SHOGANAI: $3.50, 5 ½” x 8 ½”, copied, 36 pgs.

Apr 08, 2011

Shoganai is the story of a young, punk American working as a teacher in Japan for a less-than-reputable commercial university. The stories are funny, depressing, upsetting, and inspiring. The author gives the explanation that the only reason he’s anywhere, and especially Japan, is to experience what life has to offer. “Why Not?” is the answer for “Why Japan?” There’s at once a passive, objective view of the events, but, at the same time, an idealistic, naïve hyperbole: almost every story/chapter included something along the lines of, “So and so was the most influential person I ever met,” “One of the warmest instances of human contact in my life,” “This was the single most memorable student experience,” etc. This hyperbole appears to come from the author’s genuine sense of gratitude and amazement with the world around him. The stark layout makes it a fairly dense read, as far as zines go: It’s thirty-six pages and eight chapters of text only. But the bottom line is that it’s an interesting story and an interesting point of view. –Katie Dunne (Servo Jeffersen, 702 Vine, DC, IA 50063,

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