing when a drunk man was harassing them and Train Man has to do the defending but this changes in page 174 when one netizen explains how women has power over men, which annoys men because they hated the fact that females have that power over them. Train Man has some feminine traits; he is worried about what he is going to wear for the dates and what he is going to say to Lady Hermés. Also, he cried when Lady Hemés told him that she like him too that led to her acting masculine by wiping Train Man’s tears with tissue paper.

            To assert, this literary text is significant to me because it is relatable not only to me but to other readers. We all have those trials and hardships when it comes to love and relationships. And this book shows us the extent we go through for the sake of love and for our love ones even though it is hard. It also shows change, which all of us had gone or is going through, it may be bad or good but we all change because of how society and experiences shapes us. We see the change through Train man and the netizens: Train man physically and mentally changed through out the book with him being a geek with no fashion sense to a more stylish and confident man, while the netizens became more optimistic about their lives because of Train man’s success they are hopeful that they also might find love. Also, it important to me because it shows the journey of a hero with Train man’s quest in winning over Lady Hermés and along that quest he experience struggle but in the end it all worked out perfectly fine for him. This resembles our journey, as human beings in our quest in life and the problems we encounter not only make us stronger but it makes us more mature and it feels great once that problem is solved.    

            In the end, literature for me is a drug that makes you forget about your life and it transports you to another place or event and be a different character. It also gives us experiences that never happen to us but by reading about it, it is like we are also there. Literature is also a way for people to reflect about themselves and life it could be a place of solace for people. Even though I have never experience a romantic relationship, Train man made me experience the challenges of courting and it also gave me an insight on how the mind of men works. It was my first time reading a novel with an internet-forum style and it was a joyful and funny read.

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