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Dave Barry Does Japan [Audiobook, CD] [Audio CD]

Dave Barry , Arte Johnson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 2008
Barry samples Japan's native cuisine ("things that have eyeballs or suckers or other flagrantly unacceptable organs still attached to them"); experiences the agonies of Kabuki and the ecstasies of karaoke; takes his first (and last) bath in public; and explores culture shock in all its humorous forms.

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Product Description

From Amazon

Is this comedic tour of Japan discreet, tasteful, or politically correct? The answer, thank god, is Naaah! Yet Dave Barry's travelogue never grows mean-spirited, and he's always ready to laugh at his own country--and by extension, himself. An example: "I understand that, even if two Japanese have worked together for many years, neither would dream of using the other's first name. Whereas Americans are on a first-name basis immediately, and by the end of the first day have generally graduated to 'Yo, Butthead!'" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

A first-class all-expenses-paid three-week vacation in Japan, underwritten by his publisher, provides Miami Herald columnist and humorist Barry with material for some tired gags about language problems, kowtowing, eating and other quick-take visitor befuddlements in the land of the rising sun. Dutifully covering the standard tourist attractions, including Hiroshima, Mount Fiji and the pearl factories, he presents himself as a sort of Everyman-in-Japan-for-the-first-time, fueling his jokes with his ignorance of the language, history and culture. Although much of the humor is strained or tasteless, on occasion readers can laugh without embarrassment. Nevertheless this made-to-order book will likely find a made-to-order audience among fans of such previous titles as Dave Barry Slept Here.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-Read for Every Japan Expat Feb. 3 2003
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny, but... May 10 2002
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
2.0 out of 5 stars Frat Boy Travelogue - Why Bother May 31 1998
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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I have found myself on a recent binge of amazon.com review writing that stems from days where I don't have to teach class. So to occupy myself when I should be teaching English, I write reviews. Today, I finished Dave Barry Does Japan, and I decided to add my two cents to the other 50 reviews.
I started off enjoying this book a great deal. And I finished the book enjoying it a great deal. And I highly suggest it for anyone living in Japan or anyone who's remotely interested in travel. Its hilarious. The best moment for me was Chapter 2. I shared this chapter with the English Club I teach once a week and it was refreshing to find that the Japanese are also befuddled by the "Elevator Ladies."
3 Weeks in a place where you've suddenly stepped off of the plane and become illiterate can be extremely alienating, and Dave Barry has done the best to exemplify that alienation. I have read enough complaints from people living in Japan; Barry was refreshingly funny. Definitely a good read if you want to wallow in a spirit of I-Hate-Japan.
I was nearly in tears while reading about becoming accustomed to bowing. And his assesment of Japanese driving is right on the money.
In a country where you shouldn't stick out, I got quite the number of stares from my coworkers as I laughed out loud.
Then there's the Hiroshima chapter, which is definitely a step into a different book. I paid particular attention to it as I am taking a trip to Hiroshima this weekend. I agree with his assessment of August 5 becoming like Memorial Day, though other reviewers have made comments about his rant about "WHY" so I will leave that alone. It definitely ruined what was shaping up to be a five-star review.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Super funny with some real insights
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... Read more
Published on June 11 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Idiotic, embarrassing, did I mention �idiotic�?
The publisher's blurb claims that this "funny" book is not mean spirited, yet its author's attempt at humour is at the expense of sacred, centuries-old Japanese tradition... Read more
Published on May 13 2004 by D. N Rioux
5.0 out of 5 stars but this, give it as a gift
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.
Published on April 20 2004 by Heidi
5.0 out of 5 stars Small pieces of large chunks
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... Read more
Published on March 20 2004 by Jim Richards
5.0 out of 5 stars Bumbling American in Japan - hilarious!
I came across this book while in Japan ten years ago. I started laughing out loud in the bookstore, continued laughing, while reading on the train ride back, and continue laughing... Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2004 by Inci Kaya
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware, this will make you a Dave Barry addict
I purchased this book on impulse and it was enough to get me hooked to this guy. The book was written a little while ago, it still holds true. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2003 by Jai, The Seeker
2.0 out of 5 stars could have been better...
I am a huge Dave Barry fan, but I agree with a few of the others here-- his sharp wit is definitely missing from this one. It just didn't make me laugh. Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2003 by Jonathan R. Wing
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Funny Look at a Foreign Culture
This book was a gas. My favorite part was the part that compared the American to Japanese auto industry. Anyone who finds this book 'ethnocentric' or offensive is just sad. Read more
Published on April 6 2002 by John Doe
2.0 out of 5 stars Being ethnocentric is funny. Ha ha.
...P>Don't get me wrong - I'm big fan of Mr. Barry's: I think I've managed to read most of his published works and generally found myself laughing through most of them. Read more
Published on March 26 2002 by Robert H Hori
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, short and irreverent look at Japan
This book kept popping up on my recommendations, and I finally gave in and bought it. I have recently been wading through a series of Japan-orientated intercultural texts, and... Read more
Published on Jan. 25 2002 by Zack Davisson
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