Andy in Tokyo

A Gaijin’s Guide to Japan

May 19th 2009
One Comment

For many English-speaking folks looking to spend a few years in Japan two of the most popular routes are the JET programme and the eikaiwa. Both offer sprightly young university graduates the opportunity to immerse themselves in Japanese culture, learn a new language and get wasted on a regular basis. You could also put your mind to writing a book about Japan an’ that, which is exactly what Ben Stevens did and, look, here it is:


Rather than go for your chapter-by-chapter insight into various aspects of life in Japan, Ben’s opted for an A-to-Z of some of the more intriguing customs, people, places and things that westerners may have heard of, such as fugu, salarymen, the yakuza, and even the phenomenon that is/was Cameron Diaz (although I have to admit her shiny gob has been conspicuously absent from Softbank adverts recently).

For the entry on chikan we have a wonderful quote from economic pundit Kazuhide Uekusa, who was accused of molesting a schoolgirl on a train in 2006:

“My hand touched the student when the train rattled and I may have been misunderstood.”

Misunderstood indeed! What did he intend her to “understand”, exactly?

Anyway, A Gaijin’s Guide to Japan is a lively, entertaining read that remains good-natured when explaining obvious targets of frustration for the “The Problem With Japan Is…” crowd. You can get your mitts on it via Amazon or your local high street bookshop. Retail price: £7.99.

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One Response

  1. Marisa says:

    Bought it ^_^
    Reading it now, tee hee

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