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A Gaijin's Guide to Japan: An Alternative Look at Japanese Life, History and Culture Paperback – 1 May 2009

13 customer reviews

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A Gaijin's Guide to Japan: An Alternative Look at Japanese Life, History and Culture + A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, ZEN, and the Tea Ceremony
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: The Friday Project (1 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906321213
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906321215
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 287,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Let's cut the crap ('scuse French)...

Every other author on Amazon is 'Bestselling author of this' or 'No. #1 Ranked writer of that'...

Me? I'm just another schmuck, nudging 40, with a wife and two young kids to feed. Bills to pay, graying hair, lagging libido. That kind of thing.

So whataya want? Apocalypse? Biker gangs, bloodthirsty zombies? I can do that. Check out PARKER: THE STORY OF AN APOCALYPSE SURVIVOR...

A Japanese feudal-era 'Sherlock Holmes' -type? THE ENNIN MYSTERIES, baby...

A genius half-Jewish violinist, sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp and kept alive by an otherwise entirely evil guard? THE WHISTLER: A MURDERER'S TALE...

A tale written entirely in 'Japlish'? (Unlikely, but then you never know, and it DID get a five-star review from legendary AMAZON US #1 HALL OF FAME [end capitals] reviewer Joanna Daneman) That'll be the 'cult classic' BIG SOUND TEMPLE...

The five years I've spent, so far, living and working at an ancient Buddhist temple in Nagasaki City, Japan? CONFESSIONS OF A JAPANESE TEMPLE GARDENER...

Hell, I've got a bunch of books out. Over 80, I reckon. Hopefully, there's at least one there to suit YOU.

Maybe even two, though I don't want to rush things between us just yet...

Either way, whatever you do, have a great day.

Ben.

Hit me up! (or just contact me)...

benjudo1976@gmail.com
Twitter - @benstevens1976

Product Description

Book Description

An alternative look at Japanese culture, history and life.

From the Back Cover

An alternative look at Japanese culture, history and life.

Gaijin - a Japanese word meaning 'foreigner, literally 'outside person'.

Your Rough Guide or Lonely Planet book can tell who where to stay or what to see, but how do you really get under the skin of Japan? In his entertaining new book, Ben Stevens explores the serious and the frivolous, the history and the obsessions of a fascinating nation.

Taking an A-Z walk through Japanese culture, A Gaijin's Guide to Japan looks at everything from akachochin bars to zen with all manner of weird and wonderful things in-between. These include geisha, inari shrines and karaoke as well as handy guides to kanji and sushi.

A Gaijin's Guide to Japan is the perfect book for the
Japanophile in all of us.


Inside This Book

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By maggieloveshopey on 3 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
The book is an introduction to many different aspects of Japan, arranged in an A-Z format, from Sada Abe to Zen. Topics covered range from mythology to culture to etiquette to politics (thanks to Mr Stevens for reminding me of Tokyo's eccentric governor, Shintaro "French people can't count" Ishihara). It's a fun and informal read which never goes too deeply into any subject, although you could use it as a springboard for some Googling if you want to get a bit more in depth. It's a good capsule picture of life in Japan, and great for dipping into.
It's not all perfect - the copyediting is a bit sloppy, and the humour can be hit and miss, but the best thing I can say about this book is that I wish I'd had a copy before I moved to Tokyo. At the time all I could find were travel guides and dry treatises on the correct angle to bow at when handing over a business card (also covered here!), and this book would have been great when trying to settle into a strange new city.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. E. Welsby on 5 Mar. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The books pretty interesting as a short A-Z of interesting Japanese topics, unfortunately the Kindle version is a poorly formatted (non UTF-8) HTML file, so any Japanese characters and kanji come out as jibberish.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sáss Alæssí on 5 May 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I adore Japan and everything about the country, if I could find a job out there I'd leave tomorrow. Gaijin translates to either Foreigner or Alien, so take your pick which one you are, I'm happy to be both. I even have a tattoo on my left arm to confirm this fact. Japan is a country of just about every contradiction known to mankind and this book doesn't even scratch the surface of this fact. I think the author could've gone a little deeper into some of their facts but an enjoyable read was had by me. Some reviewers have been extremely scathing of the author, most criticisms very unwarranted I think, if these people really think the author was that bad then write a better book yourself why don't you? Calm down everyone, it's just light reading after all.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rob Lambert on 3 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
I rented A Gaijin's Guide to Japan from the local library.

It's actually a really good book with some useful information contained within it. It's formatted in an A-Z style with lots of emphasis on culture and beliefs and customs. I've never been to Japan to use the information contained but it looks pretty conscise. It's certainly not a reference or guide book but a supplemental book.

The writing style is light-hearted and fun. I found it quite tricky to read sometimes because of the sentence structure but that's a minor niggle really. It didn't take me long to blast through the book but I did find myself wavering in the middle. This was mainly due to the A-Z style rather than a personal story format. There's no story bringing me back. It's just references but not in a guide book style.

Other than that though I liked the book a lot and I thought the author, Ben Stevens, has written a great little read. Just don't rely on it for all your facts for Japan. Also - was not impressed to find no mention section on Bento (obento).

For the price it's on at Amazon it's definitely worth a punt.

Rob..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tex on 1 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My son lives in Japan, so this was great background reading for a visit. Contains enough fascinating facts to warrant re-reading, and is readable enough to be 'dipped into' if time is short.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ashleigh on 22 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I received this order very promptly and it was in very good condition.
Having read a few pages already I am struck by how easy it is to navigate through each section. The writing style is casual and friendly so it is much easier to pay attention to what is being said. I could say more but I haven't finished reading yet so... so far so good :)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found the book somewhat funny... a collection of 'anecdotes' alphabetically listed. It's neither 'riveting' nor 'boring' as such, but you could have found all the various anecdotes on 'travel' to the internet.
When I buy a book (and £7 is cheap, but not 'free'!), I want to be able to not shy away from displaying it in my library, or lending it to people... For this one, I'll give it a miss. The pages look really 'cheap' (recycled-looking brown pages) and there are a lot of typos that diminish its quality.
It's a 'well, yeah, ok, fine' reaction to this one... Can't really write much more about it (I'm halfway through and read it at night before bed, but cannot get through more than 3 or 4 pages at a time... I'm too sleepy/uninterested to really keep at it for more). Somehow, I'll get through it, but slowly...
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