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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
14
3.8 out of 5 stars


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on 1 November 2012
My son lives in Japan, so this was great background reading for a visit. Contains enough fascinating facts to warrant re-reading, and is readable enough to be 'dipped into' if time is short.
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on 3 June 2009
The book is an introduction to many different aspects of Japan, arranged in an A-Z format, from Sada Abe to Zen. Topics covered range from mythology to culture to etiquette to politics (thanks to Mr Stevens for reminding me of Tokyo's eccentric governor, Shintaro "French people can't count" Ishihara). It's a fun and informal read which never goes too deeply into any subject, although you could use it as a springboard for some Googling if you want to get a bit more in depth. It's a good capsule picture of life in Japan, and great for dipping into.
It's not all perfect - the copyediting is a bit sloppy, and the humour can be hit and miss, but the best thing I can say about this book is that I wish I'd had a copy before I moved to Tokyo. At the time all I could find were travel guides and dry treatises on the correct angle to bow at when handing over a business card (also covered here!), and this book would have been great when trying to settle into a strange new city.
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on 5 March 2011
The books pretty interesting as a short A-Z of interesting Japanese topics, unfortunately the Kindle version is a poorly formatted (non UTF-8) HTML file, so any Japanese characters and kanji come out as jibberish.
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on 5 May 2013
I adore Japan and everything about the country, if I could find a job out there I'd leave tomorrow. Gaijin translates to either Foreigner or Alien, so take your pick which one you are, I'm happy to be both. I even have a tattoo on my left arm to confirm this fact. Japan is a country of just about every contradiction known to mankind and this book doesn't even scratch the surface of this fact. I think the author could've gone a little deeper into some of their facts but an enjoyable read was had by me. Some reviewers have been extremely scathing of the author, most criticisms very unwarranted I think, if these people really think the author was that bad then write a better book yourself why don't you? Calm down everyone, it's just light reading after all.
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on 3 September 2009
I rented A Gaijin's Guide to Japan from the local library.

It's actually a really good book with some useful information contained within it. It's formatted in an A-Z style with lots of emphasis on culture and beliefs and customs. I've never been to Japan to use the information contained but it looks pretty conscise. It's certainly not a reference or guide book but a supplemental book.

The writing style is light-hearted and fun. I found it quite tricky to read sometimes because of the sentence structure but that's a minor niggle really. It didn't take me long to blast through the book but I did find myself wavering in the middle. This was mainly due to the A-Z style rather than a personal story format. There's no story bringing me back. It's just references but not in a guide book style.

Other than that though I liked the book a lot and I thought the author, Ben Stevens, has written a great little read. Just don't rely on it for all your facts for Japan. Also - was not impressed to find no mention section on Bento (obento).

For the price it's on at Amazon it's definitely worth a punt.

Rob..
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on 22 October 2013
I received this order very promptly and it was in very good condition.
Having read a few pages already I am struck by how easy it is to navigate through each section. The writing style is casual and friendly so it is much easier to pay attention to what is being said. I could say more but I haven't finished reading yet so... so far so good :)
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on 1 May 2014
I found the book somewhat funny... a collection of 'anecdotes' alphabetically listed. It's neither 'riveting' nor 'boring' as such, but you could have found all the various anecdotes on 'travel' to the internet.
When I buy a book (and £7 is cheap, but not 'free'!), I want to be able to not shy away from displaying it in my library, or lending it to people... For this one, I'll give it a miss. The pages look really 'cheap' (recycled-looking brown pages) and there are a lot of typos that diminish its quality.
It's a 'well, yeah, ok, fine' reaction to this one... Can't really write much more about it (I'm halfway through and read it at night before bed, but cannot get through more than 3 or 4 pages at a time... I'm too sleepy/uninterested to really keep at it for more). Somehow, I'll get through it, but slowly...
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on 18 May 2009
Some bloke teaching English in Japan decides to make some extra cash by writing an A-Z about Japanese culture. A better book could have been written in two weeks.

Get hold of The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan or Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool to actually learn something about modern popular culture in Japan.
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on 22 January 2012
Despite being warned that this book isn't properly formatted I bought it for my kindle as it is a mere 99p! It gives short snappy accounts on a wide range of topics, with a good dose of humour. Great for a quick read on the way to and from work if you have a beginners interest in Japan. As i mentioned before some of the japanese words don't work properly in the kindle format, but for 99p I think these can be overlooked.
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on 22 July 2010
this book is light guide to Japanese culture. Packed with small stories,legends and funny incidents that happened in Japan and everyone there knows about it.Its a good easygoing read. Not much knowledge from it but its nice "time killer" when lm making my way home on tube;))
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