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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Phoenix Audio; Unabridged edition (April 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597778567
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597778565
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 13 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,096,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
My first impressions of the Japanese came from watching them act like raving homicidal maniacs on television. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By East Podunk on Feb. 3 2003
Format: Paperback
I laughed so hard that tears were running down my face.
What was so funny?
Dave Barry's ability to be so incredibly insightful with his own reactions to very common situations in Japan (but more specifically, Tokyo and big city life) and then compare and contrast them with "the American Way of Doing Things".
I've lived in Tokyo for more than 3 years, but I'm not new to living "overseas" so it wasn't the un-Americanness that grabbed me, although I can appreciate it; I haven't lived in America since 1985. Dave describes in detail most Westerner's first reactions to Japan, whether they know it or not themselves or admit to it. His observations were my own and had been sitting dormant in my mind until I read his book upon which I howled with acknowledgement (what is the love affair with corn all about anyways; corn chowder at McDonald's?)
I love living in Japan; the people are kind and honest (ok, politicians in every country are crooked), it's safe (6 year-old kids run around by themselves even in Tokyo!), the food is wonderful and Tokyo is ugly as sin, but never, ever boring.
Many Kanji (Chinese ideograms) are finally looking less like Dave's chicken scratch to me, I know that even taxi drivers have trouble finding some places, it's second nature to slurp my ramen and I less often have to feel like an anxious dog looking for something familiar/train station name as I ride the trains.
But...I will always feel like a large white waterbuffalo lumbering down the streets here (most of my Japanese friends wear size 0 or 00 jeans!).
My only question is, how did he get the picture so accurately in only 2 weeks!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K Scheffler on May 10 2002
Format: Paperback
This is my first Dave Barry encounter, and for the most part I have to say that I found him quite amusing. There were, however, several instances when I thought that maybe he went a little too far, and then came the chapter on Hiroshima. This chapter is preceeded and followed by a leaf printed darker which obviously is intended to indicate that the book is going to get serious for a moment. I was curious to read what his thoughts were, what the reactions of a comedian--an American comedian--would be to what he experiences. He writes the following about his visit to the memorial museum in Hiroshima:
"I found myself weeping, out of sorrow and helplessness and guilt. But I also felt anger. Because the way the museum presents it, the atomic bomb was like a lightning bolt--something nobody could forsee, and nobody could prevent. It was as though one day, for no reason, the Americans came along, literally out of the blue, and did this horrible thing to these innocent people.
"I don't know if it's possible to justify what happened to Hiroshima--I certainly wouldn't try to justify it to the victims' families. But I found myself wanting to shout to the other museum visitors: Do you know WHY my country did this? Do you wonder what would make a civilized country do such a thing?"
This is the point where I really lost interest in the book. Sure, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it is quite evident that Dave Barry just does not get it when it comes to this matter. Yes, why, indeed, would a "civilized" country do such a thing? Certainly because it had no other choice, because they were forced to do so by the knowledge that were the Americans to invade Japan itself, it would actually face resistence from millions of civilians--something the Americans would themselves do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rayhnyc@emedia.net on May 31 1998
Format: Paperback
About as funny as hanging with some "Ugly American" Frat boys on your first trip abroad. You know, the kind that just can't get over that the French use mayonnaise on Pommes Frites and that the beaches are topless ("Boy, these people are WILD!") .
Barry does use Japan to take a hard look at American values and attitudes and the book does succeed there. But, he totally misses the Japanese spirit, mocking Shinto Temples as places too boring for him, and Sumo as nothing more than a bunch of naked fat guys wrestling (its not: its built on centuries of tradition and involves nuances and martial arts techniques lost on Barry).
And food? He spends the whole trip in Japan -- a country with a rich culinary tradition --eating nothing but KFC and Pizza and mocking the rest. Hee Hee, Ha Ha.
There is humor in Japan, but not in this Book. I only hope its never translated into Japanese. Its an embarrassment.
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By A Customer on June 11 2004
Format: Paperback
THis is super funny, I read it in 2 sittings.
I lived in Japan for about 2 years when I was teaching English and I can tell you that this is a funny, accuarate description from an outsiders perspective. Often he is not exaggerating.
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Format: Paperback
This is the funniest book ever. A true pick-me-up and a fun family favorite. I love Dave Barry's views and respect for the Japanese culture.
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Format: Paperback
Dave Barry spent 3 weeks in Japan. The end result is this book. I did like it very much though. The experiences he writes about are indicative of what those who live here have to deal with each and every day.
He takes the view, as most middle aged Americans do, of ignorance. And it is this ignorance that drives the humor. It could be said to be the complete opposite to Alex Kerr's Lost Japan. He readily admits to the ignorance, and tries to understand.
I did feel that a little more research, or perhaps any research could have made the stories a lot funnier. But for those who haven't been to Japan, or have recently arrived it is a good start at taking everything you see with a dose of humour.
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