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For Fukui's Sake: Two years in rural Japan by [Baldwin, Sam]
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For Fukui's Sake: Two years in rural Japan Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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Length: 211 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

About the Author

Sam Baldwin spent two years working as an English teacher on the JET Programme in the small town of Ono, in Fukui prefecture, Japan. For Fukui’s Sake is a true account of his adventures. He has written about travel for The Guardian, The Times, The Independent and The Scotsman, and has contributed to numerous magazines and guide books. He now lives in Edinburgh and works as a writer and editor for an international online travel company. See more at www.ForFukuisSake.com

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 548 KB
  • Print Length: 211 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Baka Books; 1 edition (9 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005M9TF78
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #446 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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There are so many books written by people who've lived in another country for a while and then think they might make some money writing about it. But this is one of the best!
Japan is one of the few places left in the world where a Westerner can still experience a real culture shock. Sam lived there for two years, and the book is his account of that time. Alternately moving, funny, sad and always eye-opening, it holds you from beginning to end.
Having never visited Japan I cannot comment on the accuracy of some of the author's writing, but it is always clear what are factual happenings, and what are his own thoughts and opinions.
Overall, a great read, and, I would think, essential if you are going to Japan.
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Great book with wonderful glimpses of small town and rural Japan. Excellent descriptions of some lesser know beauty spots, and a humorous view of two cultures trying to blend at the level of ordinary individuals.
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Japan is not somewhere I would have thought of visiting or to be honest reading about but this book has changed my mind on both counts. Its an enjoyable book, to be honest I did think it was going to be more about the authors new job teaching in Japan rather than his travelling adventures but it was well worth the read.A bit amusing in places and very discriptive of his new life in Japan.
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I bought this hoping it would remind me of my recent trip to Japan and wasn't disappointed. The book is written in a casual and very funny style that made it very hard to put down. The only small downside is that it was a little short and I managed to finish the book in a day however it is one I will certainly be reading again soon.
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A brilliant funny sad and interesting look at life in japan. Makes me want to go myself. Well done Sam San
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is one scene in the book, where the author and a young Japanese women are kayaking in a lake when their conversation turns to their perceptions of 'beauty' in Japan. The answer is surprising and gives an insightful glimpse in the psyche of many Japanese and their approach to tourism. The westerner's conventional appreciation of bountiful, untamed landscapes and hers - wholly detached from nature and far removed from the wilderness they find themselves in.

In many ways this sums up the book: one foreigner's ongoing interpretation of Japan. This is both its strength and its weakness. For much of the time reading 'For Fukui's Sake' we see Japan through the eyes of a foreigner for whom Japan represents his first ever experience living in a different country. The observations are well written, but frequently they are laden with comparisons to life in England which, while easy to comprehend, do not fully capture the complexities of Japanese customs. Often they are made while the author recalls tales of trips with expat friends. His time spent exploring with other foreigners is potentially the least interesting aspect of the book - but takes up a lot of the story.

It's at its best when he speaks candidly with locals, be it in a family home or in a local bar, but these seem to take second place to the authors personal trials and issues wrestling with a foreign land. A certain naivety in the experiences is both refreshingly honest and occasionally limiting. More of a focus on rural Japan would have made a more compelling story. In the end we have a book which is anecdotal, engaging and truthful but ultimately lacking in depth. Those looking to get a solid insight into Japanese culture may be disappointed, but as a foreigner's buoyant first leap into Japan - it works reasonable well. Certainly worth a read.
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I must admit i liked this. I am applying for The JET programme myself (man the form killed me!) so this was a welcome read. There is not so much about the job of teaching per se in it but overall I enjoyed the read. It read fast and was written in a friendly and warm style. I am now reading My Mother is a Tractor also about JET, which has more references to teaching in and is funnier read but I would recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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