Dahl has a knack for cleverly pointing out the bizarreness of everyday life in Japan while still maintaining affection for the country and its people. A delightful and funny collection.
—Walter Mondale, Former Ambassador to Japan, Former US Vice President
Roger Dahl’s genius is evident from the fact that his cartoons, rather than laughing *at* the Japanese, let readers laugh *with* the Japanese. And he manages to be both funny and incisive without engaging in stereotypes or bowing to the demands of political correctness.
—Mark Schreiber, Tokyo-based scribe and raconteur
Roger Dahl’s Zero Gravity is modern Japan in a bento box, capturing both the insider and the outsider view with flair, minimalism and artfulness. Sparing in words but never stinting on comic advantage, Dahl shows an extraordinary ability to draw out the humor in a situation without drawing judgment on it, and to temper wit, even at its satirical sharpest, with a genuine fondness for Japan.
—Payal Kapadia Self-description: Award-winning children’s author, journalist, former editor of The Japan Times and fellow gaijin.
Dahl’s cartoon has an intriguing power to turn your mundane, awkward, even frustrating everyday experiences in Japan into light-hearted cultural adventures. In this collection, the bits and pieces of his weekly strips come together in synthesis as a story.
—Miki Tanikawa, Journalist New York Times/International Herald Tribune
Most non-Japanese who have spent time in Japan will recognize both Japan and themselves in Roger Dahl’s fine cartoons. He is an equal-opportunity satirist, skewering foreigners and host country alike. My own favorites include “The Darkest Hour” (about the intricacies of trash disposal, p. 13), “Polite Country” (the panel ends with the foreigner sighing, “I need a vacation in a rude country,” p. 131), and a Swiss army knife adapted for Japan, complete with abacus, chopsticks, and karaoke mike (p. 142).
—Richard Minear, Author of Dr. Seuss Goes To War and Japanese History, University of Massachusetts (emeritus)
Roger has captured daily life in Japan in the way that only a great cartoonist can. From the baffling natto bean, to the mould-inducing misery of rainy season in Tokyo, Zero Gravity is dead-on accurate, beautifully drawn and very, very, funny. Whether you’re a long-suffering ‘gaijin’ or just curious about what makes Japan tick, Roger Dahl’s Comic Japan is the book for you.
—Adrian Raeside, creator, The Other Coast
Life in Japan is certainly not for the fainthearted, something illustrator Roger Dahl seems to understand very well. Having survived an accidental cat-food sandwich encounter by the skin of his teeth, Dahl has gone on to entertain readers of The Japan Times with snapshots of day-to-day life in the country for more than two decades. Main characters Larry and Lily’s constant struggles to understand the world around them provide far more guidance to living in Japan than any travel guide around, while their friendship with the Koyama family includes moments of genius that ring true for anyone who has experienced trial by konnyaku (yam cake) before. “Comic Japan” isn’t so much a photo album of Dahl’s experiences in the country as a virtual guide to life.
—Elliott Samuels, Editor The Japan Times on Sunday
I consider myself truly lucky to be in the orbit of Roger Dahl’s “Zero Gravity.” “Comic Japan: The Lighter Side of Tokyo Life” takes you to the crowded train platforms of Shinjuku, the tatami-mat homes, izakaya bars and offices where Japanese and gaijin haplessly interact. He showcases all of this with fluid, graceful lines and warm, insightful humor. Roger’s cartoons are a wonderful introduction to Japan for anyone with a funny bone.
— Gwen Muranaka Cartoonist, “Noodles,” Japan Times (1996-2013) English editor-in-chief, The Rafu Shimpo (Los Angeles Japanese Daily News)