Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Train Man (Densha Otoko)

Train Man/ Densha Otoko: Book Review

The English version of Train Man

Imagine this:

Scenario: Japan.

Geek guy (nicknamed Train Man) helps a pretty lady (nicknamed Hermes) to fend off drunkard in the subway. Geek guy realised that this is something he has never done before ('where did the courage came from?'). Pretty lady is very thankful and in show of her gratefulness, she sends Train Man some gifts (tea cups) which sparks the lead for romance.

As a geek, Train Man goes online to share his account on the popular Japanese forum, 2 Channel (English version).

Fellow netizens/ geeks rally around him - mostly supporting him from changing his geeky looks to trendy outfits, selecting dinner restaurants and other details to get him the date with Hermes. Some envy as well - for Hermes is described as a cute, lady like - the typical girl next door image of a Japanese girl.

Along the way, Train Man shares all his account - things that happened, including building his confidence, and moving from virtual world to the 'real world'.

Sounds like a fairy tale?

Well, it is in a way... for it does sound too good to be true, especially the description of the lady Hermes.

But because everything is virtually written, there's no way of confirming the truth.

However, according to the book, this is a true account of what happened back in March 2004!

Interesting Book
I'll leave you to read the story's ending yourself (don't want to spoil it here), but let me share what makes this book so interesting:

1. Geek using the internet & fellow netizens to gather support! He says that they are his real friends. This only happens in the geeky world, or does it? I think bloggers can relate to this in some way, gathering support from readers.

Train Man Movie

2. The story is really like a drama series unfolding. Beautiful & ladylike Hermes falling for geeky to transformed Train Man. The scenes described are just so beautiful.

3. The book is snippets from the forum posts - and which eventually goes into manga series, TV drama series and even film... To know it all started from just a post online, and by a geek.

4. The book/ novel has a reach of over 1 million copies sold worldwide... and it's no ordinary novel, but instead just abstracts from the forum. Again, something I'm sure many will not believe in first instance - to read something that is already online... what more reading threads of posts on hard copy.

Those Who Like Beautiful Stories
Well this book is really interesting. And though I'm no big time novel fan, but I still believe for this book to succeed, there must be something in it that touches the hearts of over a million.

Maybe it's the fairytale story behind it. Whatever it is, I suggest it's a good read :)


  1. Ooooh... glad to see that you've read this as well. I've read it and it was quite enjoyable. Here's my short review.

  2. Hmm really no idea why this book was such a big hit in Japan. Maybe it is because they claimed it was based on a real person.

    Anyway, I truly believe there are many things that can happen inside a train as Japanese spend so much time commuting using trains.

  3. i hav seen this movie b4 and i think it's quite ok :D

  4. i've seen this movie and i love it!
    haha i'm such a sucker for this kind of story lol

  5. Hey QuaChee, how come your talk at Ikano ended so fast? I went there last Sunday at around 2.45pm. I know, I was late but I thought maybe could still catch you wrapping up your talk, but when reached Popular, you were gone! How did it go?

    I've never read this book before. Maybe will give it a try but I have so many books yet to read all piling up! I'm not surprised that people still buy this book despite it being available online for free. Dr M also came out with a book that simply reproduced what he wrote on his blog, but people still buy the book. Unbelievable, isn't it?

  6. @alice
    wow, i didnt know it has a following in malaysia too! :)

    yup, there are so many things we hear on the subway on japan heh :)

    @vincent & adila
    did the movie premier in our shores?

    maybe one reason is when it's a book, it has more weight - i think at least for now. and also in a book, it's a bit more arranged (eg the chapters). but yes, it's surprising.

    *oh didnt know you'd come for the talk. i just ended it at 245 lol. my presentation was only bout 10 mins or so, but i waited till 245. maybe the next time in kl, we can meet up :) but really thanks for coming over - appreciate it lots.

  7. I'm not sure if it has any following in Malaysia. I found the book by accident when browsing at the bookstore on my birthday. :)

  8. This movie looks like i heard before!.. but is the movie niceee???

  9. I didn't know I would be going too! I had an appointment earlier and already decided not to go Ikano, but somehow my appointment ended early so I thought I would rush over to catch you in action. Haha, too bad. Well, next time! : )

  10. i'm not sure.. i dont think there was a premier in Malaysia on it before

    i haven't watch the drama yet, but for me, the movie is nice :D
    so the drama should be far much better than the movie :D

  11. I think they make a successful movie out of the book. Never seen it though but the story itself is very contemporary & sweet

  12. great sharing Quachee! Now that you mentioned it, I'm really eager to watch the movie. Perhaps read the book if I can get my hands on it. I believe it is a true story though. A sweet one. =)

  13. @alilce
    i actually found it by chance as well. it was like just sitting there on the shelf (only 1 copy). then i remembered a review in the papers before... so i took it up immediately!

    recently ive been browsing the graphic novel section a fair bit :)

    im not sure. but some seem to like it! :) if they did it like in the book, im sure it's good!

    yup, its very very contemporary and sweet! i think it's the right formula for success in storytelling! :)

    the book seems good. i think u'll enjoy it :)


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