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1. Lonely Planet Japan
2. Japan (Eyewitness Travel Guides)
3. Etiquette Guide to Japan: Know
4. Frommer's Japan (Frommer's Complete)
5. A Modern History of Japan: From
6. Japan Ai: A Tall Girl's Adventures
7. Pink Box: Inside Japan's Sex Clubs
8. A Year in Japan
9. Japan Atlas: A Bilingual Guide
10. A History of Japan
11. Japan at War: An Oral History
12. The Cutting Edge: Fashion from
13. Fodor's Japan, 18th Edition (Fodor's
14. Japan Rising: The Resurgence of
15. The Way We Do It in Japan
16. Japan - Culture Smart!: a quick
17. Japan Style: Architecture+Interiors+Design
18. Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand
19. A Photographic Guide to the Birds
20. Bad Girls of Japan

1. Lonely Planet Japan
by Chris Rowthorn, Ray Bartlett, Andrew Bender, Michael Clark, Matthew D. Firestone
Paperback: 868 Pages (2007-10-18)
list price: US$28.99 -- used & new: US$17.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 174104667X
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Book Description
Discover Japan

Dodge flying fish at the world's greatest sashimi market, p. 132
Find yourself spirited away to Miyazaki's museum of anime, p. 141
Master the perfect double-clap and bow for your first shrine visit,p.56
Earn your keep in a Buddhist temple, p. 417

In This Guide:

Japan resident authors, 343 days of research, 120 detailed maps, threegeisha sightings
You asked for it, we researched it - everything you need to know aboutonsen (hot springs) and skiing and more language assistance than ever
Cost-saving tips even the locals don't know ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Still a great reference for Japan.
For years, Lonely Planet's Japan guide has been the benchmark among the many books available on the trendiest country in East Asia. The latest edition of their Japan guide continues to provide the high quality their readers have come to expect.

High points of this edition include:

- LP's authors seem to have found something to do in nearly every corner of Japan. While I still believe that to enjoy Japan best you must find your own places to enjoy - not just the ones within walking distance of a Starbucks - LP will help keep you from getting lost as you make your way from the train station to the twice-daily bus on the way to the Onsen In The Middle Of Nowhere (and if there is a Starbucks nearby that onsen, they'll tell you about that, too).

It's especially helpful that they list smaller diversions like the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum right along side of more famous attractions such as Yokohama's Chinatown - these are very helpful for people with a couple of hours to burn while they wait for their train.

- Restaurant suggestions. I don't use LP's restaurant choices religiously, but they are extremely helpful if you're unused to Japanese food (or with someone new to it); LP lists everything from high-end kaiseki restaurants to railway-station ramen stands to chain izakaya (pubs) with English menus - the last are an excellent way to try out different types of Japanese food without the guesswork.

-Lodging. LP shines here in their recommendations of ryokan (Japanese style-inns) and minshuku (pensions), most of which don't appear on Expedia or even Japanese-language websites. These are great places to enjoy real Japanese hospitality, and LP knows which ones are welcoming to foreigners, which have the best food, and which have the best onsen (hot springs).

-Japanese text. I can't emphasize this enough - it's absolutely critical to have Japanese translations of city names, train stations, attractions, and other important locations (hospitals, anyone?) written in Japanese as well as English. If you speak little or no Japanese, the text not only helps you read most signs outside of the major metro areas, it helps you to ask for directions, navigate restaurant menus, and maybe even learn some kanji.

Here are a few things I took issue with in this edition:

-Inaccurate transportation information. Don't worry, LP is generally reliable throughout the book and won't steer you wrong. The problem is what gets left out, particularly in the airport transportation category. For example, nobody bothers to tell you that Keikyu Railways provides service to Haneda Airport from Shinagawa for less money and in a shorter time than the Tokyo Monorail, which is silly because the last edition of the guide didn't make this mistake.

LP also heartily recommends taking the Keisei tokkyu limited express service from Narita Airport instead of the all-reserved Skyliner. Don't even *think* about this if you have heavy baggage or are unused to crowds in Japan. The tokkyu is a commuter train and you'll be riding with several hundred close (literally) Japanese friends by the time you reach Ueno.

-Toyoko Inn. LP directs budget travelers to this chain of cookie-cutter business hotels several times in this edition. Although Toyoko Inn is very popular among foreign travelers in Japan because of their English website and free rice-ball breakfasts, the chain is often more expensive than hotels with better service. Toyoko Inn's "Flintstones-tech" beds (my term) are my archenemy after repeatedly messing up my back. Do yourself a favor and make reservations at Toyoko's rival, Route Inn. Route Inn hotels have a free full breakfast for those who book online, often include a free onsen in the hotel, have more comfortable beds than Toyoko, and have rates that are often lower.

In addition, Tokyu Hotels, Sunroute Hotels, Solare Hotels, Washington Hotels, and other business hotel chains have English websites that deserve your attention before Toyoko.

-The "Safety" section lists what to do in case of fire and earthquake, but doesn't mention typhoons. Although most modern Japanese buildings are safe refuges in a typhoon, LP ought to devote at least a paragraph to safety precautions to take if you get stuck in a city in a typhoon's path - and several hit Japan every summer and fall.

-LP's traditional wittiness is lessened somewhat as their writers turn over. Last edition's clever description of active volcano Sakurajima was: "Looming over Kagoshima is the brooding cone of this decidedly hyperactive volcano." The new authors call it "frisky." Say it with a knowing smile, folks: "Frisky" does not go in the same sentence as "volcano."

Although again there isn't a overwhelming amount of new information in this book, LP's guide fits into the travel plans of just about anyone: Hardcore backpackers, exchange students, couples and even business travelers will all find the something useful in the guide for them.

As always, the LP guide remains your best bet for exploring Japan.

3-0 out of 5 stars Lonely Planet Japan
THe book has a lot of information, it covers everything you will need to do in Japan.I stayed at the Washington hotel in Sujuku, Tokyo, a great location and a nice quiet, clean and efficient room.

I DID NOT like the layout of the book.It was difficult to find things to refer back as a reference.THey are not listed in a logical order, some under activities, some under sights and not much of anything listed under the index.So, if I am trying to find a sight that I remember was mentioned in the book, chances are, it would not be in the index and I would have to sift through the pages and guess where the location was or, use a lot of bookmarks for easy refererence.

Also, the location of the sight is not clearly marked.This can be a problem since Tokyo's train stations are so large, without specifics, you may get off at the site and wander around until you can find someone who speaks English and is willing to help, not always easy.

3-0 out of 5 stars Competent enough
This is a perfectly fine book that give you a comprehensive overview of Japan and will help you get where you want to go.It does a decent enough job of preparing you for behaving yourself as a foreigner in this wonderful but nuanced country.I used this book on my recent trip to Hokkaido and I found coverage to be a little thin, but I think the aim of this book is to cover the major attractions and give you an overview of each region.It is a large country with a tremendous amount of cool things to see and do, which could result in a giant tome of a book.I think they could easily publish a title for each island and possibly each region, much as one might want a detailed guide book for each American state or Canadian province.

I ended up doing a lot of detailed research on the internet, copying and pasting Japanese words for things when I could, which gave better results.I managed to make an onsen reservation this way at what turned out to be Noboribetsu, a well-known area covered in the book, but at a Ryokan not found in the book.I found the accommodation listings of the book to be pretty sparse.Again, it'll get the job done but there is so much more to discover on your own.In a way this is a good thing, as discovery is one of the best parts of traveling, and many LP readers have encountered the "LP convergence zone" or "backpacker areas" of major world destinations, where you end up surrounded by a bunch of LP-reading Australians. At the end of the day, there are not a ton of english-language resources to finding the more obscure nooks and crannies of this country.

Bottom line is that this book is a useful guide that will get the job done.I did not use it for restaurant of night life recommendations, Japan is just chock a block with amazing food everywhere you go, you can pretty much just trust your instincts.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good information, However...
Lots of good information in this book. However I did find that the size wasannoying to carry around. I recently took a trip to Tokyo and I felt that if I could just the useful phrases out it would've been more useful. Perhaps I should've grabbed the Tokyo only version of the book. I plan on visiting the rest of Japan so I wanted to have that information too so I guess thats my fault. If you are JUST going to Tokyo get the Tokyo only book duh. :)

4-0 out of 5 stars A decent guide to Japan
I purchased this 10th edition after being quite disappointed with an older edition (6th or 7th) when traveling Tohoku region by car in September 2007with my husband.This edition does a much better job in providing enthusiastic, first-hand account about the region beyond the beaten path like Tokyo and Kyoto, which is a quality that I look forward for from the LP series in general.I am happy that we've upgraded the book for our upcoming Shikoku trip.

Giving 4 stars, because, as a native Japanese speaker, I feel that the book still has a room for improvement (for example, I feel that there are other activities beyond skiing that are great and more unique in Japan). ... Read more

2. Japan (Eyewitness Travel Guides)
by DK Publishing
Paperback: 416 Pages (2007-08-20)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$13.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756628768
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Book Description
The guide that shows you what other travel books only tell you!

If you are planning a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, make sure you don't leave home without DK's Eyewitness Travel Guide: Japan. All aspects of modern Japan, as well as its history, art and ancient traditions are explained through informative text and spectacular photographs and illustrations. Learn about Japanese history and culture, and experience the exotic cuisine and entertainment. Over 800 full-color photographs, street-by-street maps, and aerial 3-D cutaways highlight all of Japan's major attractions. Japan's enormous variety in landscape (from near arctic in the north to sub-tropical in the south) comes to life like no other guide. Whether in Tokyo, Kyoto, Okinawa, Honshu, or Hokkaido this is the ultimate resource for all points of interest. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars Book Review
This series is simply one of the best travel guide series around today. I have used at least 10 other guides from this same series and have found them to be comprehensive, easy to use and up-to-date. You cannot go wrong with this book and some internet web research. Definitely worth every penny and then some.

5-0 out of 5 stars Japan by DK Eyewitness Travel
I love this book. I looked at several other books, but they were not up-to-date. This is a great book for anyone planning to visit Japan. It is arranged by geographical district and has beautiful maps and/or pictures on every page. It is extremely informative and no matter what you want to know, you will probably find it in this book. I'm now using the book to document my photographs taken in various areas of Japan. The only drawback to this book is that, because of all the pictures and maps, it's printed on glossy paper and is quite heavy. I took it with me every day on a Japan tour, but kept it in my carry-on for reference. I found it too heavy to carry in my purse while walking on a tour.

5-0 out of 5 stars Everything You Need For A Japenese Guide Book
If you're going to Japan I recommend this book for 95% of your travelling pleasure and information. It may not have EVERYTHING about Japan or be as detailed as other guides, but the true point of a guide is to be concise and accurate.

It's not too large so that you're carrying around a dictionary which hurts to walk with; makes you embarrassed to show; or vividly display's to the country that you're a tourist. It's not too small that you have to squint to read; is easy to lose; or hard to find the information you require.

The layout is precise, colourful, and common-in-sense. The chapters each have an apparent colour and mark a different region of Japan. Within each region are the major cities present plus some notable other areas (eg: Hot Springs, Mountains, and Beaches). There are plenty of pictures, diagrams, charts, important information sheets, etc, throughout the book. (eg: each region has a breakdown map of cities/notable places).Within the major cities, there are landmarks, attractions, and neat notable nooks mentioned throughout. Everything is followed by an appropriately concise paragraph. This is how it should be to me: A brief description of what you are going to see so that you do not have your nose buried in the book when you should be viewing the sites and yet still have a background to what you are viewing.

I think every guide book should have many pictures, maps, etc, so that you can help visually reference yourself, which you will need to do in Japan. There is so much packed together in this country that it's easy to get lost. There are pictures literally on almost every page of this book, which provide excellent landmarks for your travels. The maps are not overwhelming; they only display the required information.

I obtained 15+ guide books and maps during my travel to Japan, however this one book was the reference I carried with me everywhere I went. Until you tour Japan often you are going to want a book like this one for everywhere you go.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good guide!
This book is filled with good general travel info. There is so much to see in this amazing country, you could fill volumes, but this book is filled with enough usable info to get you to some great sites. When searching for a travel book on Japan, this is the one I chose and it was a good choice.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book !!
I recently bought this book and went to Japan for 7 days and thought overall that this is an excellent book. The survival guide is a must read and covers a LOT of stuff.

I used certain places mentioned in the book about Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo.
I could easily figure out what I wanted to do and what NOT to do.

As with any travel book, you should get a detailed brochure when you actually get to the place of interest. This book is very good at giving an overall picture of the place.
Highly recommended. ... Read more

3. Etiquette Guide to Japan: Know the Rules...that Make the Difference
by Boye De Mente
Paperback: 136 Pages (2001-08)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$6.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0804834172
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Book Description
Etiquette Guide to Japan offers an inside look at the social norms of the Japanese-when to bow, how to propose a toast, when to pay the bill, the careful art of gift-giving, how to deal with public transportation, dating, weddings, funerals, and last, but not least, how to say good-bye at the end of your stay. If you want to save yourself from possible embarrassment during your stay in Japan, you will find the Etiquette Guide to Japan to be a much-needed companion. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Be prepared before you go!
My daughter was going to Japan to spend several weeks with her boyfriends family.I figured she needed some help in the subtle manners that would prepare her to be the best guest she could.It makes for great reading on a long flight! She felt that there were many bits of information that really helped her. Going to Japan with a local is extremely advantagous, but sometimes they forget the details.Lots of good info.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent for students and businessman alike
excellent advice for anybody that is going to Japan and doesn't want to offend their local hosts or friends.

5-0 out of 5 stars Better work on your bow!
In Japan, as visiting foreigners keep discovering -- if they're paying proper attention -- "etiquette" means a great deal more than simply knowing which knife and fork to use. (Or, in this case, what not to do with your chopsticks.) Japan has been a deeply and subtly ritualized and mannered society for millennia, and even with the postwar easing of some rituals and the introduction and acceptance of certain Westernisms -- and even though the Japanese are generally tolerant of minor faux pas on the part on non-Japanese -- the foreign visitor still needs to be very aware of the expectations of those around him. However, this book is also an excellent source for the non-visitor who simply has an interest in Japanese society and culture. The author has been both a periodic resident and been otherwise closely involved with Japan for going on six decades, and he's also a very observant and thoughtful writer, which makes him an ideal guide for the westerner on all things Japanese. He not only tells you what to do, what not to do, and what you can get away with, he provides the historical background, the psychological rationalization, which not even some Japanese are really aware of. This will help you to extrapolate your behavior in other situations, and will assist you toward an understanding of why the Japanese are the way they are. Those shallow-thinkers who consider the Japanese simply "inscrutable," alien, and beyond American understanding should definitely read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great
I ordered this book for my grandaughter who was moving to Okinawa.She said that it really helped her have an understanding of the culture etc.

3-0 out of 5 stars Japan Travel guide
While this book was interesting, it was not essential. When traveling to Japan it is important to study their etiquette, however most good travel books do as well. ... Read more

4. Frommer's Japan (Frommer's Complete)
by Beth Reiber
Paperback: 672 Pages (2006-08-07)
list price: US$24.99 -- used & new: US$13.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471763918
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Book Description
Experience a place the way the locals do. Enjoy the best it has to offer. Frommer's. The best trips start here.
* Insider tips on the best Japanese culinary experiences, from indulging in an exquisite kaiseki feast to plucking plates off a conveyor belt at a kaiten sushi shop.
* Outspoken opinions on what's worth your time and what's not.
* Exact prices, so you can plan the perfect trip whatever your budget.
* Off-the-beaten-path experiences and undiscovered gems, plus new takes on top attractions.

Find great deals and book your trip at Frommers.com ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

2-0 out of 5 stars Bulky and unillustrated
I had high hopes for this guide given Frommer's reputation for quality guidebooks that are slightly more upmarket than Lonely Planet.But, the paper quality is like cheap paperbacks in checkout aisles, there are no illustations/photographs, and the writers insert too much of their personality and preferences in the writing (at times the guide reads like a feminist critique of Japan).And there are few maps, which were difficult to read (colors would have been nice).

3-0 out of 5 stars Purchase city travel guides instead
I bought this book because we were traveling to Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.I wish the Kyoto section had more detail, which is why I wish I would have purchased a city specific Tokyo and Kyoto guides separately.Books can get bulky on a trip, but I feel as if I missed a lot buying a Japan only book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Always good info from Frommers
I have used Frommer's books for many years as travel guides and they are always very helpful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Informative
Comparing this book with information we received from the Japanese travel agent was nearly identical.

5-0 out of 5 stars Everything for Japan Travel
Frommer's Japan is amazingly detailed and very current. It has everything you need to travel in Japan whether you are a student or a business person. I appreciate the details, but the hotel details are almost too much. Good itineraries, good sites-to-see advice, and good sense of essentials! ... Read more

5. A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present
by Andrew Gordon
Paperback: 400 Pages (2003-01-09)
list price: US$37.95 -- used & new: US$27.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195110617
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Book Description
In The Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present, Andrew Gordon paints a richly nuanced and strikingly original portrait of the last two centuries of Japanese history. He takes students from the days of the shogunate--the feudal overlordship of the Tokugawa family--through the modernizing revolution launched by midlevel samurai in the late nineteenth century; the adoption of Western hairstyles, clothing, and military organization; and the nation's first experiments with mass democracy after World War I. Gordon offers the finest synthesis to date of Japan's passage through militarism, World War II, the American occupation, and the subsequent economic rollercoaster. But the true ingenuity and value of Gordon's approach lies in his close attention to the non-elite layers of society. Here students will see the influence of outside ideas, products, and culture on home life, labor unions, political parties, gender relations, and popular entertainment. The book examines Japan's struggles to define the meaning of its modernization, from villages and urban neighborhoods, to factory floors and middle managers' offices, to the imperial court. Most importantly, it illuminates the interconnectedness of Japanese developments with world history, demonstrating how Japan's historical passage represents a variation of a process experienced by many nations and showing how the Japanese narrative forms one part of the interwoven fabric of modern history.With a sustained focus on setting modern Japan in a comparative and global context, The Modern History of Japan is ideal for undergraduate courses in modern Japanese history, Japanese politics, Japanese society, or Japanese culture. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars College Textbook
I mistakenly didn't realise that this is a college textbook. It also reads like a college textbook on Japanese history. As a matter of fact it feels like I am studying! Anyway, a fine book but be warned, it's like taking Modern Japanese History 101.

5-0 out of 5 stars Untangling and Navigating 200 Years of History
In A Modern History of Japan, Andrew Gordon sets to do the ambitious - to give a bottom up approach to writing a historical narrative - without ignoring the big picture. Gordon intertwines several interrelated events in Japan's continuing history pertaining to social markers - from the Tokugawa era to the present. By doing this he brings to presence a myriad of themes.

Gordon's book is a traditional chronological examination of the history of Japan. However, Gordon takes history to a different level by adding complexity. Gordon takes the time to examines, in some detail the issue of women in Japan's fast changing society, the ever changing identity markers of the Japanese youth with reference to their role in society, from the Tokugawa to the post-war era. Lets face it, modernization and democratization in Japan has been turbulent to say the least, and as examined in this sweeping book by Gordon, the causes and effects are many and as discussed previously - complicated.Gordon has a wonderful handle on the complexity despite his position as an outsider to the culture.

Deftly opening with the fall of the shogunate, Gordon deftly untangles and presents the interior and exterior pressures that form the impetus for the civil strife and the eventual Meiji "restoration." The "restorers" according to Gordon were alarmed by and reacted to European colonization. Gordon explains that the rejoinder to change, by all classes is intertwined with nationalism. Gordon navigates us through the postwar Japan were the national polity was more worried with reconstruction than with "history," setting the stage for the so-called Japanese economic miracle up to 1990 - which is really a result of Realpolitik and historical luck.

The book is nothing less than a comprehensive look into two centuries of Japanese history. The eclectic but solid mix of topics/themes includes landlord-tenant dealings since the Tokugawa era to the present, and lastly, the dangers Japan has to navigate through in this challenging yet promising post war era.Gordon ends the book hurriedly with a quick examination of the ever-changing party politics horizon in the present era.

Miguel Llora

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent history book
This book was easy to read and understand. I enjoyed it so much that I did not even sell it at the end of the class.I reccomend this book to anyone even remotely interested in Japanese history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Overview of Japanese Histor
Andrew Gordon covers the important aspects of Japanese history through time. He starts off by dealing with the Tokugawa and ends with the current political situation at the turn of the century. The appendixes provide a good account of Japanese government by listing the prime ministers and the country's election results since the end of WWII. Contemporary History of Japan focuses on important aspects of the Tokugawa regime such as its political, social and economic set up of Tokugaw Japan and focuses on its eventual downfall. The book continues with the Samurai revolution and the Meiji revolution that set the path for Japan to become a world power. Gordon then continues Japan in the early 20th centiru and how the countr began to change internallly as a result and how Japan dealt the Depressoin Crises in the 1930s, its wars with China and Russia and its eventual role in WWII and the American influence in the post WWII years. After the end of WWII, Japan becomes a dominant figure on the world stage with rapid economic growth unparalled else where in the world resulting in massive changes in society. Gordon does deal with Japanese economic troubles in the post WWII era such as the oil crises in the 1970s and the how Japanese bubble burst as well as other issues Japan is facing such as low-birth rates and changing gender roles.

Great background to Japan overall.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
This is an outstanding book on the modern history of Japan since the early 19th century. Mr. Gordon writes exceptionally well; unlike most academics, his sentences are mercifully short. You won`t get lost in any run-on sentences that take up half a page. Having said that, however, this is not a book just for children. People who have lived in Japan for years or who have studied Japan extensively as graduate students will find something to learn in this book. The book has many appealing aspects. It devotes considerable time to discussing the lives of ordinary Japanese, and it makes for fascinating reading. The book is relatively short and can be finished in one week. Finally, the author`s emphasis on the similarities between Japan and other nations in the tumultuous modern era is most welcome. The Japanese are not a unique, bizarre people; like all people everywhere, modernity is something they have adjusted to and dealt with, with varying degrees of success and failure. Mr. Gordon`s book is well worth reading. ... Read more

6. Japan Ai: A Tall Girl's Adventures In Japan
by Aimee Major Steinberger
Paperback: 180 Pages (2007-11-21)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$10.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1933617837
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Book Description
Join Aimee Major Steinberger on the ultimate fangirl vacation in Japan! This rapid-fire adventure is full of everything fans dream of seeing: cosplay on the infamous Harajuku Street, fantasy restaurants, maid cafes, Tokyo's largest doll store, beautiful shrines, bookstores full of manga, outrageous all-female Takarazuka musicals, cherry festivals, hot springs, special ceremonies, and so much more! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Illustrated Fabulocity!
Seriously love this book. It's a fun account of Ms. Major Steinberger's travels in Japan. Not only are you taken through her own experiences as a foreigner, but you're also given little cultural tidbits that are just as interesting. Plus, the illustrations are fabulous. I look forward to more from Aimee in the future.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read indeed!
I purchased this book because I had heard of it in a chat forum and was already familiar with the author/artist. Most books don't keep my interest long enough to get through the book in a day or two, but this was impossible to put down. Aimee's lovely sketches and playful comments kept me laughing at the turn of every page. Her useful information will fuel anyone dreaming of a trip to Japan into setting the date after reading this book. I am excited to visit the places she mentions and share in the wonderful experiences she wrote about.
What a brilliantly lighthearted way to address the ups and downs of tourism.


5-0 out of 5 stars Almost as good as being there...
I picked up Japan Ai not really expecting much. I thought it'd be a cute read, but not something I'd really read twice, let alone buy. I was pleasantly surprised when I flipped through the pages. Steinberger's eye for details is amazing when it comes to describing her travels through Japan. Some people may be decieved by the seemingly simplistic artwork on the cover that the storytelling is just as simplistic, but they'd be amazed. The author's passion for travel, anime/manga, & hobbies comes through on every page. Fans of anime, manga, & cosplay will get into the journal because of the detailed information about those interests, but the average person will get drawn into the journal for the attention to details. It is easily accessible to most people. I would consider it a good guide to read before going overseas so one can plan out where to go, as well as knowing what to expect if you are a english speaking traveller.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sweetness personified
This is an adorable little book, a charming story of a fangirl's adventure in visiting her favorite type of doll's birthplace. Who wouldn't want to go on an adventure like this! The artwork is clean and lovely, a unique style that made this book a delight to read. It really makes you want to go to Japan! It's cute, it's pleasant, it's a very much worth picking up.

5-0 out of 5 stars Charming!
This is a half comedy/half travel book in cartoon form. The drawings are simple, sweet and very expressive, detailing the story of three American friends in Japan. Unlike most travel books that tend toward dry text and pretty pictures, this book spends most of the time delving into little known facts about Japanese subcultures. This book definitely does not trot out the tired and repetitive discussions of electronics and chopsticks.

I loved it! Not only was it unexpectedly funny and informative, it reminds us how much of travel can be a roller coaster between adventure, bewilderment and embarrassment! Definately a great stocking stuffer for any of your well-travelled friends!
... Read more

7. Pink Box: Inside Japan's Sex Clubs
by Joan Sinclair
Paperback: 192 Pages (2006-10-01)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$18.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0810992590
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Book Description
In Pink Box, photographer Joan Sinclair takes us on a journey inside the secret world of fuzoku (commercial sex) in Japan, a world where kawaii (cute) collides with consumerism and sex.

Unrivaled in their creativity and the sheer number of choices, the clubs featured in this book offer their clientele every fantasy imaginable. Subway groping, visits to the nurse’s office, and comic book character encounters are just the beginning of the immense list of possibilities that are played out in colorful playrooms for adults where no detail is overlooked. Sinclair’s photographs capture it all, while an introduction by sociologist James Farrer provides a brief history of commercial sex in Japan and places the images in the context of contemporary Japanese culture. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun Book
A very interesting and fun look into Japan's sex culture. Basically a picture book with small tidbits of info here and there. Lot's of nudity, nothing too graphic though. A quick read and quite an eye opener about what types of clubs there are and what goes on in these clubs. A real shame that as a westener I will never be able to enjoy the wonderful pleasures that this sexually advanced society partakes in. Dont expect too much from the book. It is what it is and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I am very interested in all things Japan though.

4-0 out of 5 stars Joan , what a gal,do a book on the U.S. pink boxes ....
I have been reading what 1 poster must have spent weeks to write , i bought this book for several reasons and none really for kink,although who doesn't love some fun sex,i have lived in Japan,Korea,China and hope to retire to 1 of those,soon if (my 4 diseases ) bad health allow me,i have been in Major Law Enforcement since i was 15 ,and entertainment the same ,What Joan FORGOT,to include except in an online interview was that SEVERAL of these Beauties are Not Japanese,i know the far east like i do the U.S. trust me ,i work with(not for) some very high ranking folks in certain matters of L.E. ,Japan, actually as we all know has the good ole boys known as the Yakuza folks,slide into Korea ,Hong Kong,and find (by whatever means needed) grab a few ,koreans and chinese to work in these,small hell holes YES;against their will. since they will bring in more customers than the young ladies of Japan ,i will state till my last dying breath that Korea has the most beautiful women period,with China 2nd and Japan tied for 3rd with the U.S. sorry ladies just facts... sorry for the long speech, But here is the problem i have here,why doesn't she do a book on some ladies of the night from the U.S. ,and unlike these girls and women ( a lot,most) will slit your throat ,smile and leave ,so to a small measure i feel a lot of americans are very racist about the home turf..my associates will not like me saying this ,BUT;for that very reason i feel prostitution should be legal in the U.S. and taxable,(maybe).Good photos ,some hotties,some very uglies, but ;entertaining yes ,Japan does need to lighten up on the Japan only rule as ,to say who can go in or not,Korea ,Hong Kong, simply uses forms of bouncers ,But at least americans can get (how do you say) serviced as well.. Nuff said...........

5-0 out of 5 stars Serious yet fun
The Pink Box is about Japan's fantasy and sex clubs.While full of interesting and, sometimes, shocking photos taken while in many of the clubs the book also explains how the clubs work.The rules they follow, the people who work there, the types of people who come to enjoy the clubs and why they survive in Japan in the first place.It is serious but with a touch of humor and great fun.
And some of the girls are just hot.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful Photographs
There's something intensely interesting about the dichotomy between Japan's formal, public culture and the wide acceptance of the sex club culture.In some ways, it mirrors the religious face of American culture versus the gratuitous sex we accept in magazines, movies and TV.Still, Japanese culture and American culture are quite different and this book goes a long way towards making sense of the differences.

In fact, "interesting" is probably the best adjective to describe Ms. Sinclair's photographs.Despite their subject matter, they aren't particularly erotic.Instead, they are explanatory.They are posed.They are beautiful, yes, and they cover a wide cross-section of the sex trade but they capture people working.Because of that, they reflect a certain banality of working life that we don't normally associate with sex.

In addition, the brief bits of text that accompany the photos contribute to the air of explanation.And yet, finishing the book leaves a clearer and prettier picture of the sex club culture in Japan than something like Araki's Tokyo Lucky Hole.There's is much to be said for Araki's grittier and more ambiguous work but Sinclair's has its own pleasures.For someone looking to understand more of this part of Japanese culture, Sinclair's book should not be missed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the pink box

Joan Sinclair's photographic voyage through the adult clubs of Japan is anything but boring.Far from it, it shows the exotic and erotic side of what's presumably a very conservative culture.The most prominent places are in Shinjuku's Kabuki-chou, the red-light district in Tokyo that's also home to the yakuza, and in Osaka.The sad thing is that if one is a foreigner, chances are zilch that one can experience this fantasy world because they cater only to their own, and given how conservative the yakuza are...need I say more?

I just have to admit how imaginative my countrymen are in those businesses in the red-light district.Naturally, the Japanese high school girl in her uniform is a figure of fantasy regarding sex, so yes, there are high school girl cosplays.They have been targets of perverts on trains, such as groping or pinching, so yes, in image clubs, they have mock trains where one can do those things to the girls there.There are also OL (office lady) cosplays, where one can choose the colour of stockings and uniform worn by the lady they choose.The sign outside reads "OL--Sexual Harassment Office."Then there is the nurse costume, stewardesses, waitresses, I am reminded of one fast food burger chain whose motto was "make it your way."Some clubs, like the Reijo Club C'est Bien, have a menu--polaroids are a 1000 yen (about $10), pantyhose a 1000 yen, strap-ons are 2000 yen, and S&M goods 2000 yen, to give a few examples.And there's a multiple choice questionnaire where the customer circles what one wants the girl to do.

The owners of the establishment also take the time to protect their girls, as they have signs requesting customers not to force their girls, to refrain from rough touches or language.And the real thing is a no-no in those clubs.One might think the girls are being exploited, but as one girl says, "It would take a year to earn the money for my purse if I was working in an office."

Then there are clubs where there aren't any women.The doll club are for customers who are shy to be with real women so there are life-sized silicone dolls where customers can choose the face, hair length, costume, and the V-word.The fee is the same for spending time with a real woman.

The peeping rooms are clubs for anonymously spying on girls who never see the customers, the distance separated by one-way mirrors or lucky holes.For something bizarre, how about 2000 yen to play inside a tub of green gel?And in Club Mammoth, there are two very hefty girls, who are still cute, and are worth being sandwiched inbetween.

There's also a "pink dictionary" of terms in the back.Explicit, elegant, and cute, and in a pink plastic cover.Well worth reading for those interested in that side of Japan.
... Read more

8. A Year in Japan
by Kate T. Williamson
Paperback: 192 Pages (2006-03-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$10.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1568985401
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Book Description

The Land of the Rising Sun is shining brightly across the American cultural landscape. Recent films such as Lost in Translation and Memoirs of a Geisha seem to have made everyone an expert on Japan, even if theyve never been there. But the only way for a Westerner to get to know the real Japan is to become a part of it. Kate T. Williamson did just that, spending a year experiencing, studying, and reflecting on her adopted home. She brings her keen observations to us in A Year in Japan, a dramatically different look at a delightfully different way of life.

Avoiding the usual clichésJapans polite society, its unusual fashion trends, its crowded subwaysWilliamson focuses on some lesserknown aspects of the country and culture. In stunning watercolors and piquant texts, she explains the terms used to order various amounts of tofu, the electric rugs found in many Japanese homes, and how to distinguish a maiko from a geisha.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars You Could Call It "Appreciation Practice"
Even before looking inside A Year in Japan, the fold-out back and front covers are wonders to behold. They contain smaller versions of the colourful interior illustrations and list topics that could be prompts for poems: Plum Blossoms, Signature Songs, Elegant Taxis, Electric Rugs, Indigo Fireflies, Lunch with a Geisha.

Kate T. Williamson designed and illustrated her book as well as wrote a journal of her year in Kyoto, Japan. She was enamoured with Japanese customs and objects (like apples in foam cozies and mangos impaled on chopsticks to make less-sticky eating) and created a book to celebrate them.

Williamson, who lives in New York City, studied filmmaking at Harvard University. Her love of travel and interest in sock design, along with a postgraduate fellowship, took her to Kyoto. For a year, she filled journals with her thoughts and sketches.

While reading of Williamson's discoveries during her year of noticing, I was reminded of Natalie Goldberg who has also written of her travels to Japan to explore the land of her Zen teacher. But mostly I'm reminded of Goldberg because of the attention paid to the celebration and naming of everyday things. As Goldberg says, naming something "wakes you up to it". Both writers illustrate their work and I find pure delight in Goldberg's naive drawings, accompanying her poetry, just as I enjoyed Williamson's drawings and watercolours.

As for the names, Williamson gives the names of the ordinary things in Japanese as well as English. Green tea is matcha, used in tea ceremonies. To sweeten the matcha one eats a piece of wagashi, of molded sugar or bean paste. The illustration is a cup of green on a stark white page as if the artist has just drawn it and presented it to the reader.

Among Williamson's drawings are four pages of socks. She believes the popularity of sock stores and the proliferation of sock designs is partially due to the custom of removing one's shoes upon entering a home. She also studied shiborizome, a traditional textile art using sewing and indigo-dyeing. One of the first things Williamson noticed when she left the train station in Kyoto, was a display of washcloths in plaids and polka dots, "orange and turquoise, red and magenta, lime and navy". Women carry them in their purses for drying their hands in public washrooms. Of course Williamson drew them too.

Rather than a chronological travelogue about her encounters and places visited, Williamson has written light-hearted and whimsical descriptions to remember Japanese customs, old and new. One of the old customs is "moon-viewing." Many old "residences have special platforms or rooms where nobles would gather to write moon-related verse as they gazed at the sky or into the moon's reflection in a nearby pond". There are sweets made especially for moon-viewing called tsukimi dango.

Among Williamson's watercolour illustrations are those of Kyoto's flowers and plant life. Some of the coloured drawings take up a two-page spread such as the hydrangea (ajisai) and cherry blossoms (sakura). Cherry blossoms last for only a week and their fleeting beauty and impermanence is a reminder to be aware and present. I am reminded of Basho's haiku about the cherry blossom as a threshold between our inner and outer worlds.

As in a journal, there are no page numbers. The type is even in script so that it is like a traveller's journal full of memories--but so very much neater! Williamson took such pleasure in how much thought goes into appearances and actions in Japan so that "details of beauty and nuances of word and deed are both expected and appreciated".

Whether you can visit Japan or not, the book is a reminder and tribute to all things Japanese. It's also a reminder to appreciate what is unique and precious about what's in front of us. You could call it an appreciation practice.

by Mary Ann Moore
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Armchair Travel Book
As a child, I always had the fantasy of digging a hole all the way through to the other side of the world and taking a peek at life there. This book allows me to relive this fantasy. It is truly a gem and a breath of fresh air. As a kind of picture book for adults, it is filled with wonderful illustrations and interesting tidbits on life in Japan. It is a very relaxing book and a pure joy to read. Even though this book can be read in one sitting, I felt like I had traveled to Japan and back. Williamson does an outstanding job in presenting Japanese life, traditions, and culture.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lost in Translation for those that "Love" Japan
This book is journal of first hand experiences of the author and the year she spent in Japan. The drawings and entries she leaves can only have come from someone that went with "Open Eyes".Her entries are not judgmental but instead give the reader a taste of Japan. It has been almost a year since I was in Kyoto, and this book has me wanting to go back soon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lovely Observations about Life in Japan

A Year in Japan is full of small, beautiful (and sometimes very amusing), observations about daily life in Japan. It does not aim to be a guide book or a history of Japan. Instead, it is a beautifully illustrated look at some of the things which make Japan so interesting to outsiders--from soy sauce containers shaped like little fish to sumo wrestlers and bento boxes. I've shown this book to people who know Japan well, and people who know nothing about it, and they've all been charmed by Ms. Williamson's drawings and wit.

1-0 out of 5 stars An adult picture book
The positive reviews for this book must have been written by the author's friends. I was tricked into buying it by the hype and it turned up at the top of my Amazon search. There are some occasionally charming water colorsbut almost no text. The text that is present is adolescent, trivial and always mundane. This is not a book for anyone about to go to Japan or who has any interest in the subject. Absolutely no meat. Lots of watercolors of socks and wash clothes without any commentary other than "I have never seen so may beautiful socks or so many stores devoted entirely to them. This advanced sock culture can be attibuted in part to the custom of removing one's shoes upon entering a home." This is 6 pages of the book and there is no further commentary _ WHY DO WE REMOVE OUR SHOES??!Do not bother with this silly and overpriced book. THis book came up on my search "Japanese History" _ BUYER BEWARE ... Read more

9. Japan Atlas: A Bilingual Guide
by Kodansha International
Paperback: 128 Pages (2006-07-14)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$13.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 4770030266
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Book Description
This atlas, the only one of its kind to provide place-names in both English and Japanese, is an invaluable tool for foreign residents of Japan, and an indispensable, handy companion for travelers. The atlas features:-21 large-scale maps of the regions of Japan, including Greater Tokyo and the Kanto area, the Greater Osaka Area, and almost all of the officially registered Japanese cities, towns and villages. There has been a drastic change in recent years, following a government policy to have many cities, towns and villages merge. This atlas includes all the changes.-19 maps of major metropolitan areas, from Naha in Okinawa to Hiroshima, Kyoto, Nagoya, Tsukuba, Sapporo, and many others.-7 maps featuring notable tourist and resort areas, including Fuji-Hakone-Izu, Nara, Kamakura, Nikko, etc.-9 transportation maps, including road and intercity railway maps, Tokyo and Osaka subway and rail maps, and even major domestic airline routes.-12 thematic maps, indicating natural parks, world heritage, special historic spots, Ramsar convention entry areas, ceramic kiln areas, etc.-A comprehensive index.-A list of embassies, consulates, and sister cities. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Indispensable for travelling in Japan outside the major cities
I have found this atlas so useful that I have four well-worn copies, including earlier editions.Although surprisingly comprehensive, it is also small enough to carry everywhere without beginning to resent its size or weight.I have also found that the book seems nearly indestructible: no page has ever separated from the binding even with my most-used copy -- which otherwise looks like it has been through hell. Maps or atlases without kanji and kana would be frustrating to use and in many cases would be nearly worthless, yet I have found nothing similar to this volume.It appears to stand alone.Anyone travelling outside Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto really must have this book.Someone hiking or cycling needs to also purchase detailed road maps or topographic maps of the appropriate area, although those maps will almost certainly have only kanji and kana.Fortunately, the detail maps can be found within the book department of almost any department store at any major train station.

5-0 out of 5 stars japan a bilingual guide atlas
The size was good for carrying.The words where large enough for me to read easily-I`m 65.The places that where included are good for most travel in Japan.The cover is a nice design and the train and subway map are nice to have ,so I don`t have to carry a lot of other maps.

3-0 out of 5 stars Somewhat useful
It's great to have maps with both Kanji and Roman alphabets.That is very useful for navigating in Japan when one doesn't read Japanese.But the maps are small and not detailed enough to be used by cyclists, which was my hope when I purchased this atlas.It does have some subway maps at the back, which are practical.I think this atlas has to be used with a more detailed Japanese-language atlas to be really useful to anyone (cyclists or drivers) interested in using roads smaller than the major highways.

5-0 out of 5 stars Whether it's used as a take-along tourist's tote or a library addition, it's a winner.
You'd expect an atlas format to be large and oversized - not JAPAN ATLAS: it's the size of a regular book, which lends to easy shelving, yet it is the only one of its kind to provide place names in both English and Japanese, offering over twenty large-scale maps of Japan's various regions, 19 maps of major urban areas, and other smaller maps of roads and tourist areas. Whether it's used as a take-along tourist's tote or a library addition, it's a winner.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch

4-0 out of 5 stars Good collection of maps.
When I ordered this book, I was expecting a more traditional atlas, with geographic information, etc., but this is simply a collection of maps. there is no explanatory text. But there is a table of contents and an index.

There are 5 sections: Area Maps; City Maps; Sight-Seeing Maps; Transportation Maps; and Thematic Maps. The area, city, and transportation maps are self-explanatory, but the reader could have trouble figuring out what is in the other sections. For example, the sight-seeing maps have lots of places indicaed in red, but there is no indiccaion of just why they are noteworthy. In the thematic maps, several of the themes may not be apparent. For example, I was baffled by the map labeled "Ramsar Convention Area Areas and had to do a Google seaqrch to figure it out. There are also some basic typos in English that aven a novice copy editor should have caught. "Marchent homes" for "merchent homes," or "histric" for "historic."

In all, though, if you want a handy,very portable map collection , with place names in romaji and kana/kanji, then this is worth getting. ... Read more

10. A History of Japan
by R. H. P. Mason, J. G. Caiger
Paperback: 407 Pages (1997-11)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$8.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 080482097X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A tiny if very complete history
The History Of Japan by R. H. P.Mason and J. G.Caiger is a very small yet very complete book of Japanese history and culture, from 10,000 BC up to the 1950s.Maps, photos, quotes and a small bibliography add delight and swift understanding to a very complex subject.Perfect gift for a person just showing interest in Japanese or Asian history.Deals with the major points, the changing twists and turns, in Japan during its history.It also deals with the culture, the religions, the development of city life, the arts, the political and industrial changes with just the right amount of information.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, not great
When I first became interested in the history of Japan, this is the first book that I read.At the time, I gave this book five stars.As I have read more about Japan though this book falls a little bit for the things it leaves out and the fact that it focuses too much attention to relatively obscure cultural phenomena without expending equal energy to political and military development.I would recommend this book for a good start to learning about Japan and a quicker read than Sansom's histories or the Oxford histories.

4-0 out of 5 stars An overview of Japanese history
This book is a great introduction to the history of Japan, as the liner on the back of the books says. It suffers a little from the obvious problem of trying to squeeze two thousand years of civilisation into 370 pages, and as such is basically a fleshed out timeline. There is little elaboration on events and presents the reader with an endless string of historical characters, places and dates. However, there is a good focus on the development of the arts in each period. It would seem the authors have a great liking for Japanese verse, so the seemingly often appearance of poetry excerpts can get a little annoying if one is reading it purely for historical information. The book also glosses over recent Japanese history, from about the beginning of the occupation by American forces. As a turbulent time, there would be a lot to write about but if you're interested in that, try John Dower's "Embracing defeat" or a number of other books on Japan's modern history. If you are planning on making a visit to Japan this may be a good book to read so that you know when "that castle" or "this temple" was built, by whom and why.

5-0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive history of Japan
This book makes an excellent introduction to Japanese history, as it covers the whole spectrum of history and does not focus in on one part too much. About two thirds of the chapters cover political and general history, and the other third look at cultural and religious developments. My only problems are that it doesn't seem to go in-depth in Buddhism enough and it seems to move past the civil war in the 16th century too quickly. It is especially good at developing the ideas of Shiki land rights and how Buddhism developed in Japan. A good general history or introduction to Japanese history. ... Read more

11. Japan at War: An Oral History
by Haruko Taya Cook, Theodore F. Cook
Paperback: 496 Pages (1995-04-04)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1565840399
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Book Description
A timely fifteenth Anniversary reissue of a "deeply moving book" (Studs Terkel) that portrays the Japanese experience during World War II in all its complexity.

Following the release of Clint Eastwood's epic film Letters from Iwo Jima, which was nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture, there has been a renewed fascination and interest in the Japanese perspective on World War II. This pathbreaking work of oral history is the first book ever to capture—in either Japanese or English—the experience of ordinary Japanese people during the war.

In a sweeping panorama, Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore F. Cook take us from the Japanese attacks on China in the 1930s to the Japanese home front during the inhuman raids on Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, offering the first glimpses of how the twentieth century's most deadly conflict affected the lives of the Japanese population. The book "seeks out the true feelings of the wartime generation [and] illuminates the contradictions between the official views of the war and living testimony" (Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan).

Japan at War is a book to which Americans and Japanese will continue to turn for decades to come. With more than 30,000 copies sold to date, this new paperback edition features an updated cover designed to appeal to a new generation of readers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Insight into Nationalism
This book gave me great insight into how a people are injured by the lies of their government. I learned a lot about the Japanese culture.I could easily see myself in the mothers of Japan. I bought this book at a garage sale where the owner was selling all of the books they read in their Asian studies program at college. I was honestly shocked and heartbroken to read about the Japanese point of view.
The really scary thing is how current the idea still is that an uneducated populus can really be driven to a horrible end by their government's lies! Now I am learning Japanese (another garage sale find!) from tapes. I will visit Japan with a greater sense of their history and culture.

5-0 out of 5 stars JAPAN AT WAR: ORAL HISTORY
This was a very good well written book!It is easy to follow, and takes the reader down numerous paths of the war years and the scars that were inflicted on those who lived, and died.

I believe the book was initially utilized as a text in some colleges, but it is not written like any text book I ever had to read.

This book is an accumulation of oral interviews that helps the reader to visualize, smell, and even taste the sadness and poverty ofthose who fought the war; not just on the high seas, or the jungles of the South Pacific, but...on the streets of Tokyo, Nagasaki, Kyoto, and Hiroshima.

This book examines a proud culture and the utterly devestated people who lived within it.

5-0 out of 5 stars War from the Japanese perspective
A compelling set of recollections from Japanese citizens and soldiers who lived and experienced WWII.These stories give an interesting insight into the psyche of the average Japanese citizen and soldier during the war.This is one of the few existing WWII books pertaining to the Pacific Campaign that gives you insight into the thoughts and feelings of the Japanese during the war.A must read for anyone wanting to see the perspective from the "other side".Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A "must read" for anyone who want to understand the Japanese psyche during the war.
Being an ethnic Chinese, though born after the war, I just couldn't understand the Japanese inability to accept that they have been behaving in a most atrocious manner during the war, given the massive amount of evidence that has been accumulated to prove that point. Despite there being so much evidence pointing to the fact it was the Japanese who started the war, and yet, they seemed to think of themselves as the victims rather than the victimizers. That was something I couldn't understand.

But now, having read this book, though I don't agree with them, I could, in an intuitive sense, understand them.

At the beginning of Part Four, on page 259, it's printed these words:

"Umi yukaba, misuku kabane...Across the sea, corpses soaking in the water, Across the mountains, corpses heaped upon the grass, We shall die by the side of our lord. We shall never look back."

"Umi yukaba.." is from a collection of poetry known as Manyoushu, which dated from around 700 AD, around the Nara, Heien period. This specific poem, "Umi yukaba..." was set to music in 1937, and after 1943, it preceded radio announcements of battles in which Japanese soldiers "met honorable death rather than the dishonor of surrender." In a flash,I understood the mentality of the time. They were really still set in the medieval feudal samurai mentality. The veneer of modernity was just that, a veneer of modernity. They might be able to build and master complex machinery of the modern twentieth century, the mentality was still of feudal Heien period. Their treatment of the conquered people was justified. That's how the Heien period warriors behaved. Their perception of themselves as the victims were justified. That's what samurai warrior would feel. They were all prepared, or at least indoctrinated to be prepared to die in the service of the emperor.

I cannot imagine any other country which would announce their battles lost with such a song.

The army doctor, Yuasa Ken, described his wartime experience, that of experimental surgery on perfectly healthy, well except for the fact that they have been starved, perfectly healthy Chinese. To them, there was nothing wrong. The Chinese were the conquered people. The Imperial Army needed doctors to treat the wounded soldiers, so many doctors were recruited into the army, including pediatricians, dermatologists, ophthalmologists and so on. These doctors have no experience in treating trauma injuries. How to train them? What better way than to use the Chinse as experimental animals for their training. Only in the light of the concept of "human rights", a concept developed in the West, was that kind of experimenation considered wrong. In the feudal samurai ethics, that was not considered wrong.

Now look at the situation this way. From the samurai ethics point of view, they had not behaved wrongly. But after the defeat, and the acceptance of the world view of "human rights", what they have done was definitely wrong. However, in their minds, they haven't done anything wrong. How to reconcile the one with the other? How to reconcile their internal moral judgment, "we have not done anything wrong", with the now newly developed and accepted concept of "human rights"? The only way out of this psychological dilemma is to deny that those atrocities have happened. The only way out is to deny that the Nanjin massacre had happened, that the human experimentationsin Unit 731 had ever happened.

This is a most fascinating book, and is a MUST READ for anyone interested in how the Japanese felt and thought of the events of the time.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Illuminating View from the Other Side
I have sought, over the years, to try to understand the nature of our enemies in war.Some wars, like WWI, were essentially fought over the issue of power and control.Some wars, like the US Civil War, get redefined periodically and often to the advantage of who's redefining it.Today, July 4, is a good day to reflect on our Revolutionary War and, although I don't do it annually like I feel I should, reading the Declaration of Independance is an excellent way to understand the grievances that led to war.It is WWII that had been my biggest challenge to comprehend and it was the Japanese side of this conflict that I understood the least.I can't say that one book clarified everything I didn't understand but "Japan at War: An Oral History" put me on the fast track to getting there.

This is an amazing book in many ways.First, the scope of the book covers the many different facets of the Japanese experiance in WWII.For example, the war begins for them with the invasion of China and the conquest of Manchuria; aspects we generally know little about.It has a chapter on the kamikazi's and the similar sailers who volunteered to man suicide torpedos.It looks to the glory of the height of conquest and to the chaos and destruction of the waning days.It takes a look at the little mentioned Soviet invasion of Manchuria (that began after The Bomb).It takes a brief look at post-war Japan as well.It does all of this through the interviews the authors conducted with a number of soldiers, sailers, officers, civilians, and conscripts.To their credit, the husband and wife team of Haruko Taya and Theodore Cook constructed their book by publishing the reminiscences of their subjects.We read the words they heard supplemented briefly by overviews provided by the authors.This first-person recounting of events and the reactions to them brings everything to life for us.Whatever passions we may have from our own perspectives are, at least temporarily, set aside with the riminder that war victimizes everyone it touches.

The Cooks have done an excellent job of finding persons who were not only first-hand witnesses but excellent historians as well.The stories that they were able to collect were so personal and down-to-earth that the one exception (a professor's educated treatise on the censuring of textbooks) sticks out noticeably in comparison.

The witnesses let us in on many events but it is their editorial perspective of how these events changed their lives (and the lives of other Japanese) that reaches across the animosities of war and touches us deeply.There are interviews with some of the volunteer suicide soldiers who would have carried out their mission but for time and/or equiptment failure.There are stories of Koreans brought to Japan and insights on how they were treated.However, the most impressive were the stories of the witnesses and survivors of the Atomic Bombs that fell on Japan.Whatever your feeling on this subject are (and mine affirm the correctness of our actions) these first hand accounts are stunning.

The Cooks deserve a lot of credit for their painstaking efforts to amass all of these interviews.Their editing appears to be minimal as is their background introductions to each new chapter.In other words; helpful without being intrusive.Undoubtably, there were many other survivng Japanese witnesses to war who would not tell their story.Many of those who did were reflective of having been misled.

The Japanese and Americans are solid allies these days and the birth of that alliance is found in these monologues of history.Countless eye-witnesses bore testimony to their individual discovery that the American soldiers were not the devils the Japanese leadership portrayed them to be.The gratuitous stories of the acts of kindness and generosity of the American GIs were really heartwarming to read.

"Japan at War: An Oral History"was everything I had hoped it would be; and more.As a Baby-Boomer, I carry not the scars of war but the legacy of war.The history of American wars is the eventual alliance with our enemies.This book, in an indirect way, is a reminder of that tradition.We can only hope that our current conflict can eventually end in the same Phoenix of peace. ... Read more

12. The Cutting Edge: Fashion from Japan
Paperback: 112 Pages (2006-01-30)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$25.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1863171142
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

13. Fodor's Japan, 18th Edition (Fodor's Gold Guides)
by Fodor's
Paperback: 784 Pages (2007-06-05)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$14.61
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Asin: 1400017793
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14. Japan Rising: The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Purpose
by Kenneth B. Pyle
Paperback: 448 Pages (2008-04-28)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1586485679
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Book Description
This "masterful treatise on Japan's strategic culture" illuminates why the nation must remain at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy. (Foreign Affairs) America has a long tradition of underestimating and misunderstanding Japan. We have viewed it as a quiet and reactive nation. In fact, Japan has a history of rapid and dramatic shifts--from its 180-degree turn from brutal imperialism in favor of withdrawal from international politics after World War II to the evaporation of the "Japanese economic miracle" in the 1990s. Kenneth Pyle tells the unprecedented story of Japan's trajectory over the past 150 years, illuminating its policy strategy and shedding new light on recent events. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Adopt, Adapt, and Improve...
Kenneth Pyle's examination of Japan's history and its ability to move with the flow of the times is well-done, detailed and very intriguing.He takes the reader through a sometimes clinical, but understandable tour of Japan's changes from the times of feudalism up through its 21st Century situation.

Japan has often taken a possibly Taoist stance on the changes put before it over the decades;to adopt, adapt and improve on what went about around it.The acceptance of western ways from the time of America's first appearance in the 1850's to the time of the Meiji Restoration show the ability to take up the way of others without losing one's own identity.

In recent decades that appears to be more of a concern;Japan's identity crisis is examined in great detail, from the time of the Yoshida influence, the maverick nature of the Nakasone administration, to the rise of Ozawa and the "Heisei Generation."

The relations between Japan and its neighbors is a balancing act, with regard to the US as well, and the gestures between the Koreas and China with Japan still have much to reconcile.In particular, the military atrocities in those countries during the Second World War, which are still open wounds to many.

A great history lesson, all in all.

4-0 out of 5 stars Japan Must Rise!
After the occupation of Japan ended in 1952 by the United States, the Japanese nation would emerge as one of the strongest economical nations in the world.Without a doubt, Japan has been the economic empire of the Far East along with China but the Japanese do pay their employees much better than China.Japan has adopted a largely pacifist constitution since it was the military leaders who led Japan into World War II and almost complete destruction.

This book traces the development of the Japanese military since the close of the Cold War and the beginnings of the new war on terrorism.The United States and most democratic allies are looking for Japan to rebuild its military might for several reasons.First, Japan is now an allied nation.Secondly, Japan is now a democratic nation allowing the people to help its leaders control the military.Thirdly, Japan could help offset North Korea and China as rogue nations in southeast Asia.Fourth, its simply a matter of time before Islamic terrorist target Japan.Japan has every right to protect herself.

I found this book to be enlightning.If you would have told the Marines at Guam or Iwo Jima that Japan would be an allied nation along with the United States, almost none would have accepted that premise.Today the United States (and Europe) needs Japan to rebuild its military to help fight terrorism.The spending by the Japanese on their military has been steadly going up as Japan seeks to defend itself in the coming battle.Japanese forces are already helping the United States in its battles in the middle east.

Overall this a good read.I would encourage you to study Japan as it rebuilds its military might.

3-0 out of 5 stars Adapting to the Trends of the Time
Kenneth Pyle's history of Japan's shifting foreign policies over the last hundred and fifty years is built on three premisses. The first, in accordance with the realist paradigm in international relations theory, is that Japan conducts its foreign relations in a way that maximizes the nation's interest, and that its national advantage can be determined in a straightforward and unambiguous manner. This distinguishes the author from other scholars who insist on socially-constructed goals or collective disciplines that can sometimes be at variance with a country's most advantageous course of action.

The second principle is that Japanese political leaders are a pragmatic lot who tend to "move with the tide" and adapt to changing circumstances. Whenever fundamental changes have taken place in the international environment, the Japanese leaders have proven skillful at adapting their policies to these changes and using them opportunistically to further the nation's interests and ambition. A corollary is that Japan takes its external environment as a given: it doesn't try to shape or transform it through the application of universalistic principles or home-bred ideologies. To use a metaphor from economics, Japan is a price-taker, not a market-maker.

The third precept is the "Primat der Aussenpolitik": Japanese institutions were shaped more by external factors than by internal political struggles or social conflicts. Repeatedly through the course of the 150 years of its modern history, each time the structure of the international system underwent fundamental change, Japan adapted its foreign policies to that changed order and restructured its internal organization to take advantage of it. In the process of adapting its domestic institutions to the external environment, concern with preserving the ideals of Japan's cultural heritage generally took second place. As a consequence, the book covers much more than foreign policy, and its scope encompass all aspects of japan's adaptation to the modern world.

Japan Rising provides a good introduction to the country's modern history and brings different periods that are often treated separately into a common narrative. Particularly valuable are the many quotations of Japanese statesmen or intellectuals that the author tracks back to their original source given in the footnotes (it is not clear whether the author offers his own translation of these sources or borrows them from translated versions). Kenneth Pyle also makes good use of the existing literature, including some Japanese scholarship, although he cannot do justice to all that has been written on so broad a subject. Nevertheless, references to historical debates and conflicts of interpretation that divide the historical profession would have been worthwhile.

I have some reservations however with the author's attempt to identify the "profound forces" or recurrent patterns that characterize Japan's engagement with the outside world. These persistent features (Japan's opportunism, pragmatism, outward orientation, etc.) tend to placate psychological traits over a nation, obfuscating the political processes, social struggles, and individual agency that are at the origin of historical outcomes. They establish a false continuity in Japan's modern history, minimizing the profound ruptures and new departures that have charted the country's course since the Meiji Restoration. The author's intention is to offer to American policy-makers interpretative lenses and guidelines for action in a bilateral relationship that has often been fraught with misunderstandings and prejudices. But I am not sure whether generalizations about Japan's national "style" or pattern of behavior are really helping toward that end.

Another reservation I have with the book is its interpretation of Japan's economic success. The author seems to have a problem with free trade and self-regulating markets, echoing in some sense Japanese leaders' preference for ordered capitalism and state intervention. He reproduces uncritically Friedrich List's indictment of free trade as a self-serving ideology sustaining British imperial rule: "It is a very common clever device that when anyone has attained the summit of greatness, he kicks away the ladder by which he has climbed up, in order to deprive others of the means of climbing up after him." Put in this context, Japan's imperial expansion was a rational response to a situation where the chances to climb the ladder were flawed. This was simply the way the game was played, and if someone is to blame, it is the imperial powers who set the rules of the game, not Japan who simply was a fast learner.

Moving on to the postwar era, the author sees Japan's recovery and economic success as the result of mercantilist policies taking advantage of a system ruled by classic liberal principles. There is certainly an element of free riding in Japan's postwar economic miracle, which was made possible by America's security umbrella and its maintaining of a liberal economic order. But claiming that there would have been no Japanese success story had Japan contributed a bigger part of burden sharing seems to me an unsubstantiated conclusion. More than mercantilism and state interventionism, Japanese economic success seems to me the result of sound economic policies and the collective effort of a people determined to catch up.

5-0 out of 5 stars Resurgence of a Chastened, Wiser Giant
Kenneth Pyle does a remarkable job in helping his readers better assess the future behavior of a resurgent Japan in fast-changing Asia.U.S. policymakers have been repeatedly wrong-footed in gauging Japan's foreign policy since the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry and his ships on Japan's shores in 1853 (pp. 10, 67).Think for instance about the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor as an act of economic desperation over the American oil embargo, despite the odds against military victory (pp. 10 - 11, 64 - 65, 135 - 36, 204, 354).Another example is the Yoshida doctrine, Japan's unique Cold War policy that relied on U.S. security guarantees while pursuing mercantile realism, to which American policymakers remained oblivious for a long time (pp. 13, 45 - 46, 212, 225 - 77, 291).

Part of the challenge in understanding Japan is that the country is simultaneously a state and a unique civilization (pp. 13, 49 - 50).Furthermore, Japan has vacillated between infuriating ethnocentrism and remarkable receptivity to foreign influences during its history without ultimately sacrificing its unique culture (pp. 18 - 19, 22 - 23, 58 - 62, 76, 100 - 05, 116 - 36, 176, 239, 245).Finally, Japan has often not done enough to factor in the legitimate concerns of other countries in its "opaque" decision-making process, resulting in some needless frictions (pp. 15 - 16, 229, 250 - 52, 306 - 09, 354).

To his credit, Pyle clearly shows that the Japanese tend to shun radical change in their interaction with the outside world unless the circumstances deprive them of any other option.The difficulty of making change and the rapidity with which irresistible changes occur have often confused foreigners because of the apparent, inherent contradiction in this policy (pp. 52, 76).

Resource poor and a late arriver in the modern world, Japan is among the few countries in modern history which have been especially sensitive and responsive to the forces of the international environment (pp. 21 - 22, 27, 49).As a matter of self-interest, Japan has repeatedly allied itself with the dominant ascendant power (pp. 12, 44 - 46). Modern Japan's behavior is especially remarkable when one remembers that the country benefited from a unique isolation and security for almost all its history prior to the 19th century. (pp. 32, 34).The origin of that astonishing capability to adapt to external forces lies in the legacy of Japanese feudalism (pp. 39 - 41, 59, 62, 84).The same conservative ruling elite has displayed an extraordinary resilience in carrying on the strategic principles of the Meiji leaders, despite the ups and downs in their fortunes (pp. 23 - 24, 43 - 44, 49-51, 194, 220, 225 - 26, 260 - 77, 293, 357).

Pyle spends most of his time covering how Japan reorganized its domestic institutions to support its foreign policy while accommodating five fundamental changes in the international order in East Asia in the last century and half (p. 28):

1) The collapse of the Sinocentric system under the pressure of Western powers taking advantage of a weakened Imperial China in the middle of the 19th century (pp. 34 - 39, 72 - 136);

2) The substitution of the imperialist system for the decade-old Washington Treaty System based on the ideals of international liberalism under the influence of Woodrow Wilson after WWI.The new system was designed to check Japanese expansionism in East Asia (pp. 139 - 54, 159 - 67, 201);

3) The disintegration of the Washington System following the worldwide economic depression and the remodeling of Japanese domestic institutions after those of Nazi Germany in its conquest of much of East and Southeast Asia between 1932 and 1942 (pp. 167 - 69, 172, 183 - 91, 198 - 205);

4) The annihilation of Japan's fascist order and the imposition of a new U.S.-inspired liberal order after 1945 and its evolution during the Cold War.Postwar Japan retooled its domestic institutions to get the most out of the free-trade U.S.-sponsored regime while leveraging the military alliance between the two countries (pp. 205 - 77);

5) The post Cold War transition in Japan following the implosion of the Soviet Union-dominated communist order in 1989.Surprisingly, Japan, at the zenith of its economic power, sank in economic and political torpor, partly due to the absence of a clear-cut new order in East Asia and partly due to the emergence of other economic powers, especially China, in the region (pp. 5, 280, 284, 286, 300).Japan started rebounding from its torpor under the premiership of Koizumi Junichirô by undermining the Yoshida doctrine and by engaging in economic and military multilateralism (pp. 291 - 309, 355 - 74).

Pyle consecrates the end of his book to the triangular relations among China, Japan, and the U.S.The U.S. has pursued the same policy in East Asia since WWI: No domination of any power in the region, free trade, and the spread of democracy to preserve peace and stability in the region (pp. 145, 311).The U.S. has developed a mixed policy of containment and engagement with China while strengthening its military alliance with Japan (pp. 314, 333, 348 - 54, 368 - 69).The continued engagement of the U.S. in the region is vital to keep Japan from putting itself in the orbit of China (p. 353).Japan, mindful of its past, location, and culture, has been conditionally engaging China in a way that is somewhat different from the U.S. (pp. 314 - 16, 324 - 36).

The legitimacy of the Communist Party leadership in China is built on strong economic growth (p. 337). If economic growth falters, the Communist Party leadership could be tempted to internationalize its problems by playing once more the nationalistic card that could backfire.Think for instance about fascist Japan in the 1930s and 1940s.More optimistically, the Communist Party could give up power peacefully as its counterparts in Central and Eastern Europe did in 1989.

To summarize, Japan's international behavior cannot be correctly understood without a proper grasp of the tectonic forces that have molded the country's history, geography, and culture.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Sun Also Rises
Japan is a country that has faded into the background for many Americans. It is there, but not front and center like China or even Korea (North/South.)But the terms of our two countries' basically comfortable bilateral relationship may soon shift.

Professor Pyle, a well-informed academic, reminds his readers that Japan is important not only as a current major world economic force but as an emerging political and military power in the future of Asia. Change is afoot in Japan -- with a younger population not grounded in the searing aftermath of World War II -- as it adjusts its foreign policy to post-Cold War realities.

A book for those serious about understanding both historical and modern Japan, and its possible future in relation to China, Taiwan, Russia, Korea, and the United States. ... Read more

15. The Way We Do It in Japan
by Geneva Cobb Iijima
Hardcover: 32 Pages (2002-03)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0012QH01S
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Book Description
Gregory and his family are moving to Japan for his dad's job. After the long flight, they arrive at their new apartment. Gregory is surprised to find lots of things that are different: he needs to remove his shoes and wear slippers, he has to sit on pillows at the table, and he has to take a shower before getting into the bathtub! As Gregory's dad points out, "That's the way they do it in Japan."

When Gregory starts school, he's afraid that the kids won't like him. That morning, he works hard writing the letters of the Japanese alphabet and is glad when it's time for lunch. But he's embarrassed when he takes out his peanut butter sandwich and sees everyone else eating rice and soybeans. Gregory wonders if he'll ever fit in. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good One
This book is so cute.We are Americans living in Japan and my daughter has lived here her whole life (since she was a few months old) so she attends Japanese school, is bilingual, and deeply Japanese-cultured.I know she will be culture-shocked when we return to the States in a year and a half, and I thought this book would be a different way to help her with the differences she will experience when we move to the States.

This book is the reverse of what we are doing, but the principals are all the same.She says maybe she should translate this book and read it to her classmates so that they can understand what American children are feeling when they move here (in case they become classmates with future American children).She doesn't yet understand that her bilingualism is the only reason her elementary school accepted her into the school as an American, but I thought her idea was so emphatic and sweet!

Overall, I think this book applies to an array of educational areas.I'll be waiting for more like it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome book!!!
I am a director of a childcare center and I am running a multicultural program for our children.It is sooo hard to find good materials for small children that discuss other cultures.This book was excellent.The children loved it and so did I.

It not only taught about the differences but it also had Japanese words strewn throughout the book.It also had a very simplistic pronunciation key so that I didn't need to skip a beat while reading.One of our children who is from Japan and his mother came in while I was reading.The mother understands very little english but was very pleased with the book.The book ends on such a loving note.I wish they had books like this for every culture.

I thank the authors for such a book.

4-0 out of 5 stars "Adjusting to a New Culture"
Gregory moves with his Japanese father and Caucasian mother from San Francisco to Japan.The author captures the boy's eagerness for adventure, yet his timidity as he faces the unknown.While Gregory and the reader learn "the way they do it in Japan," they will learn to speak some Japanese words.

The author has depicted loving parents who do all they can to help their son fit in to a new way of life.The surprise comes in the end when Gregory's classmates learn "the way they do it in America."

A great book to encourage children to value another culture.Adult and child will gain information about Japan that could lead to a whole unit of study.But what I liked best was the author's theme of love and friendship, where there could be fear and alienation.The principles of the book could be applied to the study of any culture.

4-0 out of 5 stars First Graders Read It Again and Again
The Way We Do It In Japan is a warm story relating a child's honest and positive reactions to his family's move from
San Francisco to Tokyo, Japan.Gregory's experiences and reactions to new and unfamiliar situations prompted much discussion in my first grade classroom.Every child identified with Gregory on some level.This book was a welcome re-read in my classroom! ... Read more

16. Japan - Culture Smart!: a quick guide to customs and etiquette (Culture Smart!)
by Paul Norbury
Paperback: 168 Pages (2006-09-05)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$5.31
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1857333098
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Editorial Review

Book Description
Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. These concise guides tell you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships.

Culture Smart! offers illuminating insights into the culture and society of a particular country. It will help you to turn your visit-whether on business or for pleasure-into a memorable and enriching experience. Contents include

* customs, values, and traditions
* historical, religious, and political background
* life at home
* leisure, social, and cultural life
* eating and drinking
* do's, don'ts, and taboos
* business practices
* communication, spoken and unspoken

"Culture Smart has come to the rescue of hapless travellers." Sunday Times Travel

"... the perfect introduction to the weird, wonderful and downright odd quirks and customs of various countries." Global Travel

"...full of fascinating-as well as common-sense-tips to help you avoid embarrassing faux pas." Observer

"...as useful as they are entertaining." Easyjet Magazine

"...offer glimpses into the psyche of a faraway world." New York Times
... Read more

17. Japan Style: Architecture+Interiors+Design
by Geeta Mehta, Kimie Tada
Hardcover: 224 Pages (2005-02-15)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$25.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0804835926
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Book Description
Enter the world of the stylish Japanese house, where every object in sight is a work of art.Japan Style introduces 20 special residences.With more than 200 color photographs, this book showcases the stunning beauty of old homes, and reveals how they are cared for by their owners.
Traditional Japanese homes, with superbly crafted fine wood, great workmanship and seasonal interior arrangements, have an aesthetic of infinite simplicity. Unlike Japanese inns and historical buildings, the houses featured in this book are private property and are not open to public viewing. Japan Style offers a rare glimpse into the intimate world of the everyday Japanese and fascinating insight into the traditional architecture of Japan.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Indeed an outstanding book
Like one of the other reviewers, I own quite a few books on Japanese houses and architecture.This is an outstanding example, with very beautiful high quality photography and printing, as well as a great selection of houses I have not seen before.Most are traditional, but a few are modern.I am glad I bought this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book worth every cent
Beautifully illustrated with tons of large pictures of houses and gardens on every page with notes on each one.Very tastefully put together.Great style which epicts beautiful Japanese living in a more contemporary way.An excellent book for anyone wanting ideas on how to decorate their home or garden in the typical Japanese or Asian style. Also makes a wonderful coffee table book.Very pleased that I bought this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiration for western architects and craftsmen
Among our collection of a dozen or more illustrated books about Japanese architecture and design, this is by far the best. The exquisite photographs are accompanied by a thorough yet interesting explanation of the various traditional styles found in Japanese architecture.
Although the emphasis is upon traditional homes, the volume also includes examples of the adaptation of these styles to elegant homes in Japan today. Be forewarned, however, many of the homes illustrated, both very old and modern, are far more spacious than middle-class Japanese are able to enjoy, even those living in rural Japan.
When our present home, blending Japanese and Craftsman influences, is finished, we will give this book to our architects and contractor as tokens of our appreciation.
(By the way, this reviewer lived in Japan for ten years.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book on Real Japanese Interiors
Beautiful photos of great interiors.Mostly traditional Japanese homes as they are currently lived in.Features homes with collections of traditional Japanese crafts.Also, some modern homes designed with Japanese aesthetic.I would also recommend the book "Japanese Style". ... Read more

18. Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs)
by Richard J. Samuels
Hardcover: 277 Pages (2007-08-02)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$18.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0801446120
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Book Description
For the past sixty years, the U.S. government has assumed thatJapan's security policies would reinforce American interests in Asia. Thepolitical and military profile of Asia is changing rapidly, however.Korea's nuclear program, China's rise, and the relative decline of U.S.power have commanded strategic review in Tokyo just as these matters havein Washington. What is the next step for Japan's security policy? Willconfluence with U.S. interests--and the alliance--survive intact? Will thepolicy be transformed? Or will Japan become more autonomous?

Richard J. Samuels demonstrates that over the last decade, a revisionistgroup of Japanese policymakers has consolidated power. The Koizumigovernment of the early 2000s took bold steps to position Japan's militaryto play a global security role. It left its successor, the Abe government,to further define and legitimate Japan's new grand strategy, a project wellunder way-and vigorously contested both at home and in the region.

Securing Japan begins by tracing the history of Japan's grandstrategy--from the Meiji rulers, who recognized the intimate connectionbetween economic success and military advance, to the Konoye Consensus thatled to Japan's defeat in World War II and the postwar compact with theUnited States. Samuels shows how the ideological connections across thesewars and agreements help explain today's debate. He then explores Japan'srecent strategic choices, arguing that Japan will ultimately strike abalance between national strength and national autonomy, a position thatwill allow it to exist securely without being either too dependent on theUnited States or too vulnerable to threats from China.

Samuels's insights into Japanese history, society, and politics have beenhoned over a distinguished career and enriched by interviews withpolicymakers and original archival research. Securing Japan is a definitiveassessment of Japanese security policy and its implications for the futureof East Asia. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Charting Japan's Political Scene
Securing Japan has always been the central axis of Japanese political life, and it very much remains so today. There is a remarkable continuity in the debates surrounding Japanese security. Ideas are connected across time, and so are people: heirs to political traditions are often the direct offsprings of politicians from bygone eras, and they tend to reenact on the contemporary scene the political dramas played by their ancestors.

As Richard Samuels notes, the security policy preferences of contemporary Japanese actors can be sorted along two axes. The first is a measure of the value placed on the alliance with the United States. The second refers to the willingness to use force in international affairs, which is currently prohibited by the constitution.

Of the four categories sorted by these two axes, two are fringe actors. Neo-autonomists flirt with Japan's imperial past and resent the US military presence, but they never attracted any significant following. Pacifists are a shadow of their former self, having had to swallow the disavowal of their core beliefs by the now defunct Socialist Party, but they retain some influence in the education system and in the media.

The two main actors that vie for supremacy both favor a close embrace with the US, but they differ on how to pursue national prestige. Those who believe Japan should be a "normal nation" argue that national strength is the key to national prestige, and favor a loosening of the constraints imposed by article 9 of the constitution. Opposing them are the "middle power internationalists" who believe that Japan must remain a merchant power with self-imposed limits on its right to belligerency.

All four groups seek security for Japan, but each closely associates security with a different value: neo-autonomists seek security with sovereignty, pacifists security with peace. Normal nation-alists want security with equality; middle power internationalists seek security through prosperity.

The author introduces more subtle distinctions within these categories. Those who want Japan to be a "normal nation" have tended to dominate contemporary policy debates, but they often differ on what normalcy really means. The first perspective is offered by Ichiro Ozawa, who consistently advocates that the Japanese military should be strengthened but deployed only under the banner of UN peacekeeping operations. Then come the hard-boiled realists, who want to make the alliance with the US more reciprocal, while keeping in mind that an alliance lasts only as long as it serves the national interest. Third among this category, the revisionists are a romantic lot who view Japan as a beautiful nation, but who feel less apologetic than most politicians about Japan's imperial past and especially about war crimes, thereby causing anger in neighboring countries and some embarrassment in the US.

Likewise, middle power internationalists are divided between mercantile realists, who believe that Japan should continue to eschew military power and remain close to the United States for its security, and "Asianists" who accept the alliance, in some cases grudgingly, but believe that Japanese policy should strike a better balance between the US and Japan's neighbors. Asianists therefore seek to build regional institutions to counterbalance US unilateralism and to accommodate the rise of China.

This book is a recommended read for all persons who try to decipher Japan's contemporary political scene. Even in a fast changing environment, where the old system is brought to an end and everything seems to be in flux, Richard Samuels' Securing Japan should remain a reference for the years to come. ... Read more

19. A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Japan and North-East Asia
by Tadao Shimba
Paperback: 504 Pages (2008-03-03)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$40.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0300135564
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

20. Bad Girls of Japan
Paperback: 240 Pages (2005-12-10)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$25.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1403969477
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Book Description
Are bad girls casualties of patriarchy, a necessary evil, or visionary pioneers? By tracing the concept of the bad girl in Japan as a product of specific cultural assumptions and historical settings, Bad Girls of Japan maps new roads and old detours in revealing a disorderly politics of gender. The essays explore deviancy in richly diverse media. Mountain witches, murderers, performance artists, cartoonists, schoolgirls, and shoppers gone wild are all part of the terrain. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars if you are interested in Japanese culture...
This is an excellent review ofd contemporary girl culture that is vital to comprehending what is going on in current society. The cover imaage is an amazing peice by a great AJpanese Art Star and the images inside are excellent and well chosen. This is a must have for any collection. ... Read more

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