Once Upon a Time in Japan

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
This story begins in Osaka, Japan, 1986. Jun is on his way to a mult-person date on the top of a mountain overlooking the ancient capital Kyoto and Japan’s merchant capital, Osaka, with his girlfriend, Aya. The party is interrupted by a police raid which separates Jun from Aya and sends all of the gang members running from the police. Jun’s younger brother, Taro, also attempts to flee but is killed when he is chased by police and his scooter goes out of control and over the side of the mountain.
The second chapter brings the reader to Baltimore, Maryland, 1986, where a young man, Michael, celebrates his acceptance into a foreign exchange program that will take him to Osaka, Japan for a year of study. After the party he races a classmate on his motorcycle through country roads. The classmate is killed in an accident during the race, and Michael is left wondering if he will ever be able to ride a motorcycle again.
The third chapter shifts to first person, where the reader enters Michael’s thoughts as he adjusts to his new life living with a Japanese family including Yoko. Subsequent chapters contrast his life in Japan with that of America and the unique world for which Japanese students live.
Michael meets Jun and his gang in school but is not accepted as a potential gang member until he proves himself on a motorcross track. After he wins a motorcross race against one of the gang members, Jun begins to realize Michael’s potential as a full fledged gang member.
Michael spends more time with the gang, even riding with them on one of their notorious rampages at night. Showing the gang members that he is willing to abide by the same rules they are, Michael is given a loyalty test. He passes this test and gains full gang member status.
On a rainy evening, Jun receives a desperate call from Aya for help. Aya’s stepfather, the brother of Chief Yamamoto, is trying to rape her. Even though Jun realizes that helping her will cast him from Japanese society forever, his unconditional love for her forces him to save her without hesitation. During the struggle to save her, Aya’s stepfather is accidentally killed. Jun runs from the scene and becomes wanted by the police for murder.
Aya is transplanted to her uncle’s house and another high school while the gang remains in disarray with Jun on the lamb. Aya is an outcast at this new school and, unable to cope with her new life, contemplates suicide. Aya’s pain coincides with an especially horrific rainy season that causes flooding in Japan. Returning in secret to steal her heart back, Jun takes Aya to a magic world where he and she can escape the police and reality.
Meanwhile, Police Chief Yamamoto becomes obsessed with the loss of his brother and the capture of Jun while using the incident to hold the town of Hirakata captive, setting up random road blocks and seizing Mt. Katano, home base for The AngelDevils.
All along the reader continues to learn about Japan through Michael’s experiences including his humorous dates which include Yoshiko, who insists on speaking English even though she can’t speak English, Satomi, who deserts Michael after everything goes wrong on their date, and Kanako who disappears during their date.

Table of Contents

Once Upon a Time in Japan

Submitted: May 21, 2009

This story begins in Osaka, Japan, 1986. Jun is on his way to a mult-person date on the top of a mountain overlooking the ancient capital Kyoto and Japan’s merchant capital, Osaka, with his girlfriend, Aya. The party is interrupted by a police raid which separates Jun from Aya and sends all of the gang members running from the police. Jun’s younger brother, Taro, also attempts to flee but is killed when he is chased by police and his scooter goes out of control and over the side of the mountain.
The second chapter brings the reader to Baltimore, Maryland, 1986, where a young man, Michael, celebrates his acceptance into a foreign exchange program that will take him to Osaka, Japan for a year of study. After the party he races a classmate on his motorcycle through country roads. The classmate is killed in an accident during the race, and Michael is left wondering if he will ever be able to ride a motorcycle again.
The third chapter shifts to first person, where the reader enters Michael’s thoughts as he adjusts to his new life living with a Japanese family including Yoko. Subsequent chapters contrast his life in Japan with that of America and the unique world for which Japanese students live.
Michael meets Jun and his gang in school but is not accepted as a potential gang member until he proves himself on a motorcross track. After he wins a motorcross race against one of the gang members, Jun begins to realize Michael’s potential as a full fledged gang member.
Michael spends more time with the gang, even riding with them on one of their notorious rampages at night. Showing the gang members that he is willing to abide by the same rules they are, Michael is given a loyalty test. He passes this test and gains full gang member status.
On a rainy evening, Jun receives a desperate call from Aya for help. Aya’s stepfather, the brother of Chief Yamamoto, is trying to rape her. Even though Jun realizes that helping her will cast him from Japanese society forever, his unconditional love for her forces him to save her without hesitation. During the struggle to save her, Aya’s stepfather is accidentally killed. Jun runs from the scene and becomes wanted by the police for murder.
Aya is transplanted to her uncle’s house and another high school while the gang remains in disarray with Jun on the lamb. Aya is an outcast at this new school and, unable to cope with her new life, contemplates suicide. Aya’s pain coincides with an especially horrific rainy season that causes flooding in Japan. Returning in secret to steal her heart back, Jun takes Aya to a magic world where he and she can escape the police and reality.
Meanwhile, Police Chief Yamamoto becomes obsessed with the loss of his brother and the capture of Jun while using the incident to hold the town of Hirakata captive, setting up random road blocks and seizing Mt. Katano, home base for The AngelDevils.
All along the reader continues to learn about Japan through Michael’s experiences including his humorous dates which include Yoshiko, who insists on speaking English even though she can’t speak English, Satomi, who deserts Michael after everything goes wrong on their date, and Kanako who disappears during their date. Read Chapter