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May 21 , 2010

An American Branch


The Japanese post-war economic miracle halted in the 1990s, a time that has been called the “lost decade” by many. Although the country suffered a severe downturn, it was still flush with revenue, so certain sectors prospered. Due to the belief that college ensured a successful career and to the large number of young people at the time, higher education was in great demand. The domestic universities were unable to handle the short-term surge, so some Japanese companies formed joint-ventures with dozens of foreign universities to provide an “international” alternative.

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An American Branch finds Wayne’s everyman, Charles Journeyman, as the director of an English language program at a new American university branch in Osaka. He is happily married to a lovely Japanese woman, but their inability to have children has created a distance between them. This increases as Journeyman becomes busier with work. Unexpectedly, he is given a seductive reward for fulfilling his duties. With this begins an emotional roller coaster full of thrills and perils involving shady business dealings, love hotels, modified fallout shelters, boogie bars, small towns, urban nightlife, illicit drugs, deception, revenge, and rumors of incest. Nothing remains the same, or does it?

In An American Branch, Wayne provides the reader with a glimpse of what life might have been like if you lived in Japan in the 1990s as an early middle-aged, Caucasian-American male with little by way of a moral compass beyond what you accumulated during the Cold War era as a member of the Woodstock generation. This novel contains content that may not be suitable for young readers 17 and under.

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