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Paul Thomas

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Kingston Technology DataTraveler 101 Generation 2 64GB USB Flash Drive - Frustration Free Packaging
Kingston Technology DataTraveler 101 Generation 2 64GB USB Flash Drive - Frustration Free Packaging
Price: £17.60

1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish - 64GB my bum, 24 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought from Amazon, but very poor product. Drive cannot be found on many devices. I don't think it was a true 64GB device, but had software to believe it was. More than half of copied files would fail to appear after being copied. Very dodgy indeed. I use San Disk product and have no problems, I won't be using Kingston again.


Fujifilm USB XD Card Reader For all XD Cards
Fujifilm USB XD Card Reader For all XD Cards

1.0 out of 5 stars One Star, 24 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Broke very quickly


Autobiography Of A Geisha (Vintage Original)
Autobiography Of A Geisha (Vintage Original)
by Sayo Masuda
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Side of Geishas, 29 Mar. 2006
Autobiography of a Geisha is the true story of a girl who was sold into the life of a 'Geisha' at a mountain spa. Barely literate, some articles of her life attracted much media attention when published in a newspaper, and so she wrote an autobiography about her life.
This is not a happy tale, far from the lives of classy artisans of Kyoto. This is a powerful story about a struggling young woman in a world where everything is for sale. Obviously a lot of sex occurred, but her innocent writing style and lack of detail prevent it from turning into a sleazy novel. This is purely for those that have an interest in the Geisha subculture.
Shocking at times, heart warming at others, this is a nice easy read for those with an interest in people's lives that don't play like a Disney movie.


You Gotta Have WA (Vintage Departures)
You Gotta Have WA (Vintage Departures)
by Robert Whiting
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Social Studies Made Fun, 29 Mar. 2006
I am not a fan of baseball, heck I am British and I don't even understand the rules, but this book is about so much more than just baseball.
Japanese people act, well, Japanese, very Japanese in fact. And no where is this more obvious than in their 'national' sport, baseball. What follows is a series of comparisons and hilarious true life tales of foreigners adventures and the Japanese baseball league. From the league of cult like zealous fans, to the daily routine of a baseball player; all of whom train like commandos, its an eye opening world. The social rules expressed can be moved to any form of life in Japan, and all foreign residents of Japan will sigh in nodding unison of their experiences.
One American player was told he wasn't allowed to go home for his father's funeral, while another retires with an amazing Japan career record, only to be snubbed and ignored by his team's managers and the general public. This isn't a 'bash Japan' book, the unfair treatment of American players is balanced out by equally ridiculous demands and expectations of the American transfers. Players are actually expected to train in Japan, and by god do they train hard. Japanese players are paid next to nothing, have no rights, have rules on their lives outside of the club, and must dedicate themselves from middle school to the sport. Naturally when a lazy American expects the world he is rebuffed.
This is a great read, and I would recommend it to every one, even non baseball fans. It's a funny read, and It's a good idea to watch the film 'Mr Baseball' to see what to expect.


Tokyo Underworld: the Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan (Vintage Departures)
Tokyo Underworld: the Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan (Vintage Departures)
by Robert Whiting
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing True Crime, 29 Mar. 2006
Tokyo Underworld is a story of the Japanese Yakuza, Korean gangsters and a tough American Italian in post war Japan.
Richard Whiting has a fantastic writing style, and as with his other books this is an un-putdown-able read. Most foreigners in Japan have read it, and people still recommend it to me now. The amazing true stories of diamond heists, sumo wrestlers gone bad, and sword fights in car parks are all backed up by pictures and newspaper clippings. The famous Yakuza loyalty is demonstrated, but a lot of the adventures are of non Japanese trouble makers, including the long suffering Koreans and Chinese. The main character is not overly likeable, but he is funny and he certainly led an interesting life as he sees Japan change through the 50 years he stayed there. As he has problems with his love life, and gets more and more into trouble with lawsuits, you stop having as much sympathy for him though.
A lot can be learned from this book about the Japanese way of thinking, the passage about the famous American lawyer trying to give them a fly fishing area for free, and their suspicious minds was amazing. This is my favourite book on Japanese culture by far, and I highly recommend it.


Hokkaido Highway Blues
Hokkaido Highway Blues
by Will Ferguson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny Travel Adventure, 29 Mar. 2006
This review is from: Hokkaido Highway Blues (Paperback)
In this travel odyssey, the author tries to hitch hike from the very bottom of main land Japan, to the very top, meeting as many people as he can.
This is a heart warming feel good story, with a true sense of adventure. The author is likable, he's not too boastful or big headed about his exploits, and it's obvious he does care a lot about Japan. Starting in the far south of Kyushu (not Okinawa...?), he follows the cherry blossoms up the entire length of the country as the flowers appear. Doing all this on the generosity of strangers, most of whom can't believe their luck to meet a foreigner! He travels to islands to study monkeys, stays with numerous families and goes on pilgrimages to temples. It paints a truly fantastic picture, I really wish I could see some photos of his journey, but there is only text, bar the map. At times it's obvious the author exaggerated, damaging the realism, and a few cringe worthy clichés occur such as when he was at Hiroshima.
Overall though it's a good read, ignore the unfinished ending, and you will find that anything is possible in Japan


Geisha of Gion
Geisha of Gion
by Mineko Iwasaki
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Geisha Book, 29 Mar. 2006
This review is from: Geisha of Gion (Paperback)
There are many books on Geisha on the market, but in my opinion this is the best one. This is an autobiography of a high class Geisha from Kyoto, in the post war period.
Geisha of Gion is a true story, with photographs of her exploits, entertaining Prince Charles, etc to add realism. Its no surprise that this is the Geisha who Arthur Goldern interviewed for background information for his book memoirs of a Geisha (not a great book in my opinion). The author's big sister is even called 'Pumpkin', which was taken straight off by Goldern. Where the two stories differ remarkably though, is that she was taken into the Geisha house by choice, and as a hot commodity was spoilt rotten! She teased all the servants as a child, and got anything material she pleased throughout her life! It's certainly different to the slaves that sell their virginity in other books. The life of a Geisha is certainly not an easy one, her daily routines and lack of free time or freedom are mystifying to the reader.
I doubt all secrets are surrendered, and I think she has exaggerated in places to make things more interesting, regardless, it's a mesmerising read.


Holy War: The Crusades and Their Impact on Today's World
Holy War: The Crusades and Their Impact on Today's World
by Karen Armstrong
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.44

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Epic History, 29 Mar. 2006
Karen Armstrong has written a brilliant narrative of the Crusades, in a unique and engrossing fashion.
This large book, deals with every single Crusade that took place (1 - 13), and shows how they effected today's world in the Bush era. The Byzantium empire, the forming of Israel, and the Mongol campaign that ran parallel are all covered, jumping back and forth in time, but in and understandable and logical fashion. Unbiased accounts are given of the acts and events of the age, and no religion is made to look sinister, it's just a case of chronicled events, which does make the Crusaders look a little naughty. I read this book before watching the Kingdom of Heaven film, expecting it to be totally historically wrong, but apart from the ludicrous movie version of the defence of Jerusalem, it was quite close.
Karen Armstrong was a nun, not a military General. So don't expect detailed battled accounts, or stories of Templar knight's crossbows firing volleys in the Muslims. A summary of any relevant event is given, and for this it works quite well. The death of the last Grand Master, or the siege and treachery that allowed the capture of Jerusalem are all covered. If you were going to read one book on the Crusades, this is the one. If you find some thing you like in here, Knights of the Hospital, the Popes war with Europe's kings or prophecies of Armageddon and the anti-Christ then read up on that in detail later.
Perhaps out of all the books I have ever read, this book has taught me more useful facts, and enlightened me more than any other. The Crusades a very famous era, but the full truth is twice as amazing.


The History of the Mongol Conquests
The History of the Mongol Conquests
by J. J. Saunders
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Full History, 29 Mar. 2006
While it's not an easy or a casual read, I do highly recommend this book. It looks at the Mongol conquests in an entirety, instead of focusing on just one of the Kahns, or a particular battle.
The approach of this book is fresh, and tells us more about events going on elsewhere in the world and the effects it had on the Mongols. I was unaware of Christian-Mongol alliances during the Crusade era for example. The broad sweep of this book does mean however, that in some cases not as much detail as appreciated is given for certain events, as the author believes us to be familiar with the subject. I hoped there would have been more detail about Kublias invasion of Japan, for instance. A large book with a lot of small text, no photos but a few maps, its commentary of the conquest is told from a political perspective, with lots of names of people and places to confuse. All major battles are covered, as mentioned though it's not told from a military point of view, so don't expect tactics or weapon types.
I enjoyed this book, and I did learn a great deal. I would recommend it over any of the books that only talks about Ghengis Kahn, and doesn't take the big picture into account.


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