A brilliant and captivating insight into the bizarre nature of contemporary Japan.
Adrift in Tokyo, teaching giggling Japanese high school girls how to pronounce Tennyson correctly, Robert Twigger came to a revelation about himself: he'd never been fit. In a bid to escape the cockroach infestation and sweaty squalor of a cramped apartment in Fuji Heights, Twigger, guided by his flatmates Fat Frank and Chris, sets out to cleanse his body and his mind. Not knowing his fist from his elbow the author is sucked into the world of Japanese martial arts, and the brutally demanding course of budo training taken by the Tokyo Riot Police, where any ascetic motivation soon comes up against blood-stained dogis and fractured collarbones. In Angry White Pyjamas Robert Twigger skilfully blends the ancient with the modern - the ultra-traditionalism, ritual and violence of the dojo (training academy) with the shopping malls, nightclubs and scenes of everyday Tokyo life in the nineties - to provide an entertaining and captivating glimpse of contemporary Japan.
A frantic, very funny, urban quest. - Mail on Sunday - Simon Garfield
A book of unexpected brilliance. It is subtle, funny, stimulating and original - a rites-of-passage story, an explanation of an alien culture, and an inspiring work of philosophy - Patrick French
His fine eye for eccentricities makes this an entertaining travelogue - The Observer
A rattling good yarn and very funny into the bargain - Independent on Sunday - Tim Hulse
This is a splendidly written adventure, something sane at last on the craziness of martial arts - Independent on Sunday
His explanation of how to come to terms with intense pain should be read to every footballer who has ever writhed about in agony after a kick on the shin... It is a clever, enthralling book - Daily Mail - Ian Wooldridge
Brilliant ... everyone should read it - Late Review - Tony Parsons
Wonderfully oddball ... Here is a cult book all right, which could do for Japan and the martial arts what Hornby did for Highbury and the football terraces - Guardian - Frank Keating
Robert Twigger is a British author, poet and adventurer. After attending Oxford University he trained with the Tokyo Riot Police, which became the subject of his bestselling book Angry White Pyjamas. He has been awarded the Newdigate Prize for poetry, the Somerset Maugham Award for Literature and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.
He led the expedition that was the first to cross the Great Sand Sea of the Egyptian Sahara solely on foot, and another that was the first to cross Western Canada in a birchbark canoe since 1793. He is the author of eight books, both fiction and non-fiction, as well as several collections of poetry. Big Snake was filmed for Channel 4.