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A Gaijin's Guide to Japan: An Alternative Look at Japanese Life, History and Culture [Paperback]

Ben Stevens
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 May 2009

An alternative look at Japanese life, history and culture

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 this 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 chikan (the weird blokes who touch you up on trains), geisha, inari shrines, karaoke, omikuji (sacred lottery) and ending up at zen. With a fair sprinkling of celebrity mentions - from David Beckham to soap opera star Yong-sama - and handy guides to kanji and sushi this is the perfect book for the Japanophile in all of us.

Ideal for readers planning a visit to Japan but also to armchair fans of Japanese culture.


Frequently Bought Together

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 + Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook & Dictionary (Lonely Planet Phrasebook: Japanese)
Buy the selected items together


Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: The Friday Project (1 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906321213
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906321215
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.4 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 422,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Ben Stevens is the bestselling author of a number of titles, including THE ENNIN MYSTERIES, the PARKER trilogy and THE WHISTLER: A MURDERER'S TALE.

Since 2010 he has lived and worked at Daionji, a Buddhist temple, in Nagasaki City, Japan. His work has been featured on the NHK, NBC and BBC networks, and also in such publications as the Guardian.

Ben Stevens has used his experiences at the temple to write a variety of books, including the 'world-first' novel BIG SOUND TEMPLE (with 5-star reviews from #1 Amazon reviewer Joanna Daneman, and bestselling author of the EDEN series Lloyd Tackitt), CONFESSIONS OF A JAPANESE TEMPLE GARDENER and the #1 bestseller A GAIJIN'S GUIDE TO JAPAN(HarperCollins).

Many more titles are available through AMAZON Kindle release.

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 (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars unstuffy fun 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Buy the paperback 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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaijin, that's me. 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book. 1 Nov 2012
By Tex
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
5.0 out of 5 stars So far so good 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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very funny and interesting facts 22 July 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this book is light guide to Japanese culture. Packed with small stories,legends and funny incidents that happened in Japan and everyone there knows about it.Its a good easygoing read. Not much knowledge from it but its nice "time killer" when lm making my way home on tube;))
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