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You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O.
You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O.
You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O.
Ebook89 pages45 minutes

You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



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Every day, all across the city of Tokyo, a curious phenomenon unfolds: scores of blue- and white-collar citizens end up passed out — sometimes in spectacular fashion and mind-boggling positions — on the streets, on trains, in restaurants, in bushes, or anywhere else imaginable. Come nightfall, one might stumble upon a well-to-do Japanese salaryman lying crumpled and snoozing facedown on the sidewalk, apparently walloped by a haymaker of fatigue that sent him crashing down for the count. These brutal knockout punches sometimes involve intoxication, but alcohol alone fails to explain this widespread yet unintuitive phenomenon: making a public spectacle of oneself in a society like Japan’s, where conformity and shame heavily regulate behavior.

Rife with fascinating insights into Japanese culture, You Can’t Spell Tokyo Without KO embarks on an eye-opening journey where social commentary and candid street photography explore the various societal factors — some enviable, some alarming — that contribute to this epidemic of passing out in public.

Release dateJun 10, 2016
You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O.
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Nicholas Floyd

Nicholas Floyd was born in the Midwest of the United States of America, where he lived a rather uneventful two decades until, as a young college student, he received sage advice from a fellow Midwestern native who had fled to California and who insisted that Nicholas likewise “get the hell outta the Midwest.” Nicholas overshot California and the entire Pacific Ocean, landing in Japan, where he lived on and off for five years collectively. During that time, he achieved fluency in Japanese thanks to sage advice from a different friend, who had previously lived in Japan and who insisted, “Don’t hang out with other foreigners.” In the US and Japan, Nicholas worked full time as a systems administrator, and during his mid-twenties he spent several years traveling the world competing as a nationally ranked video game tournament player, but he ultimately gave up the hobby in pursuit of other interests, such as piano composition and photography. During his late twenties, he toiled over the inverse correlation of his steadily increasing net worth and his steadily decreasing net happiness, and it became obvious that neither spending forty hours per week in an office nor the corporate world in general particularly tickled his fancy. So at the age of thirty, he left a successful and promising career in IT to pursue a lifelong passion far less lucrative but far more enjoyable: writing. He is particularly interested in anthropology, human sexuality, healthy living, sustainability and minimalism, studies of consciousness (waking, dreaming, and altered states), the beneficial uses of psychedelics, and drug policy reform. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, as well as a minor in Mathematics, both of which are now collecting dust. He happily resides in a tiny apartment on the island of Oahu.

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O. is a fascinating little book, but let's quickly talk about what is *isn't*. It's not a deep sociological or anthropological study. The author makes a number of observations -- some serious, some humorous. But they represent the musings of a foreigner, not an academic review. It's also not a coffee-table style book full of impeccably framed professional photographs. The photos are casual, although that doesn't necessarily make them less appealing.With that said? I found it irresistibly interesting. I went through the entire book in one sitting, and walked into another room to show off a couple of the funnier photos. It's a very quick and easy read, and you learn something: once you're done, you have some insight into a foreign culture. I think it would be a great book to send as a gift for someone about to hop on a plane or bus, and I'm glad I had a chance to read it.I do have some suggestions for the author for his next work. I felt like this book might have been improved if it hadn't spent the entire time in his own headspace. Recounting more conversations (particularly with other foreign observers like himself) would have been enlightening. And of course the book is quite short -- a longer tome would have been appreciated.Disclosure: I was recently provided a complimentary copy of You Can't Spell Toyko Without K.O. to review on Kindle. I strive to provide honest and unbiased reviews regardless of where I acquire the books that I've read.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Nicholas provides insight to the Japanese culture's habit of "sleeping" in public through both pictures and words. At times humorous and reflective he provides an outsiders view on the Japanese custom of passing out in strange positions and places.I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to people who are interested in examining cultural differences.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    okay, I've lived on a few different continents, Asia being one of them, and I still don't get this book. apparently there is a social phenomenon in Japan around sleeping, passing out, drunk, acting like people are unresponsive in public. The book is cool, but I don't get the premise. You could do this in any other place in the world after a long day, drinking binge, or whatever.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Mr. Floyd's book was extremely interesting because it tied together research in overcrowding in mice with the results of overcrowding and overwork in Japan. It explained how it is considered "wrong" to leave work before the boss does, and often a person will go in to work one morning and not leave until the next evening. In addition, transportation is often extremely crowded and commutes may be as long as four hours. Also, if a subordinate is urged by a supervisor to drink alcohol, it is not proper for him to refuse. The result of all this is that many Japanese go to sleep at odd times, in odd places, in odd positions. Floyd does not suggest a remedy for any of these problems. He simply presents the problems.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    What first seemed to be a list of pictures with insinuations of what could have happened, turned out to be the perfect window and insight into Japan's K.O. phenomenon. As a foreigner, I was in for quite a (culture) shock when I first set foot in Finland. Women falling out of the bus? Passing out in public? Noooo! I'm not naive... but where I come from, it simply happens behind closed doors. So I wondered... Is there something similar happening in Japan? Than what I experienced here in Finland? There might be a certain amount of alcohol involved, though the truth is a lot sadder... Floyd manages to point out the aspects and causes in such a way it became - to me, a fascinating matter. You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O. is far more interesting than I initially anticipated. An intriguing read!

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You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O. - Nicholas Floyd

You Can’t Spell Tokyo Without K.O.

A photo-essay dissecting the Japanese epidemic of passing out in public

By Nicholas Floyd

Also by Nicholas Floyd

Seven Nights with Ayahuasca:

A graphic account of heaven and hell,

and the bizarre infinity in between

Copyright © 2016 Nicholas Floyd

This book and all images contained herein are protected under copyright law. But I have no interest in writing an impersonal, draconian copyright statement, just as I would assume that you have no interest in reading one. So instead of droning on about boring legal minutiae, I simply ask that if you reproduce any part of this book, please do so respectfully, including the book’s title, the author’s name, and optimally a link for where to purchase.

ISBN: 978-0-9961732-5-4

Issued also in print format.

Cover photo and all other K.O. photos by Nicholas Floyd.

About the Author photo by Nicole Izak.

Cover design by Jennifer Quinlan.


For optimal reading experience, portrait display mode is recommended.

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Information

Regarding Privacy

Author’s Note


The Comforting Bosom of Mother Nature

The Bitter Taste of Defeat

Seared to a Fine Crisp

The Goalie

The Subscriber You Have Dialed...

The Straitjacket

The Rack

Any Port in a Storm

The Slippery Slope


The Last Supper

Punch-drunk and Out for the Count


Anti-gravity Suit


The Contortionist

The Struggle



Sinking into Oblivion

Cocoon of Despair

Haunted by Psychological Baggage

The Shackle

Triton Cemetery, Part I

Triton Cemetery, Part II

Last Train, Last Stop

Longing for the Warmth of the Womb

Power Nap

Stairwell to the Catacombs of Anguish

Double K.O.

Asleep at the Wheel

The Unbearable Brightness...

Pillow of Concrete, Blanket of Sunshine

Trying to Get a Grip on Himself

Letting Go

Pray the Lord My Soul to Keep

The Guillotine

When It Rains, It Pours





About the Author

Dedicated to everyone worldwide

who feels shackled to an unfulfilling job

that merely pays the bills. May you find a way to

break free and pursue your passions in life.


本書は全文英語で書かれております。 本文を読まずに写真だけを見ると、誤解が生じる恐れがありますが、本書のテーマは主に「日本の治安はとても良い」、「 サラリーマンの生活は非常に大変」 という2点です。

掲載写真は個人が特定出来ないよう配慮しておりますが、万が一特定の個人を識別出来る場合には、写真を削除させていただきますので、nicholasfloyd.com 経由でご連絡下さい。

Regarding Privacy

In the majority of these photos the subject’s identity is naturally obscured either by his own labored attempt to shield his eyes from light, or by some fortuitously placed object in the foreground. In photos where anyone’s face was clearly visible (be it the subject himself or a bystander), blurring and black bars have been employed in order to protect everyone’s identities.

Any photo where a person is deemed to be identifiable will be removed upon request. Such requests can be sent via the contact form on nicholasfloyd.com.

Author’s Note

This book has not been scientifically researched or scrutinized, and I have no formal education in sociology. My only qualifications are that I lived in Japan for five years, and I am fluent in

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