Wondering how someone happens upon the idea to write an erotic ethnographic study of Japanese sexual culture? The preface of Black Passenger Yellow Cabs tells all…
The body of work now known as Black Passenger Yellow Cabs began simply as musings about Japan. Immediately upon my arrival here I was flabbergasted by the paradoxes of the society, and the discrepancy between the West’s perception and the actual Japan was blatantly obvious to me. Just two months into my residency on the island my friend Bahar sent me a New York Times article about parasite singles in Japan: the social phenomenon of unmarried women who continue living with their parents, some well into their 40s. “What’s up with this?” she titled her email. And indeed such was my initial response upon observing that the overwhelming majority of unmarried women I had encountered in those initial 2 months, were still living with their parents. So after obtaining a used PC some 2 years later, I simply began documenting my observations. However, when I began writing about my own hedonistic experiences and those of my friends, I found it curious that I had not read about the sexual state of affairs which I was experiencing. That was the point at which my musings adopted an erotic tone.
After sending the first 25 pages to a friend in Australia, she strongly advised that I could not possibly write about my sexual predacious behavior in Japan without informing the reader about my history and socialization. Hence the work took on memoir characteristics. Responding to the first 100 pages, another dear friend of mine, a Professor of English at the University of Denver, impressed by the work thus far informed me that I was writing an ethnography with sex. Prior to her ravings about the pages she had read, I was not familiar with the term ‘ethnography.’ And behold a new genre: the erotic ethnographic memoir was created.
Before sending those pages to my friend at the University of Denver, I had made the first 50 pages available to my mentor, an internationally renowned Author, Japanologist, Futurist and Policy Consultant, just for his personal perusal. It was horrifying to learn that he had forwarded it to his Agent in New York. However to my pleasant surprise a Junior Agent re sponded positively but shared my mentor’s concern that erotica, ethnography and a memoir could not peacefully co-exist in the same body of literature, and suggested that I wrote 3 separate books. ADHD adult that I am, I accepted the compliments but resisted the suggestion to make the genres exclusive of each other, as I thought all three were perfectly harmonious in my work. That’s how I conceived it, that’s how it flowed organically and that’s how I documented it.
Stefhen Fitzgerald DeCorcia Bryan, Kobe Japan 2008