CultureShock! Japan: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette

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Marshall Cavendish, 2008 - Social Science - 286 pages
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CultureShock! Japanwill guide you through the confusion you will inevitably feel when visiting or working in Japan. As with adapting to any new culture, there are numerous things to learn and be aware of. Learn about Japanese culture, the pressure of 'keeping face' and how to bow correctly in two easy steps. Discover the do's and don'ts when dining at someone's home; find out more about Japanese food and learn the art of the Japanese tea ceremony. Also included is practical information to ease your stay. Take note of tips on how to 'bargain' when shopping and what to expect from Japanese herbal medicine. So whether you require information on office etiquette or where to find a hot spring, CultureShock! Japancovers it all, everything to make your cultural transition a pleasurable one.

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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. 

About the author (2008)

Simon Schamais University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University and the prize-winning author of seventeen books, including The Embarrassment of Riches, Citizens, Landscape and Memory, Rembrandt's Eyes, the History of Britaintrilogy and The Story of the Jews. He is a contributing editor of the Financial Timesand his award-winning television work as writer and presenter for the BBC includes the fifteen-part A History of Britainand the eight-part, Emmy-winning Power of Art.

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