Go ni itte wa, go ni shitagae, runs an old Japanese proverb: Obey the customs of the village you enter.
Just don't overdue things.
It may already be too late for Cricket Collins, a recent Ivy League graduate who travels to Osaka for his first real job as an English instructor. The time is late 1970's, with Japan fast becoming the new find-yourself region that India was to the backpack set in the 1960's. From pachinko parlors to paper cranes and tea ceremony to translation problems, everything is entrancing to Cricket at first, as he throws himself headfirst into a two-thousand-year-old culture.
But soon he gets kicked out of his teaching job at Kansai Gakuin for petty theft, and on a brief trip to Korea he gets embroiled in a sexual misadventure with painful after-effects. Spinning slowly out of orbit in his free-floating expat existence, he starts to lose touch with family, friends, and reality. It isn't until he returns home to America that he begins to turn Japanese with a vengeance.
"Turning Japanese" is as much about the allure of a foreign culture as it is about the divided existence of an expatirate -- and the terrors of one's own mind. Be careful of breaking down the barriers between two cultures: the breakdown you create may be your own.
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Review: Turning JapaneseUser Review - Before - Goodreads
It was hard not to be ambivalent about this story. On the one hand I was happy for the tiny snippets of Japanese culture. On the other, Cricket and the other ex-patriates are not very compelling ... Read full review
Review: Turning JapaneseUser Review - Julie - Goodreads
I started this book, but put it aside and am not planning on finishing it. It just wasn't compelling enough to finish. Actually, I thought this was non-fiction when I put it on my list-maybe then it would have had a ring of truth to it. Read full review