Loose Ends in Yokohama is my third book based in Japan, my home for the past thirty years and counting.
Yokohama, in particular the area around China Town, is where I spent a lot of time hanging out as a teenager, so writing a story set mostly in that neighborhood felt very natural to me. In fact, the inspiration for the main character, Ron Jackson, came to me when I was walking around on the narrow back streets lined with bars and restaurants one late afternoon, and after that the story almost wrote itself.
Ron is a self-made man who is about to retire to finally enjoy the wealth he has built up over the years from his bar and restaurant business. The story starts when an old friend who is in fact dying shows up unannounced at Ron’s bar to say his final goodbye. Although it’s only a brief encounter, it has profound impact on Ron, making him realize that the priorities that have guided him through life so far have all of a sudden become irrelevant. Instead of going into quiet retirement, he sets off on an emotional journey to try to deal with his troubled and often reckless past and make amends wherever possible, as part of a process to make peace with himself.
Although the final message of the story is certainly uplifting and filled with hope, the reader gets to go inside the mind of a good-hearted but deeply flawed and troubled man with a lifetime of suppressed emotions to confront, as he struggles to reach closure and seek forgiveness for past deeds. Nobody is perfect in this world – certainly not Ron – but there is always time to set things right, and this is the message that I hope will resonate with readers.
Having lived most of my life in Tokyo, I suppose I see myself as somewhat of an interpreter of Japanese everyday life in my writing, and hopefully Loose Ends in Yokohama, as well as my other books set in Japan, will offer a new perspective of this fascinating society and culture.
As for other writing projects, I’m currently editing my fourth novel, and also just launched my new flash fiction letter (it’s not really a “newsletter”…just pure fiction!) called TOKYO FLASH FICTION – ONE PHOTO, ONE STORY, combining my passion for storytelling and street photography.
For some time I’ve been posting two photos every day on Twitter Alex Lund, Author (@AlexLundAuthor) / Twitter from my infinite number of random walks around Tokyo, and will be selecting one picture as the setting for each new story, a read of just a few minutes every other week. I’ve found that flash fiction based on just a single photograph is a great format for conveying a “Tokyo slice-of-life story” offering a glimpse into different scenes and situation, which I hope my readers will enjoy, especially these days of COVID when it’s physically difficult to travel.
Anyone who’s interested can subscribe here (free):
This photo provides the setting for the very first story called My Friend Jerry. I took this during one of my walks around Shibuya, my favorite part of Tokyo, which is also where my first novel, Shibuya Nemesis, is based.
I would love to in the future publish these flash fiction stories in a compilation format, but that will have to wait for now.
Finally, I would like to thank Readers’ Magnet for this opportunity to take part in Authors’ Lounge!