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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read, amusing and poignant
Sam Baldwin lived the dream for 2 years - leave a dead-end job and go and see another part of the world.
He enrolled on an English Teacher programme in rural Japan; this is the story of his time there.
I've never been to Japan, but after reading this I would love to go. Sam manages to capture the emotions of his time there - the disorientation of being immersed...
Published 22 months ago by A. S. Bill

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting in parts but generally disappointing
I'm a Japanophile so was really looking forward to reading an account of a JET teacher's experiences. Unfortunately, I was let down by an occasionally interesting but overall bland and poorly structured book.

For Fukui's Sake appears to be self-published, and it shows. There is no structure to the book, no arching narrative; it reads like a collection of...
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read, amusing and poignant, 21 Jun 2012
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Sam Baldwin lived the dream for 2 years - leave a dead-end job and go and see another part of the world.
He enrolled on an English Teacher programme in rural Japan; this is the story of his time there.
I've never been to Japan, but after reading this I would love to go. Sam manages to capture the emotions of his time there - the disorientation of being immersed in a new country, a new culture, with people who are very different in their behaviour and attitudes.
I turned page after page as he settled in to his new surroundings, then met his new colleagues and pupils, as he slowly became a part of the place.
This is a gently humorous read, with a few great one-liners. I particularly enjoyed the part of the book about the winter sports, and the magical lake that the locals never visit.
By the end, it was clear how much Sam enjoyed living in Japan; his nostalgia for those 2 years comes through in spades.
There are other books that are aimed at a tourist travelling to Japan. This book tries to be something different. I enjoyed it immensely.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting in parts but generally disappointing, 28 Jan 2013
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This review is from: For Fukui's Sake: Two years in rural Japan (Paperback)
I'm a Japanophile so was really looking forward to reading an account of a JET teacher's experiences. Unfortunately, I was let down by an occasionally interesting but overall bland and poorly structured book.

For Fukui's Sake appears to be self-published, and it shows. There is no structure to the book, no arching narrative; it reads like a collection of independent articles, each covering a single event or concept. That doesn't sound like a big deal but it's frustrating. A good editor would have remedied this. One with a decent grasp of grammar would be ideal - the misuse of commas in this book is painful! There are numerous typos/spelling mistakes too (to/too, 'Karma Sutra', etc.).

I agree with the other reviewer who complained about the clichés and generalisations made frequently throughout. Halfway through (after we've been reading about the country for over a hundred pages) Japan is described as 'the land of sumo and sushi', which is depressingly childish and simplistic at this point in the book. The author often indulges in grandiose similes, some of which, for example in a story about a sushi bar, go on for pages! It's a bit cringe-worthy to be honest. Again, where was the editor?

If you read this book while keeping in mind the fact that it's one person's highly subjective views and experiences, relayed in his own sometimes overly opinionated and prejudiced words, then you may well enjoy it. I did in parts, but found myself skipping chapters towards the end as it became somewhat dull after a while. The author swings between being respectful and scornful of Japanese culture and beliefs, and at times I wondered what some of the people who clearly thought a lot of him might think of his less than kind comments about them!

In summary, it's worth a passing look if you're interested in Japan but don't expect too much.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read, 20 Jan 2014
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l love all things Japanese from manga to J-pop to the clothes and food. This book was a delightful look at life in rural Japan for an Englishman. ?It was well written and l enjoyed the short chapters - great for night time reading. ltd like me you love Japan and the Japanese you should enjoy this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Land of the Rising Fun, 30 Oct 2011
An extremely entertaining and witty look at life as a Westerner in Japan.

Having recently returned from a trip there, I was amused to witness many of the aspects of Japanese culture which Baldwin describes so vividly in the book - from sleeping salarymen to the obsession with karaoke, with a few takoyaki thrown in for good measure, For Fukui's Sake captures the quirks and curios of the nation with plenty of laugh out loud moments.

A must for those who have visited Japan, and a lively insight into the Japanese way of life for those toying with the idea of a trip to this charismatic country.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A predictable, badly edited checklist of Japan enlivened by infrequent insight, 3 Jun 2013
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Toilets, both modern and squat - check
Tokyo and Japan are humid in the summer - check
Japanese people are prone to exceptional feats of kindness - check
Japanese people (especially older ladies) are prone to staring at the gaijin - check
'A wise man climbs Fujisan once, a fool climbs it twice' - check
Japanese schools use pupils as their cleaners, and that job isn't done well - check
Pupils light paraffin heaters with little regard to H&S requirements - check
The baffling failure to use air conditioning/heating in houses or schools when appropriate - check
The tradition of gift giving - check
Customs/immigration in Japan can border on the xenophobic/racist - check
Capsule hotels - check
Western males are attractive in Japan - check
Harajuku girls - check
Japanese teddy boys - check

Baldwin also comes very close to recycling the 'pretty darn jozu' joke found in Will Ferguson's superior and more poignant "Hitchhiking Rides with Buddha" (also published as "Hokkaido Highway Blues"), a book he references within his tome. Indeed, while I believe Ferguson's book was published in 1998, it tells many of the same stories but with greater wit, depth and insight. For example, Ferguson is hilarious in his description of pixelated porn as 'cubist', and here Baldwin lacks that sort of invention.

Perhaps the worst aspect of the book is in its editing. Clearly rehashed from blog posts Baldwin wrote while in Japan, the book could do with some finessing and a proper edit to lessen what in parts still reads like a blog but in book form. There are also some very basic spelling errors, such as 'igirisu kara kimashata' rather than the correct 'igirisu kara kimashita' (from England) and using 'campai' rather than 'kampai' (cheers).

Where the book does excel - and hence the two stars - are of the descriptions of some of the people and places in Fukui, particularly when Baldwin examines the difference in concepts of beauty and kayaking in Lake Kuzuryu, as well as his tale of the fishermen of Obama. Unfortunately these are to be found all too infrequently among a very predictable list of what has been written about many times before.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The quieter side of Japan makes for great reading, 12 Sep 2011
For me, Japan has typically evoked an image of a hi-tech metropolis bathed in neon and filled with the ceaseless bustle and chatter of millions going about their lives. It is therefore refreshing to find a book like FOR FUKUI'S SAKE where the author starts off with some of those same Western preconceptions but proceeds to uncover a completely different side to the country. The frank and witty writing style brings the author's personal experiences in rural Japan to life vividly and makes it easy to imagine yourself lazing by the cool waters of the Kuzuryu river in the sticky heat of summer or tramping through a snowy wonderland of extinct volcanoes in winter with snowboard at the ready.

Ultimately this is a book about exploring and enjoying life wherever you are; I'm just glad that Mr Baldwin chose to do so in a place as interesting and refreshing as Fukui.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Fukui's Sake, 22 Mar 2014
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This review is from: For Fukui's Sake: Two years in rural Japan (Paperback)
From the title I was half-expecting someting a bit corny/trashy but was pleasantly surprised.
The author (who I don't believe is a a professional writer) writes in a very fluid, humourous and inciteful way.
If you have not read anything about travel/living in Japan read this one first and then "Hokkadio Highway Blues"
- you will not be dissapointed in any way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure, friendship and opportunity, 3 Mar 2014
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The author doesn't just tell you about his travels in Japan, he takes you on a journey with him. By the time you finish the book, you'll want to pack a suitcase and see it for yourself.

For Fukui's Sake is a humorous account of a British man's search for a deeper meaning to his life, something that resonates within us all. His epiphany moment occurs when he realises he doesn't enjoy his job. So he does something impulsive, and doesn't look back. The Japanese locals that you meet as you read through the book are well-written and will put a smile on your face.

This book appears as a travel memoir on the surface, and it serves that purpose excellently, but it also has a second agenda. It's a wake up call.

You'll be left questioning what YOU want out of your life, what your aspirations are, and feeling inspired to open new doors for yourself.

Summary:

This book is a must-read for all Japan-lovers, and if you happen to be British, this book will resonate with you on even more levels. It's a charming, funny and inspirational read that I'll definitely read again in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Old Fashion Adventure, 7 Feb 2014
This review is from: For Fukui's Sake: Two years in rural Japan (Paperback)
It was this books quirky title that brought it to my attention, then, page after page I followed Sam as he went from 9-5 frustration to an adventure on what sometimes seemed like an alien planet.

This book is very well written. It's easy to imagine yourself as an accomplice to Sam as he tackles situations that he lands himself in, such as Japanese barbershop style dentists or confronting marauding Asiatic Bears. I loved reading this. I am willing to even bet that upon reading it you'll begin plotting your own adventure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insider knowledge, 18 Nov 2013
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Read this a while ago, but enjoyed it. Great for anyone contemplating TEFL in japan. I didn't realise the country was do good for climbers.
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For Fukui's Sake: Two years in rural Japan
For Fukui's Sake: Two years in rural Japan by Sam Baldwin (Paperback - 19 Nov 2012)
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