Mistakes Were Made, Errors Happened


Journalist Karl Taro Greenfeld is perhaps best known for Boy Alone, his searing, candid memoir of growing up with a severely autistic brother. In this story published in the Fall 2010 issue of ZYZZYVA, Greenfeld turns his talent for unsparing prose on a young man’s turbulent summer in Japan. The title, derived from a characteristically restrained Japanese turn of phrase, offers a dry counterpoint to the magnitude of the missteps chronicled here. What was meant to be a summer-long interlude between high school and college (sustained by a respectable job as a messenger) devolves rapidly into a debauchery of theft, drugs, and prostitution. As our confident and careless young narrator careens headlong into chaos, Greenfeld keeps the up the tension amid a dark cloud of  humor.


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