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on 17 October 2012
It's a shame in a way that the title of this book involves the word 'geek' - while it's true to the author and the name of his blog, it might alienate potential readers who think the focus will be on manga and video games. In reality, this is a beautifully presented, high quality book which covers pretty much any aspect of Japan you might be interested in - not just the geeky bits! I'm most interested in pop culture, fashion and language but I found the sections on history and traditional arts interesting too. It's not encyclopaedic nor does it attempt to be, but is still surprisingly in depth.

It's unfortunately a little let down by poor editing. Sometimes Japanese words are used with no definition (e.g. 'daimo' on page 17), people are discussed without introduction (e.g. Takahiro, page 17) and there are a few grammatical and spelling errors (e.g. 'next-door', My Neighbour Tottoro).

These errors aside, it's a very enjoyable, well researched book that will get you interested in learning more about the country and its culture.
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A Geek in Japan is an interesting and insightful guide to all who are fascinated by the Japan and its culture.

The book covers aspects of Japan that might be familiar to most, such as manga, anime, and also deeper subjects such as their working environment, society views, practices and more. There are many little nuggets of information in each chapter, such as riding the subway, why people wear face mask,preparing tea, and even a brief travel section.

The best part of the book is the text that explains why Japanese behave the way they do. E.g. The low crime rate, hard workers, employees who typically stay at a single company their whole life, after office hours interaction, family dynamics, the meticulous nature of people, etc. Once you understand that, you sort of get the context to the bigger picture to their society.

I'm not sure how accurate the text is, but several reviews on Amazon commented on that. I guess you have to understand that this is written from the view of a foreigner staying in Japan not for the purpose of studying the country. What's written mostly are based on observation.

The book would have been even better, more insightful with proofreading and commentary from actual Japanese people, because there are times where I go "Is this for real?".

Author Hector Garcia has packed a bit of everything to make it an enjoyable read. I was captivated enough to finish reading in one sitting.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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on 16 July 2016
This is perfect if you, like me, have a friend obsessed with Japan (or harbour an obsession of all hint Japanese yourself).

Over 100 pages long, this book is am excellent mix of intriguing, well styled text and gorgeous, vibrant pictures. There is a variety of ways within the book in which the pages are,laid out, meaning that whether you at looking for a quick read or a long sit, the book has it all. I was also amazed at the variety of subjects within the book, especially as some of the reviews mention wanting more for their money. However, from what I have seen if this book, it ticks all the boxes. Focusing on all aspects of Japanese life and culture: tea ceremonies, language, kanje (excuse the spelling), the way of the samurai, myths and legends, colloquialisms, anime and manga, and places to see in Japan to name but a few, this book covers anything you could ever hope to know about Japan. So, whether you are planning a trip there, or simply wish to know more about Japanese culture, this is the book for you!
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on 1 May 2014
Fab book, very interesting and has whet my appetite for my trip later this year!
Only negative comment is about the delivery, communication was great, I received specifics about when it was coming, could change delivery day & time to ensure I was home, I got the name of the delivery driver, and what number delivery I was that day, I could track where he was and what number delivery he'd reached... Sounds amazing yeah? Sadly he didn't bother ringing my doorbell, I was home waiting for my two books to be delivered, checking online when he was late only to see that he'd been unable to deliver?! I went to the front porch to find a card saying he'd left my cardboard parcel of books outside my back door for some reason! What was the point of me rearranging the day to ensure I was home if it didn't matter?!?!
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on 9 August 2014
There's nothing exactly wrong with this book. If you've never been to Japan and have only the most basic understanding of its culture, I can see how it might provide some help. However, if you have anything more than the most superficial knowledge of the country, I fail to see how it could be remotely interesting.

There is nothing in this book that wouldn't be covered by the most simplistic guide books or the quickest internet search. The author has no particular expertise in any one area and all his information could be easily taken from the slightest skimming of a few pamphlets during a two week visit to the country.

His personal insights are also ludicrously simplistic. He often begins sentences with, "The Japanese really like..." or "Japanese people are..." followed by the most derivative stereotypes.

I am by no means an expert on Japan, but I found myself labouring through this in the hope of finding something I didn't know already and coming up empty handed.

For a far better perspective on modern Japan, try Bending Adversity by David Pilling, and for a more authentic look at today's Japanese culture, just watch some anime and read some novels by Japanese writers.
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on 10 November 2012
I bought this book wanting to gain a further interest in Japan, its people and its culture. It has done exactly that! It's extremely informative and does it in a fun and easily accessible way. It gives you enough information to feel satisfied with the book, however, leaves you wanting to find out more and further your interest Japan. Having never been to Japan I found it fascinating and made me want to go. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to travel to Japan or just generally interested in Japan or knows little about the country. Well worth a read! It's not an academic book and there is much opinion throughout, however, its a book based on the author experience and travels through Japan and what he has learnt. All the information and opinions are well structured and gives a well balanced view of his findings.
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on 24 February 2018
I bought this book because I hoped to get an introduction to Japanese geek culture - which is what the title suggests. Unfortunately this aspect is only covered in a relatively small part of the book - however, I was not disappointed, as I got a really excellent overview of different aspects of Japanese culture, each well written and with numerous pictures. Definitely worth the money! :-)
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on 15 August 2015
Excellent book to read either before a trip to Japan or if you have a general interest in the country. It gives you so much information about the countrys history and philosophy and how that's evolved into the culture and subcultures they have today. This has hopefully given me a good understanding of what to expect when I go in a few months time and how I can act respectfully. Also has a large section on Tokyo and some tips for traveling around the country and interesting places to go. I would highly recommend.
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on 29 July 2012
As a confirmed Japanophile, I am always drawn to any media products to do with the country. Despite my pre-disposition to find this book interesting, it exceeded my expectations enormously. Having lived there just under two years I thought that I knew a fair bit about the culture, but I learnt a lot through Hector Garcia's astute choice of topics and quite honestly, this is the book I wish I had written while I was there. It is packed full of information - great value for money, a lot of illustrations, pictures and insightful explanations and observations on the culture and Japanese people, I cannot recommend it enough. I look forward to reading anything else by this author and I have thoroughly enjoyed this book!
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on 1 February 2013
First let me start off by saying I've been to Japan a couple times, studied the language for 3 1/2 years, have a massive interest in Japanese arts and have many Japanese friends. Yet, this book has taught me more about aspects about Japanese culture then my real life experiences there. It's super insightful and honest. When you go over to Japan with these huge expectations that everything is going to be like a bed of roses boy do you get a wake up call and García totally gets this. Now I can look back and see why people behaved the way they did, what was the meaning behind their behaviour and the society as a whole. It was really refreshing. And I learnt so much more not only about Japanese behaviour and the economy but also the history of manga, anime, j-pop and so on. I really enjoyed reading about the different fashion styles. Just wished it was a bit longer.

Needless to say I'm going to be using this book when I plan my next visit to Japan!
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