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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for anyone interested in contemporary Japan, its history and youth culture, 27 May 2006
By 
Katherine Zoepf (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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"Japanese for Travellers" is not about the Japanese language and it's not really for travellers either. It is an astounding tour of this surpassingly loopy archipelago, with the witty, charming young Katie Kitamura for your guide. She's returned to Japan after an upbringing in the States and many years in London, for the bewildering spectacle of a place that she and we can almost understand. But never quite. Her precise and thoughtful reflections about history and violence, identity and alienation in contemporary Japan make this a page-turner of a memoir.

The book's greatest strengths are the sharpness and intensity it brings to those unfocused, illegible childhood memories of the author's, the kind which can only make sense after many accumulated years of reconsideration. There are serious sections, like an examination of the way the Japanese have absorbed a sense of guilt for the atomic bomb attacks, alongside perfectly hilarious descriptive passages: the gloating thrill of victory in the Pachinko parlour, a visit to a bizarre and pointless Dutch-themed amusement park, and dozens of oddly-angled views into Japanese family life and youth culture.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice reading, 29 April 2007
This review is from: Japanese for Travellers: A Journey Through Modern Japan (Paperback)
As most trips, this return to Japan by the author, an expatriate, is a inner trip. The author revisits the cities where his family life has taken place, revisiting at the same time the events that have shaped the Japanese's psyche.
Although more an essay than a novel, it's an interesting read, and really whets the appetite for knowing more, presentially if possible, about this country.
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Japanese for Travellers: A Journey Through Modern Japan
Japanese for Travellers: A Journey Through Modern Japan by Katie Kitamura (Paperback - 5 April 2007)
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