Jake Adelstein is certainly a man with guts. In the early 1990s he was a student at Sophia University in Tokyo, where he wrote for the student newspaper. At some point before the fall of 1992, he decided to try getting a job as a reporter at one of Japan's biggest dailies. Incredibly, he went on to work for 12 years at Japan's biggest daily, covering the police beat and writing stories that covered the gamut of human vice. Until he found a story that forced him out of the country.
The most striking thing about Adelstein's adventure is him even getting a foot in the door of a Japanese newspaper in the first place. It borders on the fantastic, if you consider the ease with which Adelstein slips into Japan's biggest daily. I can't imagine a case where a Japanese university student in America, or any foreigner for that matter, gets a job at a major U.S. daily, let alone at the hallowed New York Times, especially one who violates interview dress conventions by wearing a funeral suit to the interview. But Japan was very different and this is exactly what Adelstein managed to pull off, despite going to the interview in a funeral suit. His friends at the school newspaper titter at the comedy when Adelstein appears to them, fresh out of several hundred dollars in a black suit: they suggest he apply to the yakuza instead of the paper. “You could be the first gaijin yakuza!” The Force is with Adelstein to be sure and his wardrobe mix up doesn't stop him from getting the job.
We're there along with him in Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan as he makes his way in the world of Japan's biggest daily newspaper. The stories, sometimes funny, involve Adelstein learning how to do business as a reporter in Japan, his developing sources, and making faux pas like hurling snot at a big-time reporter during a festive meal. He survives with career intact because some Japanese think the gaijin are cute, if utterly clueless.