From the deadly streets of Los Angeles to celebrity success in the Far East, “21 Years of Wisdom: One Man’s Extraordinary Odyssey in Japan” chronicles Darrell Gartrell’s enthralling true-life adventure in the Far East. Narrowly escaping a police assault near the federal building where he worked, he left the country seeking better opportunities—backpacking across a dozen European countries in two years, emboldened by the diversity of the international landscape. In 1991, he arrived in Japan as the first African American most Japanese had ever seen. For many young people, he was the embodiment of a superstar. Soon, a local college hired him as their first black English instructor. It was the talk of the town. Gartrell’s star rose quickly. From his tiny, shoe-box apartment blossom a county-wide network of language boutiques he named Wisdom21, yet he was ill-prepared for its phenomenal growth. At its zenith, the company boasted six branches, dozens of employees, and thousands of clients nationwide. The success of his activities exposed him to a strata of society rarely experienced by a “gaijin”, or foreigner, in Japan. The companies demise—after two sensational decades—pitted him against an array of improbable characters including mob figures, government agents, and a woman scorned. 21 Years of Wisdom is the chilling, factual saga of Darrell Gartrell and his remarkable experience in Japan. His stunning race for survival documents his greatest achievements and as well as his biggest blunders. It is the kind of riveting, eye-opening story that every traveler on life’s highway needs to know, particularly those in search of their own path to wisdom in the 21st century.
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