The Little Yokozuna

When a group of children is mysteriously transported from a museum garden into a fantastic world where the myths, magic, and spirits of traditional Japan have come to life, they find that escape isn’t as simple as a phone call home.

The children must win a desperate race against time to rescue the youngest sister from demon warriors – and discover who will stand against the demons with the spirit of a true sumo champion (yokozuna) – before they can return to their enchanted garden.

The Dramatic adventures they share with their new Japanese friend, Kiyoshi-Chan – set in a fantastic world of sumo wrestling, baseball, and temple gardens – offer a fascinating introduction to the magical aspects of Japanese culture

(Copied from the back cover)

The blurb on the back cover already explains the story pretty well. I have nothing to add to the story…however, I do have some thoughts to share.

The good thing about this book is that the author tends to insert original language of the story, which is Japanese. The characters sometimes said something like sumimasen, etc. He also mentioned a lot of term used in Sumo wrestling. It was such interesting new words. I have known sumo for ages but I never knew that it has so many terms in movements that only look like pushing the opponent to step outside the ring.

I also enjoy the story if I ignored some facts that I find a bit ridiculous. It was quite original, moving to different places and times by using Japanese ancient garden.

Now, let’s talk about those facts 😉

The story revolved around 7 American children and 1 Japanese boy…I find it a bit unusual that all those American children can speak Japanese fluently even though their father had tought them. They didn’t mention the age, but 2 kids were considered very small and yet still manage to speak good Japanese. If they lived in Japan, it would be believable…but they didn’t! It was just plain ridiculous. Japanese is a difficult language…much more difficult than English. I study both languages and I know how difficult it is.

And then, there was this moment when the author seemed to forget to put a time table while writing the book.

In Chapter 5 (Breaking and Entering) page 26

On the same rainy morning Annie and Knuckleball were eating breakfast with Kiyoshi-chan’s family in Kashiwa, the yellow sun was rising on a stony mountain, a painted temple, and an old snow monkey in another part of Japan.

It then continued with story of the other 2 siblings entering the temple.

Meanwhile, Annie and Knuckleball spent few days exploring Kyoto to find the right garden to find their missing sister. When they couldn’t find her, they went back to Kashiwa. Kiyoshi’s Obaasan (grandma) suggested them to go to the Thousand Words Temple.

….and this is when things got really weird!! When Annie, Knuckleball and Kiyoshi’s family arrived at the temple, they met the other siblings who had just recently breaking and entering the temple!! It had been few days for Annie and yet still at the same hour for the other siblings!!! Wayne Shorey really needs to keep the time straight!!

Overall, I still enjoy it but not that much.

About the author

Author Wayne Shorey was born and raised in Tokyo. He has a Ph.D in European History from Northwestern University and has lived and worked in Japan, Alaska, Korea, and Tanzania

Book Details

Title: The Little Yokozuna
Author: Wayne Shorey
Language: English
Pages: 172 pages
Publisher: Turtle Publishing
Challenge: New Author Challenge 2011Mystery and Suspense  Reading Challenge 2011, What’s In The Name 4 (a book with Size in the title)

8 thoughts on “The Little Yokozuna

  1. The blub sounded promising but all in all I don’t think this is for me. I think it was really not logical to have all these small American children master Japanese. At least you learned new words.

    1. I think the book is purely made for children, they might not question that language fact and just let themselves absorbed in the story…as for us older people, we find it as something impossible

  2. This article interests me because 1. I studied Japanese (though I didn’t really learn anything as gave up quite quickly – too hard) 2. There is a Japanese Garden in the park around the corner from us, though it is not very nice anymore as they haven’t looked after it very well but when we were younger my little sister fell in the pond and started to cry. 3. My Friend is in Japan at the mintue and said that she got eaten alive by Mosquitos 🙂 Also, I think it is quite interesting (and a bit funny) that there is such a rich and complex tradition and culture attached to a sport that is essentially just too big guys pushing each other out of a circle 🙂

    1. eh? hontou? I didn’t know you learnt Japanese…I thought you were just using online dictionary 😉
      Where did u learn it??

      Ah, if you visit my country, you would also be eaten by those small vampires…they are too many.

      I would love to see real Japanase garden, I don’t know where to find it here.

      Sumo is royal sport, tho I don’t think it is a fun to watch sport…I’ll stick to basketball anytime.

  3. It always bugs me a little when I want to enjoy a story but sometimes the logic in the story is so not possible. But the concept of the story in general sounds fun. Maybe he was aiming at an american audience?

    1. It’s safer just to do full fantasy…at least the author doesn’t have to think about the logic 😉

      I am not sure who is he aiming for, but I think everyone can see that it’s an impossible thing to master Japanese at such age. It kinda took away the fun.

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