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A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, ZEN, and the Tea Ceremony Paperback – 15 May 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Shokai Inc (15 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4805311290
  • ISBN-13: 978-4805311295
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 1.5 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"The geek in Japan of the title is of course Garcia. He has written a sharp and concise guide to Japan. It is comprehensive and well done. Among many topics, A Geek in Japan covers traditional culture, history, character, work, society, manga & anime, music, movies & television, Tokyo, and visiting the rest of Japan. This is a book by and for Japanophiles. Each section comes with photos, sidebars, and the knowledge of a long-time Japanhand. Very well done." Japan Visitor "Everyone who is interested in Japan will find this book fascinating." Larry Ellison, cofounder and CEO, Oracle Corporation "One of the funniest and yet most accurate descriptions of modern Japanese culture that I've ever seen. Highly recommended!" Joichi Ito, director, MIT Media Lab "Hector and I share a deep interest and affection for all things Japanese. But in my case, I only get to enjoy Japan on my business trips. Back in Spain, I like to keep in touch. And that I do reading kirainet, 'A geek in Japan.' Now you can do the same. And in book format. Enjoy!" Martin Varsavsky, entrepreneur, founder of Fon and Safe Democracy Foundation "Filled with a load of photos and information about Japan a must read." Danny Choo, Tokyo entrepreneur and owner of www.dannychoo.com "While not a traditional guide book, A Geek in Japan certainly makes a reader want to hop on a plane to experience everything firsthand." San Francisco Book Review "Comprehensive and well informed, A Geek in Japan covers a wide array of topics in short articles accompanied by numerous photographs, providing a lively digest of the society and culture of Japan." Japan Today "Hector Garcia's A Geek in Japan is a lightweight but enjoyable romp through modern Japanese culture, seen through the eyes of its writer, an amazingly inquisitive young Spaniard living in Tokyo." Lonely Planet --Lonely Planet

About the Author

Hector Garcia was born in Spain, in 1981. After earning his MS in software engineering and working for CERN in Switzerland, he moved to Japan, where he worked on voice recognition software and later for Digital Garage, developing the technology needed for Silicon Valley startups like Twitter and Technorati to enter the Japanese market. He has been living in Tokyo since 2004 and is the creator of the popular blog www.kirainet.com

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 17 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a shame in a way that the title of this book involves the word 'geek' - while it's true to the author and the name of his blog, it might alienate potential readers who think the focus will be on manga and video games. In reality, this is a beautifully presented, high quality book which covers pretty much any aspect of Japan you might be interested in - not just the geeky bits! I'm most interested in pop culture, fashion and language but I found the sections on history and traditional arts interesting too. It's not encyclopaedic nor does it attempt to be, but is still surprisingly in depth.

It's unfortunately a little let down by poor editing. Sometimes Japanese words are used with no definition (e.g. 'daimo' on page 17), people are discussed without introduction (e.g. Takahiro, page 17) and there are a few grammatical and spelling errors (e.g. 'next-door', My Neighbour Tottoro).

These errors aside, it's a very enjoyable, well researched book that will get you interested in learning more about the country and its culture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul_ABZ on 23 April 2014
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Quite a fascinating read covering everything from the ancient history of Japan through to the modern. Everything seems well-researched, well informed and - most importantly - interesting to read. All topics are covered from history, through to culture and myths. I've given this book to two friends that have visited Japan and they also found it great.

Only slight negative for me is that because it's a Spanish guy, writing about Japan, in English - it sometimes reads like a school report.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kitkat on 1 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
First let me start off by saying I've been to Japan a couple times, studied the language for 3 1/2 years, have a massive interest in Japanese arts and have many Japanese friends. Yet, this book has taught me more about aspects about Japanese culture then my real life experiences there. It's super insightful and honest. When you go over to Japan with these huge expectations that everything is going to be like a bed of roses boy do you get a wake up call and García totally gets this. Now I can look back and see why people behaved the way they did, what was the meaning behind their behaviour and the society as a whole. It was really refreshing. And I learnt so much more not only about Japanese behaviour and the economy but also the history of manga, anime, j-pop and so on. I really enjoyed reading about the different fashion styles. Just wished it was a bit longer.

Needless to say I'm going to be using this book when I plan my next visit to Japan!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Angelo Braz on 24 July 2012
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Simple, clear, entertaining. You'll get to know more about Japan, its people and culture, with good insights. All from the point of view of a foreigner who has been living there for some years. It's a good apetizer for your curiosity about Japan.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By GMills on 10 Nov. 2012
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I bought this book wanting to gain a further interest in Japan, its people and its culture. It has done exactly that! It's extremely informative and does it in a fun and easily accessible way. It gives you enough information to feel satisfied with the book, however, leaves you wanting to find out more and further your interest Japan. Having never been to Japan I found it fascinating and made me want to go. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to travel to Japan or just generally interested in Japan or knows little about the country. Well worth a read! It's not an academic book and there is much opinion throughout, however, its a book based on the author experience and travels through Japan and what he has learnt. All the information and opinions are well structured and gives a well balanced view of his findings.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Parka HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 10 April 2014
Format: Paperback
Length: 1:29 Mins
A Geek in Japan is an interesting and insightful guide to all who are fascinated by the Japan and its culture.

The book covers aspects of Japan that might be familiar to most, such as manga, anime, and also deeper subjects such as their working environment, society views, practices and more. There are many little nuggets of information in each chapter, such as riding the subway, why people wear face mask,preparing tea, and even a brief travel section.

The best part of the book is the text that explains why Japanese behave the way they do. E.g. The low crime rate, hard workers, employees who typically stay at a single company their whole life, after office hours interaction, family dynamics, the meticulous nature of people, etc. Once you understand that, you sort of get the context to the bigger picture to their society.

I'm not sure how accurate the text is, but several reviews on Amazon commented on that. I guess you have to understand that this is written from the view of a foreigner staying in Japan not for the purpose of studying the country. What's written mostly are based on observation.

The book would have been even better, more insightful with proofreading and commentary from actual Japanese people, because there are times where I go "Is this for real?".

Author Hector Garcia has packed a bit of everything to make it an enjoyable read. I was captivated enough to finish reading in one sitting.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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