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VINE VOICEon 28 July 2009
As other reviewers have pointed out, and by my own experience living in Japan, it is almost impossible to garner a totally accurate perspective on things of this nature from a book.

The only way you will ever have a true understanding, is to live amongst the Japanese. With that said, this book provides a pretty fair general introduction to the customs and etiquette of Japan.

Chapters include:

Customs/Traditions
History/Background
The Japanese at Home
Leisure/Social
Eating/Drinking
Dos/Dont's/Taboos
Business
Communication

Most books like this are written entirely for the businessperson who knows nothing about Japan, and doesn't want to offend his host, and this is no exception, providing more attention to swapping business cards and board-room no-no's than is really necessary.

Nevertheless there are some interesting bits on the history and values of Japan, if you're moving to the country, or planning on traveling there, I recommend this book, but just be polite and friendly is really all the advice you need, the Japanese don't expect foreigners to know about any of their customs, but are naturally impressed if you do!
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This book is a short, yet thoroughly fascinating look at the etiquette and cultural conventions of Japan. It is invaluable if you intend to visit Japan and don't wish to commit a social faux pas, but is also interesting to read in it's own right.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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on 22 September 2013
I recently went on a trip to Japan, I found this book very informative, it fits nicely in you back pocket, I highly recommend it
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on 31 May 2009
I was really looking forward to taking delivery of this book since it seemed to promise so much and I have, on the whole, enjoyed reading it. However I doubt I've learned anything more than I would from a good travel guide and it seemed to be mainly aimed at the businessperson. My main issue with this book are the sweeping generalisations it offers as the 'way things are' and putting ideas forward that it suggests are uniquely Japanese. For example, p42 'Face'. To paraphrase, the Japanese don't like to lose face, be embarrassed, lose prestige or worse, be shamed. Well, Westerners don't either, Brits certainly don't! It suggests that everything should be done to avoid causing embarrassing situations or ones that may cause loss of face for a Japanese person. Isn't this just the same in the UK? Page 43 has a section on tatemai (public persona) and honne (private persona) suggesting the Japanese have these characteristics and this my explain some of their perplexing behaviour. I think every Westerner would say they are just the same-the way we behave at work with our colleagues is not the same way in which we behave in the privacy of our own homes. Thus another generalisation that just doesn't hold water. I spotted a couple of inaccuracies and vagaries too which suggest there may be many more: the diakon is not the source of wasabi powder as stated, suggestions that a rice bowl can be held up in one hand when eating from it but not stating that it may not be polite to hold it up to the mouth 'Chinese' style but just up to chest level, two highlight just two.

In conclusion, this is well written and does have the odd piece of information that is useful and interesting. But I suspect its nothing exceptional and that more complete information may be obtained from ordinary travel guides.
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on 5 March 2015
A short introduction to Japanese culture and mentality. It is packed with many essential info, well written and printed in a lovely edition.
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on 12 December 2015
Very interesting to read and a compacted book.
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on 25 June 2015
Great thanks
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