Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Private Limited, 2008 - Social Science - 286 pages
With over three million copies in print, CultureShock! is a bestselling series of culture and etiquette guides covering countless destinations around the world. For anyone at risk of culture shock, whether a tourist or a long-term resident, CultureShock! provides a sympathetic and fun-filled crash course on the do's and don'ts in foreign cultures. Fully updated and sporting a fresh new look, the revised editions of these books enlighten and inform through such topics as language, food and entertaining, social customs, festivals, relationships, and business tips. CultureShock! books are packed with useful details on transportation, taxes, finances, accommodation, health, food and drink, clothes, shopping, festivals, and much, much more.
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This book is an entertaining read because of the author's amusing anecdotes lining almost every page. But I wouldn't want to read this book if I were someone considering a first-time trip to Japan, let alone moving to the country, as I might be discouraged from doing so altogether. Although the author provides a lot of useful and practical information, he seems hell-bent on illustrating that Japan is an utterly backwards country, and that a visitor from a "more sensible" Western nation will be barraged with all sorts of dangers, traps, pitfalls, and absurdities from the moment he/she sets foot in Japan. It is clear that a lot of his discussions reflect his own personal opinions and individual experiences, which he generalizes to the whole country by repeatedly saying things like, "that in a nutshell, is Japan" or " well, that's just Japan" when writing about issues that he found frustrating or complicated. The author does provides plenty of helpful warnings about potential difficulties a foreign visitor may encounter; however, he clearly sacrifices presenting an unbiased viewpoint for the sake of wittiness and humor, and many of his remarks reek of plain arrogance and insensitivity.