Unemployed, broke and engaged in a telepathic turf war with a feral cat behind an Okinawa convenience store, 28-year-old Fred Buchanan is hopelessly lost in life. After a fortuitous bet on the island bullfights, he boards a ferry to Kobe then a slow train to Tokyo, chasing shadows of a halogen dream.
Back in Tokyo, past and present collide as an empty orchestra croons a slow dance of people and place, memory and madness, loss and love. Charging through Tokyo’s neon jungle, enveloped in a boozy, nicotine-stained haze, Fred is determined to be an agent of his destiny and not another ball bearing bouncing through the cosmic pachinko.
Perhaps Fred’s contentment, his rainy day ramen, lies in the warm embrace of Yukie, with strips of delicious thigh and mysterious powers imbued in the etched eye on her fingernail. If only he can exit her stop and resist the self-destructive inclination to journey to the end of the line to confront the truths or lies which lay there.
Rainy Day Ramen and the Cosmic Pachinko is told in two distinct overlapping and interwoven formats. Join Fred’s drunken, staggering, metaphysical odyssey from Okinawa to Tokyo, and his search for meaning beyond the physical path trodden. The novel blends Murakami-esque magical realism with a coming-of-age on-the-road story.
About the author
Gordon Vanstone is a Canadian working in academic publishing in Singapore following eight years as an international school teacher in Tokyo. This, his first novel, is an ode to the country which captured a piece of his heart.