Customer Reviews


52 Reviews
5 star:
 (39)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-Read for Every Japan Expat
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...
Published on Feb. 3 2003 by East Podunk

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny, but...
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...
Published on May 10 2002 by K Scheffler


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-Read for Every Japan Expat, Feb. 3 2003
This review is from: Dave Barry Does Japan (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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny, but..., May 10 2002
By 
K Scheffler (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dave Barry Does Japan (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. The argument that the bombs were dropped in order to "save lives" is weak, and does not take into consideration the geo-political developments in July and August, as well as the fact that there were simply people in the United States who wanted to see what an A-Bomb could really do.
Unfortunately, I have a habit of finishing books, no matter how bad, and no matter how long it takes, so finishing this one to the end was like listening to fingernails on a chalkboard the rest of the way (which was fortunately not long). Although by the end my disgust with the Hiroshima chapter wore away somewhat, but it will take a while before I get around to reading another Dave Barry work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frat Boy Travelogue - Why Bother, May 31 1998
This review is from: Dave Barry Does Japan (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Super funny with some real insights, June 11 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Dave Barry Does Japan (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars but this, give it as a gift, April 20 2004
By 
Heidi (Merritt Island, FL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dave Barry Does Japan (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Small pieces of large chunks, March 20 2004
By 
Jim Richards "mr_grumpy" (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dave Barry Does Japan (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Bumbling American in Japan - hilarious!, Jan. 13 2004
This review is from: Dave Barry Does Japan (Paperback)
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 to this day. If you like goofy, slapstick, and can enjoy a 'funny' book without the need for educational, serious, analytics in everything you read, this will be a good choice for you. If you've ever been in Japan, you will be able to relate to most of the stories he tells. I really enjoyed it, bought several copies to give to friends (although I'm not sure that someone who's never been to Japan will get some of the humor) and continue to keep this book as one of my favorites to this day. I'll keep my eyes out for Dave Barry's funny, twisted humor books and articles as we all need a little something to relieve us from the stress of daily life...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars I'm curious what I'd think if I weren't living in Japan, Oct. 9 2003
By 
T. S. Cedars - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dave Barry Does Japan (Paperback)
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.
In a nutshell, I really enjoyed the book and will probably find myself reading it repeatedly, though there were moments when I felt like, "Geeze broaden your horizons a little" Though if the entire book were about how much he loved Japanese culture and couldn't get enough squid, octopus and raw fish complete with eyes, then the book wouldn't be nearly as entertaining.
His final assessment is an astute one. Nobody's perfect. We have a lot to learn and centuries of improvement to affect in the US, but Japan has some wacky hangups too.
I hope you can tell from this review whether or not you'd enjoy the book. It has its gems, but if you're like me, you will find yourself getting tired of his demeanor at certain points. Overall, its worth it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Beware, this will make you a Dave Barry addict, Jan. 24 2003
By 
Jai, The Seeker (Bangalore, India) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dave Barry Does Japan (Paperback)
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. Exposure to Japan will make you enjoy the book more. It brings all things unique to Japan (like punctual trains, neat public facilities, obsession with wrapping, grey suited salary men....) to life in a very humorous canvas.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars could have been better..., Jan. 18 2003
By 
Jonathan R. Wing (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dave Barry Does Japan (Paperback)
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. I saw all his attempts on every page to make us laugh, but I just felt like it simply was not funny. He was just pointing out things that are different, and I did not see how that is supposed to be funny. I am a big fan of Japanese culture & language, but I would not go so far as to say that I was "offended", because I wasn't. In fact, I did think the part he talked about Kanji was pretty good. There was one line in which he said something like experts suggest the best way to speak Japanese is to "be born as a Japanese baby, in Japan, raised by a Japanese family." That was probably the funniest line of the whole book to me, simply because I can totally relate as a student of the language for the past three years. But that alone is not enough to save this book from being one of his worst. The rest of the book he just goes on and on about how different we are. How little he likes sumo and kabuki. It seems more close minded than funny. But, I guess that goes with background theme of the book, "Americans are the best". He didn't directly say that, but it seems that basically he is saying throughout the book that anyone who does not do things like americans are weird and therefore funny. A lot of the comparisons are true, and there are differences between our cultures that are funny, and their use of english is quite amusing (also known as engrish). But how does Barry help make any of that to be any more funny than they are alone, by sprinkling exaggerations and mockeries here and there? I expected much more from Barry, not just a "wow, this place is weird, laugh at it". I don't mind his Bold, Proud American point of view-- I actually find that funny at times because I know many people like that. But it just made him sound stupid, unfocused, and like the best he could do was make fun of that which is so different. Do not read this book if you want to read Dave Barry's REAL WIT! He is just not funny or witty in this book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Dave Barry Does Japan
Dave Barry Does Japan by Dave Barry (Paperback - Sept. 14 1993)
CDN$ 18.00 CDN$ 13.00
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews