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Being A Broad in Japan: Everything a Western woman needs to survive and thrive Paperback – 19 Jul 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 515 pages
  • Publisher: Alexandra Press (19 July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4990079108
  • ISBN-13: 978-4990079109
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 15 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,617,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


... a necessary resource for a wide range of women. -- Kansai Time Out, July, 2001

From the Author

From the foreword to 'Being A Broad in Japan'

"Why would anyone want to publish anything for that audience? There’s far too much fuss made about women’s issues these days."

— Princess Anne to the author, 9 March 1999

I’m not in the habit of hobnobbing with royalty. When I was publishing Being A Broad magazine, I was invited to a lunch ‘in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal’, along with several other young Brits in Tokyo who were classified as ‘movers and shakers’. I was introduced to her, and the above was her response when she was told what I was doing in Japan. Any woman who has spent less than one week in Japan might say the same thing. In some ways, Western women are the ‘privileged’ foreigners in Japan. They are idolised by Japanese men and women alike; fashion magazines, billboards, TV commercials, and the most popular movies all feature Western women. Japanese men are often too in awe to speak to them, Japanese women are often wondering whether Western women’s boobs are real and how they get their bodies to curve like that. Aside from what is perceived to be a ‘glamorous’ appearance, many Western women in Japan have fulfilling and challenging jobs, beautiful homes, financial independence, and opportunities for personal development far beyond those we would have in our home countries, and certainly beyond those of most other foreign women in Japan.

But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have questions or need support, information, and guidance during our lives here.

When I first came to Japan in 1996, I wasn’t prepared. Twenty-one thousand Western women move to Japan every year and most of them aren’t prepared either. I don’t mean being prepared for the language or the culture; I mean being prepared for what it is like to be a Western woman living in Japan. There are many differences between being a Western woman in Japan and being a Western man in Japan. And being an African, Middle Eastern, South American, or non-Japanese Asian woman in Japan raises issues that justify books of their own—books that I am not qualified to write.

I started Being A Broad magazine because I sensed a need amongst Western women in Japan. Whenever I saw a group of such women get together, they discussed the many aspects of their lives here and asked questions that often went unanswered. When I travelled around Japan, I met some of the three thousand Western women who live in the countryside. They told me of the sense of isolation they felt, especially if they were the only foreigner in their town. My magazine aimed to support and connect Western women, while providing information and a forum for discussion and expression. I tried to make the magazine humorous, and to encourage us not to take ourselves, or certain elements of being a woman here, too seriously (just look at its title). From the feedback I received, I think Being A Broad magazine achieved those aims and I still feel sad about having to cease publication due to a lack of funds.

After the magazine stopped, I received a flood of correspondence from Western women in Japan, as well as those in other countries. These women asked me many and varied questions about living here: from treating a yeast infection to getting a mammogram, from finding an apartment to shipping everything home, from finding work to taking an employer to court, and probably just about everything else you can think of. The need for information and support was still there. After about six months of this, I looked at the information taking up an increasing amount of space in my apartment and decided to turn it and the ‘Being A Broad’ name into this book.

Throughout 1999 I interviewed about two hundred Western women living in Japan. Most of them were women from the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. They were from different ethnic and social backgrounds, and of different ages and sexual orientations. Employment and marital statuses differed. Some were here for six months, some for most of their adult lives. It was a diverse group of women, each with unique experiences, but they all had one thing in common: they were Western women in Japan. I was touched by their willingness to share their experiences to help prepare and support others like them.

These interviews form the foundation of this book. With other research, interviews with specialists in certain fields, some of my own experiences, resource sections and useful Japanese phrases, I have tried to create a comprehensive guide for Western women in Japan.

If that’s making a fuss about women’s issues, then off with my head!

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
...actually I think a lot of other people would find it very interesting and useful too.
This book contains tons of useful information about things like getting: a visa, a job, a flat, child care, a social life, a boyfriend, a husband, a divorce, a (lesbian) girlfriend, a good doctor, a massage, a baby (naturally or adoption, the lot)... learning: japanese, judo, traditional flower arranging, sky-diving... dealing with: the police, the local authorities, your landlord, your boss, perverts on the trains...
Plus there is loads of useful japanese. And loads of interviews with women who came out here to do a huge range of different things.
Basically if you are a western woman coming to Japan for any reason, you should get this book and bring it with you and refer to it all the time. I only wish it had been available when I first moved out.
Happy travels!
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By A Customer on 19 Sept. 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is invaluable to Western women (and others) who are planning to come to Japan for a long period of time.
It's full of information and advice that will make your stay so much easier, especially if you'll be living in Tokyo.
A lot of this information wasn't available to me before arriving in Japan, or didn't even exist! I recommend buying, or at least skimming through it before you leave your own country.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't move to Japan without it! 2 July 2002
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is the only book I have seen addressing women's issues in Japan. It specifically deals with the challenges Western women face when they live in Japan. It is quite thorough and well-written. The author and her work are very accessible and I would highly recommend this reference to any female planning a relocation. The book is not written for casual vacationers, but can provide useful insights into daily living, if you are curious.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money on this out of date book 21 Sept. 2007
By Tokyo Girl - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is embarrassingly out of date. The phone numbers, businesses and organizations are either no longer in use, no longer in existence, or no longer relevant. There are countless other ways to find up-to-date information. I'm sure it was useful when it was first produced, but selling this basically useless book to people now is irresponsible and dishonest, and buying it is a waste of your time and money.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything A Women Needs in Japan 2 April 2005
By R. Brown - Published on
Format: Paperback
For western women resident in Japan, this is the bible, the encyclopedia, and the Hold Grail all rolled in one. In spite of a somewhat flippant-but nevertheless clever-title, Being A Broad in Japan covers all the details women will have when living in Japan. It is comprehensive on, among other topics, survival (emergencies, finance, hair, etc.), home, health, relationships, becoming a mother, jobs and the workplace, Japanese language, and leaving Japan.

However, this guide is much more than a list or a yellow pages-though it is both of those. It is interspersed with quotes and anecdotes from the lives of many women who have struggled with some aspect of living in Japan. In the section on relationships, one woman voices the commonly heard refrain about western men in Japan: "Foreign guys are a big disappointment here. Mostly, they aren't interested in foreign women. Also, I find that many of them, after getting so much attention in Japan, start thinking they are really great." Another women touches on the loneliness many feel, in particular for lesbians: "If I were in New York, not only would I have more women to choose from for potential friendship, I would also have a developed circle of friends to support me. I have not been on my own in 18 about years-and the loneliness, coupled with the foreign land, has been profound..."

There is much advice, many a telephone number, basic Japanese language support, and much more. Indispensable for both those coming and for those still struggling with some aspect or another of Japan.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The not so inscrutable Japan. 24 Sept. 2001
By Gloria Bauer Ishida - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a woman who arrived in Japan years ago, when there were next to no resources to help one settle into everyday life, I commend Caroline Pover for her almost monumental resource book for foreign women living in Japan. She covers almost every possible issue from job hunting and setting up one"s own business to dating to being a mother, and extremely important to anyone living in a foreign country --- how and where to get good health care --- and much more, listing a treasure of organizations, books, useful addresses and telephone numbers, and web pages. Included at the end of each chapter is a basic and useful Japanese vocabulary pertaining to the subject.
As a personal touch, a number of expatriate women involved in a variety of jobs tell their stories, sharing the frustrations and successes they have experienced in a country not always friendly to the working woman.
Because so much research was involved, a few references became out of date while the book went to press; it would have been helpful to have a loose page addition with corrections. Nevertheless, the book is invaluable for foreign women living in Japan and for any woman, married or single, who contemplates a move there.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential help for Japan newcomers and long-termers 25 Sept. 2001
By Kim Binsted - Published on
Format: Paperback
Whether you're thinking of moving to Japan, or are already here, this book can help you deal with the day-to-day trials of being a stranger in a very strange land. It has both general info and stuff that's more likely to be of interest to women (childcare, finding a good English-speaking gynecologist, etc). All in all, a great resource for foreign women in Japan...
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