Shadow Shinjuku by Ryu Takeshi / #Interview #BookTour @zooloo2008 @RyuTakWrites


The streets of Tokyo are different at night.

There is darkness behind the glitter and the neon lights, and people who prefer to stay in the shadows, to dwell in the underworld – whores, gangsters, the homeless, the lost.

People like Sato.

He’s part of this world, he always has been, but a feeling of change is lingering in the heavy air of the bustling city. A feeling brought to life by fateful encounters of solitary souls.

Shadow Shinjuku is a dark, yet magical journey into the depths of Tokyo’s nightlife and the depths of the human soul.

Ryu Takeshi’s first novel is both a crime thriller and urban fantasy. It’s a unique and mesmerizing blend of the imagery of Japanese animation and film, the colors and details of street photography, and the mystical lyricism of soulful music.

But above everything, it is a gripping story that doesn’t let go.




When and where do you prefer to write?

I prefer to write in coffee shops, drinking a nice flat white or V60, and having a cake with it. When I started out as a writer I was still living in Tokyo, and I’d always go to my favourite coffee shop, Asylum Roasters, which had this cosy, relaxing atmosphere. They’d play jazz from old vinyls, and they’d roast their own coffee in the back of the shop, meaning that the strong and beautiful smell of roast coffee was always in the air. I just loved spending time in Asylum Roasters and somehow it felt like the perfect atmosphere to write. And although currently I’m not residing in Japan, I still prefer to be in a coffee shop when I write.

Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?

No, I don’t. To the contrary, I need a little background noise and buzz, otherwise I feel like I’m too isolated and my thoughts wander off too much. One of the reasons I like to write in coffee shops is that I have people around me, still, I’m somehow able to create my own little space within the small crowds of coffee shops, which creates a setting where I do have external influences (which are essential to my writing), but I’m also able to hear my own voice properly. I also like to listen to music, which would either be jazz, or something darker and instrumental. Recently I’ve been listening to the late Johan Johansson, Olafur Arnalds, Max Richter, but I also like post-rock – Oh Hiroshima would be a good example.

If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?

To be completely honest, I would not co-write a book with anyone. I’m a lone wolf when it comes to writing, it’s my own little space and time, and I don’t really like the idea of letting anyone in. But I’d be happy to be part of an anthology with other authors, and in that case my pick would be Haruki Murakami – I’d love to be in an anthology with him also involved. And it would be nice to write short stories on Tokyo in this anthology.

Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?

I’d be happy with both. I’d actually be the happiest if I was a character that had both good and bad traits. We all have good and bad traits, we all have flaws, and I like it when characters of a book are not black or white but somewhere in between.

Who would you like/have liked to interview?

Haruki Murakami.

Where can I find you when you are reading?

At home, in a coffee shop, on the beach.

Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?

I do have a daily job, which on paper is a desk job, but I travel a lot and meet people a lot for my job, so I’m constantly moving around. It’s not easy to find me.

What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?

Pride. But also the stuff I still need to do to try and sell it, and even more so an urge to finally find the time to start writing the next one. Especially if I want it to be set in the same world, with the same characters. Like with Shadow Shinjuku. I can’t wait to continue the story.

How do you come up with a title for your book?

It’s the most difficult part! Honestly! It’s much easier to write hundred thousand words of text than to find a good title for it! I don’t know. I guess I just collect various ideas along the way, and then I think about them too long, and I also test them with friends and beta-readers.

How do you pick a cover for your book?

I always have it professionally designed, but I try to provide the basic idea and concept, and then we work together with the cover designer. It’s co-creation.

Thank you, Ryu Takeshi and Zooloo’s Book Tours


About the author

Ryu loves to write. It’s a way for him to find and explore new worlds, both inner ones and those way outside. And this process is spontaneous and instinctive, his stories born out of a single image, following a path Ryu himself never fully understands – not its origin, nor its end -, immersed in the magic of the moment, and the magic of everything that surrounds us, the visible and the invisible.

Ryu is a daydreamer, a believer in the magic of humanity, a friend to all the mystical creatures of the night, and a sucker for the visual beauty of anime. But above all else, Ryu is just a human being, like yourself.

Ryu was born in 1983, has a beautiful wife, a funny little dog, and a lovely daughter. He adores sumo, practices traditional kenjutsu, sometimes plays basketball (Go Denver Nuggets!), relaxes playing video games, watching anime and reading books.

Oh, and he loves to eat! But who doesn’t…


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