Sushi DazePaperback - 2005
JAMIE SCHMIDT IS WORRIED that he's already jumped the shark. Like the show Happy Days, which went progressively downhill after the episode in which the Fonz water-skied over a shark enclosure, Jamie feels his life has passed its best-before date. After a semi-epiphanic moment with a cop and a car hood, Jamie decides to move to Japan to become a teacher at the BIGSUN English School, drawn by their fractured-English ad and the promise of a life-altering experience. Once there, Jamie quickly feels not altered but alienated in this new culture of Hello Kitty breast pumps and neurotic roommates.
As a gaijin (foreigner), he struggles to find his way in a land where he doesn't speak the language and can't interpret the culture. What's worse, Jamie's students are more interested in learning dialogue from Pulp Fiction and Deliverance than building their conversation skills. Enter Cassandra--blond, charismatic and technically his boss--who makes Jamie see that there are worse things than being young and free in one of the world's most energetic cities.
Sushi Daze is a hip, smart and funny coming-of-age story that perfectly captures the Lost in Translation Zeitgeist. A cultural road trip through a seldom seen side of Japan, it races through karaoke bars and (almost) to the top of Mt. Fuji. Rob Payne is once again the king of the quick-witted comeback, his irreverent style tempered by a talent for recognizing the inner truths that all of us are searching for.