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21. Whirlwind: The Air War Against
22. At Home in Japan: A Foreign Woman's
23. Japan: Its History and Culture
24. Contemporary Japan: History, Politics,
25. A History of Japan, Second Edition:
26. Japan (Insight Guides)
27. Modern Japan: A Very Short Introduction
28. Japan: An Illustrated History
29. Lost Japan (Travel Literature)
30. The Way We Do It in Japan
31. Japan Fashion Now
32. Pink Box: Inside Japan's Sex Clubs
33. Hiking in Japan (Walking)
34. A Cook's Journey to Japan: Fish
35. Japan's Policy Trap: Dollars,
36. Look What Came from Japan
37. CultureShock! Japan: A Survival
38. Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan
39. Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand
40. The Making of Modern Japan

21. Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan, 1942-1945
by Barrett Tillman
Hardcover: 336 Pages (2010-03-02)
list price: US$28.00 -- used & new: US$5.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1416584404
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
WHIRLWIND is the first book to tell the complete, awe-inspiring story of the Allied air war against Japan—the most important strategic bombing campaign inhistory. From the audacious Doolittle raid in 1942 to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, award-winning historian Barrett Tillman recounts the saga from the perspectives of American and British aircrews who flew unprecedented missions overthousands of miles of ocean, as well as of the generalsand admirals who commanded them.

Whether describing the experiences of bomber crews based in China or the Marianas, fighter pilotson Iwo Jima, or carrier aviators at sea, Tillman provides vivid details of the lives of the fliers and their support personnel. Whirlwind takes readers into the cockpits and gun turrets of the mighty B-29 Superfortress, the largest bomber built up to that time. Tillman dramatically re-creates the sweep of wartime emotions that crews endured on fifteen-hour missions, grappling with the extreme tedium of cramped spaces and with adrenaline spikes in flak-studded skies, knowing that a bailout would put them at the mercy of a merciless enemy or an unforgiving sea.

A major character is the controversial and brilliant General Curtis LeMay, who rewrote strategic bombing tactics. His command’s fire-bombing missions incinerated fully half of Tokyo and many other cities, crippling Japan’s industry while still failing to force surrender.

Whirlwind examines the immense logistics and construction efforts necessary to support Superfortresses in Asia and the Mariana Islands, as well as the tireless efforts of engineers to build huge air bases from scratch.It also describes the unheralded missions that American bomber crews flew from the Aleutian Islands to Japan’s northernmost Kuril Islands.

Never has the Japanese side of the story been so thoroughly examined. If Washington, D.C., represented a “second front” in Army-Navy rivalry, the situation in Tokyo approached a full-contact sport. Tillman’s description of Japan’s willfully inadequate approach to civil defense is eye-opening. Similarly, he examines the mind-set in Tokyo’s war cabinet, which ignored the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, requiring the emperor’s personal intervention to avert a ghastly Allied invasion.

Tillman shows how, despite the Allies’ ultimate success, mistakes and shortsighted policies made victory more costly in lives and effort. He faults the lack of a unified command for allowing the Army Air Forces and the Navy to pursue parochial goals at the expense of the larger mission, and he questions the premature commitment of the enormously sophisticated B-29 to the most primitive theater in India and China.

Whirlwind is one of the last histories of World War II written with the contribution of men who fought in it.With unexcelled macro- and microperspectives, Whirlwind is destined to become a standard reference on the war, on multiservice operations, and on the human capacity for individual heroism and national folly. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and informative
When the Japanese Empire launched its war against the United States on December 7, 1941, it literally had no idea what it was getting itself into. Having sown the wind, it reaped a whirlwind of destruction. This is the story of the American air war against Imperial Japan.

This book covers everything from Jimmy Doolittle's 1942 raid on Tokyo, through the changes in American strategy as the war tide of the war turned against Japan. It covers both the strategic bombing carried on by the heavy bombers of the U.S. Army Air Corps, and the more tactical operations carried on by carrier aircraft of the U.S. Navy. Along the way, the reader is treated to many interesting discussions of such things as the history of the theory of strategic bombing, and the Japanese government's horrifying lack of preparations for modern warfare.

Overall, I found this book to be very interesting. The author did a great job of bringing the war to life, and presenting it in an interesting and informative manner. If you want to really understand the strategic war fought against the Japanese home islands, then you really must get this book. I highly recommend it!

4-0 out of 5 stars A good, readable summary of the air attacks against the Japan home islands
Don't be fooled by the cover - this book is not solely about the B-29 bomber offensive. Instead, it's a book that addresses the air war against the Japanese home islands and the surrounding coastal waters in all its forms, including naval air strikes. While comprehensive in scope, it is not particularly deep or detailed. Mr. Tillman keeps the prose very readable, even for the casual historian. Mr. Tillman also raises questions about the value of different air activities, such as the naval air strikes against the remains of the Japanese fleet. And of course, he also addresses the issues surrounding the atomic bombs. Overall, I found this book very light, readable, informative, and sometimes insightful. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent work
"Whirlwind" is an excellent book which connects the Army Air Force and USN air campaigns against Japan proper. While not as detailed from a technical and doctrinal point of view such as Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully, it provides a comprehensive view of the campaign.Mr. Tillman writes clearly and effectively and to the point."Whirlwind" complements Sir Max Hastings' work on the fall of Japan titled Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45 (Vintage).

5-0 out of 5 stars An engaging story of aerial combat
Mr Tillman, the prolific author, specializes in planes, aerial combat and the Pacific War. In "Whirlwind", the new deadly B-29 takes center stage in helping the US defeat the Japanese in the last year of the war. The B-29 was specifically developed with that aim in mind. It had to fly farther, higher and have a larger load capacity than any current bomber. The B-17 which had been the workhorse in Europe couldn't handle the great distances that were required in the vast Pacific theater. Mustangs are also included in this story as being the best fighters in the war. The B-29s and Mustangs were two great innovations that were created during the war that truly gave the Allies an advantage. The Japanese with few modest exceptions were still using the same planes at the end of the war as they started the war. The story is also about the rise and recognition of US air power among the other services. The USAAF thought and deserved a separate and equal service from the Army and Navy and this story is also about their efforts to bring this about.

The author describes the 2.5 billion B-29 development program, the extended testing / debugging program that would take the lives of a number of key people and with the plane being so much larger than anything currently in use with innovations not seen before, a new training / service program was also required.
After most of the bugs were cleared up, the bomber made it debut trial flying out of China but didn't have an auspicious beginning but eventually the bomber became reliable. As the Marianas and Iwo Jima were captured, the plane became indispensable in a mammoth bombing campaign to subdue the home islands of Japan.
Though this story covers some of 5th Fleet's adventures and the Dolittle run, the predominate theme is the B-29 bombing campaign to force Japan to surrender before Operation Olympic had to launch.

The author has a very engaging style, which reminds me of Eric Hammel, and includes in his story the experiences of many pilots and crew during flying missions. These experiences were collected from survivor interviews and were meant to inform the public and to give tribute to those warriors. Other key people will include Arnold, Spaatz, Tibbets, Hansell and of course the indispensable Curtis LeMay. Before LeMay took over the B-29 Bombing Campaign had not achieved stellar results as hoped. LeMay came in and turned the campaign around, raising standards and morale, improving training and maintenance and changing bombing tactics. The bombing coverage culminates with the dropping of the two atomic weapons in early August 1945. On the navy side, Mitscher, McCain, Nimitz and others are discussed in how the navy was instrumental in working indirectly with the USAAF in destroying Japanese resistance and spheres of influence in the Pacific. It worked the other way as well. Advanced aerial bombing would often soften up invasion sights. So often the Navy and Air Force didn't always agree but one's success often helped the other service as well.

Besides describing the harrowing experience of a bombing run with AA fire coming up at you and Japanese fighters trying to knock you out of sky by fire or suicide run, the exciting descriptions of dog fights are also included.
More than once does the author describe the importance of capturing Guam, Tinian, Siapan, Iwo Jima for their air fields and how the closer to Japan we got, the more effective the B-29 runs were.

In the last chapter the author talks about the morality of fire bombing Tokyo, carpet bombing or using atomic power to vanquish the Japan and sees such actions as regrettable but necessary against the Japanese implacable attitude. The author also discusses the theory that was prevalent in both theaters that aerial bombing alone could win the war and disagrees with that premise. Bombing alone, causing massive destruction and killing many civilians didn't bring Germany or Japan to their knees, even after years of bombing.
While this story is American driven, the author includes periodically the thoughts and expectations of the Japanese in stopping the American advance.

The author provides Notes and Index and also includes a Table of Japanese aircraft with Allied Code names which was very helpful.
This was a very interesting and informative story that most people who are interested in either WWII or aerial combat will appreciate and is highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A vivid story perfect for any military history collection
WHIRLWIND: THE AIR WAR AGAINST JAPAN 1942-1945 tells for the first time the entire story of the Allied bombardment of Japan, using the words of pilots, flight crews, mechanics, generals and veterans to tell both sides of the experience. His assessment of experiences, strategy, tactics and moral issues provides a vivid story perfect for any military history collection.
... Read more

22. At Home in Japan: A Foreign Woman's Journey of Discovery
by Rebecca Otowa
Hardcover: 176 Pages (2010-05-10)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$12.34
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 4805310782
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

At Home in Japan tells the true story of a foreign woman who has been, for 30 years, the housewife, custodian and chatelaine of a 350-year-old farmhouse in rural Japan. This astonishing book traces a circular path, from the basic physical details of life in the house and village, through relationships with family, neighbors and the natural and supernatural entities with whom the family shares the house. Rebecca Otowa then focuses on her inner life, touching on some of the pivotal memories of her time in Japan, the lessons in
perception that Japan has taught her and, finally, the ways in which she has been changed by living in Japan.

An insightful and compelling read, At Home in Japan is a beautifully written and illustrated reminiscence of a simple life made extraordinary.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars I learned so much
All the little essays in this book gave me more insight into the Japanese culture. This is not a book about living in a large city. This is a book about rural living, which most of us seldom consider when we think of Japan. This is a story about a community and how Rebecca Otowa navigated it, adapted to it, and made it her own.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Journey of Self-Discovery
Rebecca Otowa moved to Australia when she was twelve; here she met a Japanese man whom she eventually married, settling in his ancestral home in Japan. I can guess how challenging that must have been. I have many Japanese friends who moved to the US after marrying American servicemen; and, through their experiences, I know how difficult it has been for them to learn English, American traditions, and driving a car. I thoroughly respect Otowa's efforts to do the same in Japan. She tried diligently to learn Japanese traditions, ways of gardening, cooking, reading, writing, and speaking. She learned the art of wearing kimono while taking a course in the tea ceremony as well as how to behave while wearing it; later she wore one at her wedding.

This memoir, filled with poetic writing and descriptions, chronicles Otowa's progress in assimilating into Japanese society. About cherry blossoms in spring, she says, "The sweet five-petaled, papery whitish flowers, sewn together in the center with a cross-stitch of pink, nod and shimmer on long, fragile green bunches of stems standing out against the rough and flaky bark with its characteristic horizontal bands." Without cynicism, criticism, or whining, Otowa embarks on a journey of discovery, raising two sons in the process. She includes lovely pencil sketches of her home, gardens, tea sets, Japanese written characters with translations, flowers, and friends. In addition, there are photographs of Otowa's environment, family, wedding, and children.

Otawa writes about how she volunteers to help others adjust to Japanese life and compares it to the bed of seedlings that she transplanted from a small crowded flat to the big field: "I like to think that I have helped some of them too, as they put down their roots. Now, decades later, I am a strong tree, my roots are deep. I love the taste of Japanese air and water, the particular angle and strength of Japanese sunlight, the changes of Japanese seasons."

Now that her sons have entered adulthood, Otowa celebrates her transition to Japanese life in this memoir. But she is still American in many ways. Finally after observing other younger women wearing kimono, Otowa says, "I'll never be Japanese, and now I can see that truth clearly and without regret. I've decided not to wear kimono any more--it's a kind of symbol of my self-acceptance." For anyone who is looking for that kind of peace and security, At Home in Japan shows one path to that goal.

by Susan M. Andrus
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women

5-0 out of 5 stars A Quiet Joy to Read
Written with quiet class, elegance, and grace.Reading it is a delightful experience.How lucky that home is to have her as a caretaker. I hope she'll write more.I would like to know if her oldest son and his family will eventually move into the house.

I am hoping that the published name of the author is not her real last name.I'm afraid she'll have crowds of people knocking on her door.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Cross-Cultural Journey
This woman is an absolute trooper for crossing into a complex culture, taking the most traditional role of a village housewife and mother.Few people would be comfortable in a small Japanese farm village where social customs stretch back hundreds of years, complete with communal plots, ancient festivals and obligatory religious and familial duties.

The simplicity of this book's language and serial, "short story" style of organization give it a grace and pace that echos the nature and depth of this author's journey.It is a fascinating personal account written with frank dignity, love and understanding.

5-0 out of 5 stars One small voice in the vast We
Like many reasonably educated women secretly would, I suppose, I picked up this book thinking, "Why would a Western woman consciously DO this to herself, move to a country where she is effectively effaced?Where she'll be gaijin forever?"And in several dozen vignettes, Rebecca Otowa never quite answers me.

Instead, her small gem-like meditations hint at a vast transformation based on seasons and rhythms of existence that even I, who live in the country, can only guess at. While we American women were creating prickly self-identities and fighting (we think) for our own place, Rebecca has been busy voluntarily subsuming herself into a graceful and very difficult stasis with a culture entirely antithetical to American sensibilities. That she's even half-succeeded is a miracle.

From her hard-won perch she observes this war--a war within herself.We know very little about Toshiro, her husband, or her two boys, and we don't need to.Unlike most Westerners, Rebecca knows her failings are her own.The book's beauty is--perhaps a little self-consciously--like "wabi sabi", the Japanese aesthetic of the irregular, impoverished or plain.

Interestingly, the result of her undated pieces--almost wholly without reference to the outside past, without a narrative chronological order--is a strange suspension: like a Japanese garden, her life could have been built yesterday, or 500 years ago.This beautiful antiquity is buttressed by Otowa's language: OUR ancestors, OUR house, OUR garden.I found myself shocked a little, and thrilled--in America, to claim ancestry of a race or group you patently are not of is....rude, disrespectful.But there I go again, thinking of the individual experience.See?I wouldn't last one day in Japan!

The star of the book, aside from the culture and nature, is definitely that house--a 350-year old farmhouse of which there are many photos."His" life, which grows and shrinks with the generations, is as real as those he shelters.This would be a wonderful gift for the expat, the newly-married or anyone interested in the Otherness of our brothers on this planet. And by that, I don't mean the Japanese! I mean ourselves.
... Read more

23. Japan: Its History and Culture
by W. Scott Morton, J. Kenneth Olenik, Charlton Lewis
Paperback: 336 Pages (2004-06-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$9.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071412808
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Once a star of postwar industrial production and methods,Japan has encountered serious trouble with market forces inrecent years. Social changes and departures from tradition arebecoming more common in this conservative country. Therevised edition of the popular work, Japan: Its History andCulture, Fourth Edition, documents and explains thesechanges. Seamlessly blending current events, politics, andcultural elements, the authors provide a riveting account ofa nation often misunderstood by the West.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting
This was an interesting and broad overview of Japanese history and culture. It was very informative to the casual reader, but to readers who know a lot about the culture and history it was a fairly basic review. It covered a lot of information in such a short amount of space. I would recommend this book to the extreme anime fans who know nothing about Japanese culture outside of its anime.

4-0 out of 5 stars Seems like a servicable introduction to Japanese history
There's no way you can expect a book of this length (about 300 pages) to fully cover the history of a civilization as ancient, rich, and varied as Japan, but this book does a good job of providing a fairly comprehensive introduction into the main trends in Japanese culture from prehistory to the modern day.As might be expected, the events of the 19th and 20th centuries occupy a considerable amount of the book, and a substantial percentage of the end of the book, which covers post-World War II Japan, was written by Olenik, who Morton specifically brought on to cover parts of modern Japanese culture which Morton is not an expert in.(The change in style is noticeable.)

Because this book is covering so much history in such a small number of pages, very few events are written about in detail.There is considerable discussion about the historical evolution of the cultural aspects of Japanese civilization (as opposed to the political or military), and the authors do a good job of emphasizing the particular nature of the shogunate and why the military used to hold so much power in Japan.By the end of the book, the authors also discuss the economic and pop culture aspects of Japan, which is appropriate in light of their status in the modern world.

If you're already reasonably well-versed in Japanese history, then this book isn't for you.The intended audience is probably students in an introduction to Japanese or East Asian history class, or perhaps the reasonably educated layperson who is ignorant about the main trends of Japanese history but is interested in learning more.As other reviewers have mentioned, this book provides a good foundation from which to start learning more about Japan.

2-0 out of 5 stars So dull
I love readinf about Japan, but this book was so bland, so unengrosing, that I put it down. Twice, I tried to go back to read it, but to no avail. If you like Japan, and everything it has to offer7 you'll want to avoid this book at all costs.

1-0 out of 5 stars corruption of information
This book was written by W. Scott Morton and J. Kenneth Olenik.
I never want to purchase anything from these authors again. The
material in the book contains very incorrect and slanderous information, as well as a failure to provide relevant information, concerning Nichiren Daishonin and Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism. I know this for a fact because I am a member of the Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, which is True Mahayana Buddhism, with the Head Temple based in Japan. I have been to the Head Temple twice before, and to the temples in the United States, several times since joining in 1984. The Nichiren Shoshu is NOT political, as the authors present in their book.And Nichiren Daishonin was not political, either, as the authors present. Nor do the authors present the material in a responsible and informative manner, which would be the only suitable manner, especially for persons of their standing in the educational field. To understand the times and the culture of the country at the time, and the circumstances that Nichiren Daishonin was contending with, and to obtain CORRECT information on the actual beliefs and practice, the only reliable source would be the Nichiren Shoshu temples themselves.
Considering the interwoven relationships of religion and politics, and their supportive or non-supportive roles in research, science, medical, etc., fields and their overrall effect on influencing societal behaviors, this is an extremely serious error of the authors.
Not only am I so very dissatisfied with the information they presented, I am also very dissatisfied with their presentation of it.Based on this, I cannot trust their other information either, especially in reference to comments concerning the corruption of U.S. contractors, and the Japanese government, and similiar topics. Even if the information presented on those topics were correct, my question then becomes "Who is the corruptive force behind it all?".I refuse to provide support of any kind to the authors.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Short Cultural History
This books seeks to give the reader a broad grasp of the space of Japan's cultural history. Important names and dates are mentioned in connection with their cultural accomplishments. More than simply telling who killed whom in what war and when, this book gives the reader a vague understanding of how Japan's customs, architecture, art, and prose evolved into the form they are today.

This book is best for those who know next to nothing about the history of Japan and would like an outline with which to proceed to learn more. ... Read more

24. Contemporary Japan: History, Politics, and Social Change since the 1980s (Blackwell History of the Contemporary World)
by Jeff Kingston
Paperback: 328 Pages (2010-08-24)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$27.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1405191937
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Contemporary Japan: History, Politics and Social Change since the 1980s presents a comprehensive examination of the causes of the Japanese economic bubble in the late 1980s and the socio-political consequences of the recent financial collapse.

  • Represents the only book to examine in depth the turmoil of Japan since Emperor Hirohito died in 1989, the Cold War ended, and the economy collapsed
  • Provides an assessment of Japan's dramatic political revolution of 2009
  • Analyzes how risk has increased in Japan, undermining the sense of security and causing greater disparities in society
  • Assesses Japan's record on the environment, the consequences of neo-liberal reforms, immigration policies, the aging society, the US alliance, the Imperial family, and the 'yakuza' criminal gangs 

... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but light treatment of Japan's social problems
For an academic, Prof. Kingston writes in an almost conversational style, so this is an easy, entertaining read about many of Japan's social problems. It is unfortunate that this easy read is marred by sloppy editing in places (e.g. misplaced commas and missing hyphens etc.).

I would characterize this book as a broad analysis of Japan's contemporary problems rather than an in-depth analysis. Prof. Kingston covers a lot of ground (immigration, healthcare, crime, families, women in the workforce etc.) but the analysis generally does not go much further than a synopsis of the many social issues discussed so frequently, and often in considerable depth, in the Japanese media (the "working poor", child abuse in Japan, demographics etc.). For an audience that does not have access to Japanese sources, the summaries of each social problem may be of help, but for specialists and those seeking more answers, Prof. Kingston often leaves off where the analysis needs to be more precise and thorough.

For instance, on crime, Prof. Kingston subscribes, without presenting any evidence, to the liberal-fascist dogma (epitomized by The Economist magazine) that foreigners in Japan commit no more crime than the Japanese despite the perception among Japanese that an influx of foreigners will lead to a soaring of crime rates, but there is ample statistical evidence to suggest that foreigners (mainly Asian mainland gangs that have infiltrated here) are responsible for a disproportionately high percentage of serious crime (thefts, murders and burglaries). This debate needs to be examined in much greater detail if the reader is not to be left simply having to decide between foreign liberal perceptions vs. Japanese perceptions.

Further, on immigration, Prof. Kingston accepts uncritically the liberal-fascist dogma that Japan needs much more immigration (although he acknowledges that the Japanese don't like the idea) and extols the merits of immigration for Japan without examining the considerable number of negatives associated with mass/large-scale immigration. A deeper analysis would also take into account these negatives, which were articulated most eloquently by Anthony Browne (in his essay, "The Folly of Mass Immigration"), whose arguments would strike a chord with most Japanese. Japan is such a pleasant place to live in partly because it is not diverse, but racially and culturally homogeneous to a high degree. One of the results of this is that there is a delightful lack of religious, racial and ethnic tensions so common and tiresome elsewhere. A deeper analysis needs to examine how this harmony can be maintained, and how the problems with mass immigration being manifested in, say Europe, can be avoided, without enforcing a dogma of "diversity is good" on Japan (especially at a time when Europeans are now starting to acknowledge that multi-culturalism "doesn't work") and while addressing its problems with alleged labor/skill shortages in certain areas.

All in all, a good light read that will bring readers up to speed on the main social issues facing Japan. Think of Contemporary Japan as a primer that prepares the reader for the in-depth debates on Japan's future that lie ahead.

... Read more

25. A History of Japan, Second Edition: From Stone Age to Superpower
by Kenneth G. Henshall
Paperback: 320 Pages (2004-12-03)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1403912726
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In a rare combination of comprehensive coverage and sustained critical focus, this book examines Japanese history in its entirety to identify the factors underlying the nation's progression to superpower status. Japan's achievement is explained not merely in economic terms, but at a more fundamental level, as a product of historical patterns of response to circumstance. Japan is shown to be a nation historically impelled by a pragmatic determination to succeed. The book also highlights unresolved questions and little-known facts.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

2-0 out of 5 stars Lost in Translation
Something happened when they made this e-book. If you hit the back button it goes back more than several pages. I test 3 other book in my kindle library, no other books did this.Also paragraph spacing is off, at least 5 line spacing on more than a few paragraphs. Very annoying. Maybe they rush this. Trying to get a refund now.As for the book itself... 3 stars but I finished it in paperback (same cost) and I can loan it too a friend who might find it more interesting than I did.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fine addition to any world history collection
Isolated from the world, even mostly isolated from its neighbors. "A History of Japan: From Stone Age to Superpower" traces the history of Japan from its root in prehistory and the first people to set foot on the land across a land bridge from China to its time as a Superpower that challenged the world a little more than 50 years ago. A long, complete and comprehensive history of those involved, it's a solid overview of one of the more unique countries of the world. "A History of Japan" is a fine addition to any world history collection.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good overview of Japanese history
I got the Kindle version of this book to get a basic overview of Japanese history, and it's exactly what I was looking for. It reads like a textbook, which is kind of what I needed.

The writing is on the dry side, but the history is so amazing that it's still fun to read.

The only slightly annoying thing is that it uses an embedded font on the Kindle version that is very glitchy. The capital letter "H" is frequently split in half, with a huge gap between both halves of the letter. Also, the font is just not the best I've seen on the Kindle. It's a serif font, but the bottom of the circle that makes a lower-case "b" becomes so thin at the bottom that it actually disappears.

I have other books that use an embedded serif font, which don't suffer from these typographic problems.

That said, I wouldn't let that stop me from buying the Kindle version, as the convenience of having it on your portable device outweighs the occasional typographical inconsistencies - and it's really a great book for getting a solid understanding of Japanese history.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to Japanese history
This book is my recent reading about Japanese history and I found it is written in a wonderfully succinct way. Japan's history ranges over almost 2,000 years only for its historical part. If anybody feels it is still difficult to summarize 200-year history of the United States into a few hundred pages, you will know how daunting task it is to summarize 2,000-year history of one of the most important countries of the current world into this comfortable volume. This book distributes proper weight to each period of Japanese history and does not disproportionately emphasizes its modern history in disregard of its ancient one. In fact, the author's narration of Japanese history flows with very clear connection in mind between its ancient display and its modern development. In this small volume (yet more or less 300 pages), every paragraph retains significance in relation to the entirety of Japanese history as the author recognizes it. One may choose a fact-ridden thick dry textbook type for his/her introduction to a country's history, but I believe you will get a more vivid sense of the politcal and cultural entity called Japan through this book than through a long enumeration of historical facts of Japan. This book has my hearty recommendation for anybody who begins to develop an interest in Japanese history and culture.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Overview of Japanese History
Henshall does an excellent job of providing a concise overview of Japanese history.The book is written in a very readable and engaging style and while a lot of material is covered in the limited number of pages he at the same time manages to tie it together in a coherent way.The benefit of this is that while it may not have depth you finish the book with the feeling that you have an understanding of what you have read as a whole.

Of particular value are the summaries at the end of each part and the tables listing key developments along with key values and practices in each period. ... Read more

26. Japan (Insight Guides)
by Insight Guides
Paperback: 400 Pages (2009-07-15)
list price: US$23.99 -- used & new: US$15.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9812820841
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
This new edition Insight Guide to Japan features illuminating text written by expert, local writers alongside inspiring full-colour photography, including over 250 brand new photographs that will bring Japan's people and places to life, at the turn of a page. The top attractions are highlighted to help you plan your trip priorities and a brand new 'Best of' section features recommendations on many exclusive experiences. An in-depth 'Places' section covers the entire country, region by region, with all the principal sites cross-referenced by number to accompanying full-colour maps throughout the guide. Additional maps inside the front and back covers enable instant orientation and easy navigation at a glance. Attractive colour-coded sections contain fascinating features that explore Japan's history and culture. A comprehensive 'Travel Tips' section provides essential practical information, covering transport, visas and passports, accommodation for all budgets, climate, the arts, shopping, language and much more, along with useful contact telephone numbers to help you book activities in advance.The unique combination of insightful exploration alongside practical advice means that this guide truly is a pleasure to read before, during and after your visit. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great, with lots of useful info on Japan's cultural and social background!
Insight Guides Japan, 5th Edition, 2008
Edited by Alyse Dar
Apa Publications GmbH & Co. Verlag KG
ISBN 978-981-282-084-6

For 40 years, Insight Guides has been at the forefront of travel guides, offering accurate, reliable information to various destinations around the world in its extensive series of award-winning guidebooks. "Insight Guides Japan" continues this tradition, as the complexities concerning the Land of the Rising Sun are unlocked in yet another entertaining and INSIGHTful offering from Apa Publications. The Japanese archipelago is one of the most fascinating places in the world, though it continues to baffle seasoned visitors and first-timers alike. Utilizing the method of merging full-color photography with text which it pioneered in the 1970s, Insight Guides gives the reader not only reliable and practical information on itinerant destinations, but a better understanding into the land of Sushi and Anime from a historical and cultural standpoint. There are healthy doses of essays and mini-factoids written by local experts on the subjects covered, including history, geography, people, performing arts, culture and food. One of the many mis-conceptions I've always had of of Japan was that it had the highest suicide rate in the world, which the guide points out is considerably lower than that of Finland's. I was also surprised to discover that the baseball pitch count in Japan is recorded in the reverse order of its U.S. counterpart, and that Okinawan Sake is made using Thai Rice. These and other captivating articles on the Japanese Garden, Religion, Sumo, and Kimonos are just the tip of the iceberg. In the "Places" section, destinations are often accompanied with commentary on historical and cultural background. From Tokyo's Ginza to Kyoto's temples, from the mist-shrouded serenity of Nikko to the snow-capped mountains of Hokkaido and the tropical islands of Okinawa, it's all here. Complimenting this wonderful resource are the beautifully rendered, full-colored maps with sites that are easily cross-referenced in conjunction with the text and vice-versa. The back of the book provides a plethora of usefulinfo; the "Travel Tips" section advises on how to get around, an A-Z index of practical information, accommodation, and restaurant listings with up-to-date pricing and rates. Rounding out the excursion are website listings and a Further Reading list of recommended books on anything and everything about Japan.

If you want a guide with the typical tourist trap listings, then by all means pick up a copy of Lonely Planet, or Fodor's Japan. If you're like me and are looking for something deeper, maybe learn a thing or two about this country's history, culture, and customs, you'll find it in "Insight Guides Japan", arguably the best travel guide ever written on Japan. My only regret is that I didn't have a copy on hand during a visit a few years back. It would've made my trip a much more pleasurable experience...5 STARS

5-0 out of 5 stars Japan's traveler - one of the best books
Have been living in Japan for over 3 years. Then came back home. After few years I wanted to keep my knowledge of Japan and the various places to visit, restaurants and roads.

This is book is amazing in details, very accurate, all pages are color, all pages comes with loads of images and details about Japan.

I have been searching and comparing many traveler guide books to Japan. And this one come easily on the top [for non Japanese speaker]

Highly recommended, Happy reading :)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best guides for Japan
I am planning a trip to Japan next spring; after examining many guides, I am glad I bought this one.It's current, beautifully organized and well illustrated with nice photography.I never bought Insight guides before, but this one will not be my last.

5-0 out of 5 stars First trip to Japan spring Break 08
We just got back from Japan 3 days ago it was a wonderful two weeks.This book was a tremendous help.It has wonderful maps details of things to see on the maps.It even mentions train stations to help you get to where you are going.It goes thru the history of Japan as well a great section on the most popular places to see and eat at in Japan.

It gives wonderful information like the Shinjuku Station is the busiest in Japan with over 3 million people passing thru it each and every day.We experienced that when we went to see the Shinjuku Gyoen.There were so many people everywhere and you felt packed like a sardine but it was exciting to be apart of that experience.They actually have people there that will shove people into the train so that they can get as many people on as possible.Its crazy!

Every night we would sit in our room with this book and our train map and plan out what we were doing the next day.With this book and an english train map Japan was at our finger tips!I am actually purchasing the compliments to this book on Tokyo and the street map all made by insight for our return trip in June.


Between the years 1962 and 1964 I had residence in Japan at Kamiseya, a scenic, rural, farmland area on the Kanto Plain, in the Tokyo/Yokohama area, 16 km from Yokohama).I have never forgotten either the daily living experience or Japan itself, but doubting a return ever to Japan, I now use these guides as reading material on a Japan 40 plus years removed from the country I knew. I am amazed at the difference between the Japan of the mid 1960s I knew and the Japan of 2009.

Having the 1st edition, and the later 3rd edition, of this Insight Guide I can say for my use this is the best guide I would want for Japan.Each person needs judge according to personal taste and for the travel they will be doing, but for overall information this is one fine reference guide.Should I ever be blessed enough to return to Japan, one of these up-to-date books will be among many things I'd pack.

domo arigato gozaimasu

Semper Fi. ... Read more

27. Modern Japan: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Christopher Goto-Jones
Paperback: 144 Pages (2009-08-15)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$6.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0199235694
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Japan is arguably today's most successful industrial economy, combining almost unprecedented affluence with social stability and apparent harmony. Japanese goods and cultural products--from animated movies and computer games to cars, semiconductors, and management techniques--are consumed around the world. In many ways, Japan is an icon of the modern world, and yet it remains something of an enigma to many, who see it as a confusing montage of the alien and the familiar, the ancient and modern. This Very Short Introduction explodes the myths and explores the reality of modern Japan, offering a concise, engaging, and accessible look at the history, economy, politics, and culture of this fascinating nation. It examines what the term "modern" means to the Japanese, debunks the notion that Japan went through a period of total isolation from the world, and explores the continuity between pre- and post-war Japan. Anyone curious about this intriguing country will find a wealth of insight and information in these pages. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to Modern Japan
Modern Japan is one of the most enigmatic and intriguing countries in the world. A highly sophisticated society and an economic and technological superpower, Japan has maintained many aspects of its traditional values and lifestyle well into the twenty-first century. Part of the mystique of Japan lays in the fact that even though it has been officially open to the World for over a century and a half, Japan is still a very insular society. Not many people in the West get to travel to Japan, and Japanese popular culture (with few notable exceptions) is not all that familiar to Western audiences. In light of that, it is very helpful to get a better sense of Japan from a very authoritative short introduction such as this one.

The book is arranged chronologically, and starts with a brief history of Japan prior to its opening up and modernization in the nineteenth century. It proceeds with the arrival of commodore Perry and the subsequent Meiji restoration. The book is good in that it doesn't reinforce the conventional wisdom on these events, but it tries to give its own much more nuanced analysis of these events. Likewise, most of the twentieth century Japanese history is presented from a critical angle that tries to take into the account Japan's own perception and understanding of those events.

One of the particularly pleasing traits of this book is the attention that it gives to cultural and artistic developments. Many of Japan's most famous writers and artists have been spotlighted. However, I would have also liked if the book mentioned some of the greatest scientists of the twentieth century like Yukawa and Tomonaga, who have helped put Japanese science in the World map.

One problem that I have with the book is that in its effort to adopt the scholarly naming conventions it oftentimes makes the names of some Japanese historical figures unnecessarily confusing. Thus, Japanese emperor during WWII, who is known to the generations of westerners as Emperor Hirohito, is consistently referred to as Emperor Sowa. Likewise, the book also uses the convention in which surnames precede given names. This may be the correct way of rendering them and probably in line with Japanese convention, but to those of us who have been acquainted with Japanese cultural icons for many years it sounds quite a bit strange.

Overall, this is an interesting and informative book on Modern Japan. It is a very helpful first step in getting oneself acquainted with this fascinating country and its culture. ... Read more

28. Japan: An Illustrated History (Hippocrene Illustrated Histories)
by Shelton Woods
Paperback: 236 Pages (2004-02-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$4.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0781809894
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
How did the inhabitants of several small islands in the Pacific become the world's first non-Western industrialised nation? The answer is found in the fascinating story of Japan's political and social history. This narrative chronicles Japanese history from earliest settlement to the present. It details the establishment of imperial rule under the Yamato clan, the transfer of power from emperor to shogun (supreme military leader), and the Edo period of Japanese isolationism. It also relates the industrial development of the Meiji Restoration, the devastating results of World War II, and Japan's remarkable recovery to become a democracy as well as an economic superpower. The book is the perfect introduction to this nation for students, travellers, businesspeople, and all curious readers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Japanese History
This is a book that briefly tells you history on each era without much detail and is well written

3-0 out of 5 stars Informative
This is a good little book that is fairly informative of Japanese history.I wish it had been a bigger book physically so that it was a bit easier to read.The pictures are fine, but when coupled with instruction/directions that could have been much better... I would have to say that the book is merely "good."

5-0 out of 5 stars the best of many
I have taught Japanese history to high school students for 15 years or so. over the years I have used a variety of texts from standard high school social studies texts, Japan and the Pacific Rim readers and a number of different college texts. This book is unrivaled in its clarity, simplicity and comprehensive coverage. It is so easy to digest the variety of periods and players. It does an excellent job of explaining complex ideas. It also does a good job of covering social, military, cultural and religious histories. If that isn't enough it is an enjoyable read too.You can also add to those traits the fact that it costs less than $15.00 (compared to some history texts that can cost over $100). I supplement this book with An Illustrated History of Japan by Shigeo Nishimura, a wonderfully and artistically illustrated book of drawings (also a wonderful book that costs less than $16.00) that puts vivid images in the mind of my students to go along with the wonderfully written Shleton book. ... Read more

29. Lost Japan (Travel Literature) (Lonely Planet Lost Japan)
by Alex Kerr
Paperback: 276 Pages (2009-08)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$7.08
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1741795230
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Originally written in Japanese, this passionate, vividly personal book draws on the author's experiences in Japan over thirty years. Alex Kerr takes us on a backstage tour, as he explores the ritualized world of Kabuki, retraces his initiation into Tokyo's boardrooms during the heady Bubble Years, tells how he stumbled on a hidden valley that became his home...and exposes the environmental and cultural destruction that is the other face of contemporary Japan.

Winner of Japan's 1994 Shincho Gakugei Literature Prize.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (44)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Heart of Japan
This book is beautifully written by someone who knows Japan in a way that many who were born there do not.His insight stretches beyond a simple understanding of one culture, into the heart of human culture itself.Kerr used the day-to-day details of life in Japan, as well as his many years of study of the more nuanced history of the country, to take me to a place of insight and discovery. I loved every page.

5-0 out of 5 stars Japan beyond geishas, sushi and sumo
Lost Japan is a bit dated, but a worthwhile look at how Japan's rush to modernity is changing its culture and landscape. Alex Kerr has a deep love of traditional Japanese arts. He has thatched the roof on his Japanese house in the Iya Valley, befriended Kabuki actors in Tokyo, collected Japanese art in Kyoto, stayed up late doing calligraphy in his temple-side house, worked for a boisterous Texan looking to tap into the Japanese real estate boom and visited every nook and cranny of the country. I appreciated his insights into how the traditional arts of Japan evolved from Chinese origins, changed to reflect changing Japanese culture and are now losing ground to the onslaught of late twentieth-century culture.

The author shares my deep love of the natural world and throughout the book openly laments the heavy toll that Japan's unprecedented economic growth took on mountains, forests, beaches and the viewscape. At points in the book, I almost shed my desire to visit Japan, feeling that all that was left was garish neon, pachinko parlors and electrical pylons marching up every mountainside. However, the final essays turn a corner and provide a glimpse into a Japan that still holds much interest for me -- from the refined gardens of Kyoto to the temples of Nara and the inspiring countryside that frames the journey. All in all, a recommended read for those interested in learning about Japanese culture from a sensitive, but Western, point of view.

4-0 out of 5 stars More accurate title would be "My Lost Japan"
Although the topics Kerr addresses are relevant all over Japan and to many aspects of Japanese culture, this book is not going to reflect the experience of many Japanese people, much less many westerners in Japan.It is a memoir, a personal exploration of Japanese culture as it has been experienced by one man.And a remarkable experience it is - Alex Kerr somehow managed to accumulate in-depth first-hand knowledge of kabuki, calligraphy, Japanese art and painting, the business world of Tokyo, and living both in extreme inaka (countryside) and the grounds of a temple outside Kyoto, all of which make for fascinating reading.Kerr describes everything in flowing, sometimes rapturous detail, tracing the changes he has witnessed with love and bitterness.

At times, Kerr's depictions land a little on the side of pretentious.He describes a kabuki performance he saw this way: "... he had already conjured up a quiet, twilit, snow-covered world. ... The audience gasped ... Impossible to describe, the beauty of Tamasaburo is almost a natural phenomenon, like a rainbow or a waterfall."I found myself, in my crummy if spacious apartment in a small Japanese town with a skyline dominated by smokestacks, reading about the delicate inner world of kabuki and the discovery of rare and valuable calligraphy pieces in random shops, going, "Who IS this guy?"But somehow all of these things really have made up Kerr's experience of Japan - this is who he is and what he has seen, and it is next to nothing like what I see, but that's what makes it so valuable and so intriguing.

In fact, reading this a little heartbreaking.Kerr doesn't just describe facets of Japan which are hard to find; he describes them as mostly extinct.He details the rampant destruction of old Japanese culture and tradition that seems almost absurd, or over-dramatic, but I've seen its echoes myself.Mountains and rivers walled with concrete, ugly square buildings making up entire cities, the impossibility of implementing change in the bureaucracy that runs everything, are all mentioned in Kerr's book as resulting from Japan's stranglehold on itself.It's true that not everyone in Japan is quite the block of wood Kerr implies, but I've seen the junior high schools and the city offices and the pachinko parlors, and he makes some valid points about stagnation.When he isn't waxing poetic about the lost virtues of beauty and music, Kerr sometimes sounds so bitter at the Japan of now that I couldn't help wondering why he was still here (apparently, he has, in the fifteen years since this was first written in Japanese, left Japan).In particular, his description of the mindless pachinko parlors as the "final victory of the education system" and his cultural judgment based on their popularity is stinging.But having seen the pachinko parlors that pop up garish and neon every hundred feet or so along every road, having seen first-hand the blind devotion to rules of english-language education that have long since ceased to make sense, I have to bow to Kerr's much greater experience.Although I said above that Kerr's book isn't true of what most westerners here encounter and have now drawn some parallels, it is unfortunately only negative things I can identify around me.The art, the beauty, the crafts Kerr has seen are in fact becoming, if they are not already, quite lost, at least in my limited experience.

In the end, what makes this book so fascinating and so valuable is its detail of a culture which is completely inaccessible to those of us reading it in English.What makes this book valuable to everyone outside of Japan is its catalogue of treasures and the ways in which they are dying.As Kerr sums up towards the end of the book, "with its many wealthy institutions dedicated to preserving the traditional arts, Japan will have no trouble maintaining outward forms. ... But the dramatic decline in the quality of the environment ... is having an effect: the fossilized forms remain, but people are forgetting the purpose behind them."In this book, the reader gets a very definite sense of both form and substance. And though a good portion of the final part of the book laments the losses he has witnessed, Kerr ends with a glimmer of hope, and so shall I do here.He sees a burgeoning of new talent and artistry in Japan, and since he is in a much better position to claim this than I will ever be, I will echo his ending: " `If you think it's not there, it it. If you think it's there, it isn't.' At the very moment of its disappearance, Japanese culture is having its greatest flowering."

4-0 out of 5 stars A lovely read
Most of the reviews of this book either support or criticize Kerr's point of view regarding the topics he covers. It seems to me Kerr does an admirable job of conveying what are obviously his own experiences living for a very long time in Japan. It seems neither reactionary, elitist, nor condemning. As a writer, I loved the book for its writing.

Kerr has a talent for phrasing, metaphor, and humor that makes the reading a delightful breeze. Clearly his Japanese publisher felt it was a subject that would appeal to Nihonjin. I have recommended it to a couple of Japanese friends myself.

Even if you're not especially interested in Japanese culture, many of the essays in this little book are great fun to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Reading
If you have any interest at all in Japan, this is a must read book.This is very well written, interesting to the point that I could not put it down, and a great book to read about this man and his explotis throughout his adult life living in Japan.I always loan this book to my friends with an interest in Japan, and give it as a gift to others. ... Read more

30. The Way We Do It in Japan
by Geneva Cobb Iijima
Hardcover: 32 Pages (2002-01-01)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$9.62
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0807578223
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
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Product 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 (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lovely book
I read this book to my 3 year old this morning, and he sat absolutely still and couldn't take his eyes off the page.We counted to five in Japanese together which was easy to do as the book has Japanese words with a wonderful pronunciation guide scattered throughout the pages.

I highly recommend this wonderful, uplifting story.

3-0 out of 5 stars mm..
Well.. there is no such name as "Hidiaki" in Japan.. it is Hideaki. Unless they decided to come up with a cool new name but they dont have the "di" sound in people's names in Japanese and it sounds just so weird.

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. ... Read more

31. Japan Fashion Now
by Ms. Valerie Steele, Patricia Mears, Yuniya Kawamura, Hiroshi Narumi
Paperback: 240 Pages (2010-12-07)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$26.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 030016727X
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

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Scholars have long acknowledged the significance of the Japanese “fashion revolution” of the 1980s, when avant-garde designers Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons introduced a radically new conception of fashion. But what has happened in the years since then?

Lavishly illustrated, Japan Fashion Now will be the first book to explore how Japanese fashion has evolved in recent years. During this time, Japanese pop culture has swept the world, as young people everywhere read manga, watch anime, and play video games. Japan has had a profound impact on global culture, often via new media.

With essays by Valerie Steele (“Is Japan Still the Future?”), Patricia Mears (“Fashion Revolution”), Hiroshi Narumi (“Japanese Street Style”), and Yuniya Kawamura (“Japanese Fashion Subcultures”), Japan Fashion Now explores how the world of fashion has been transformed by contemporary Japanese visual culture.
... Read more

32. Pink Box: Inside Japan's Sex Clubs
by Joan Sinclair
Paperback: 192 Pages (2006-10-01)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$18.53
(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

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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 (31)

1-0 out of 5 stars Neglects key negative points
Don't be fooled, while this book may want you to think its all dandy and fun, it doesn't cover the actual problematic side of things, nor does it seem to understand basic concepts of Japanese culture.
It doesn't start covering the sex trade from other asian countries, people that have been forced to do it by the Yakuza to pay off debt, or those that do it to fullfill a drug need.

She seems like asking them casually if there are any problems is enough to cover this. However she doesn't seem to realize that in Japanese culture, you cover up everything bad. You don't talk about it. You lie, and say your feeling fine, even if you are not. None of this seems to go into her mind during the interviews.

2-0 out of 5 stars Pink Box keep its dustcover on and return label
The pink box is very empty of its promises. For one the pictures are like PG. For a book about pornography or the hustle and bustle of a red light district, it does not seem to me that Joan Sinclair captured much of Japanese Night Life at all. Her access is limited, that can be seen by the lack of creativity in this book's structuring. I know some about the sex clubs of Japan. And her book is not full of any captivating shots. You are paying for big lettered- short little 2-3 lines of information, and a few photos. Most of these women, I wouldn't even say are pretty , not even close. And there are very pretty girls in Japan. She doesn't talk about the Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Thai, - girls that come into Japan via Yakuza for the sex trade. Don't buy this book, even for the pictures and their PG-ness- I'd say it's a total waste. I was sorely disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read and images
Very interesting book and a great insight to the Japanese sex club culture.Will make for a great coffee table book :-)

4-0 out of 5 stars Made me think
I spend a bit more then a week in Tokyo, a trip that I booked spontaneous as I could get a flight with frequent flyer miles andI had vacation anyhow.

It is an amazing piece of work. Walking through Kabukicho (Tokyo red Light District, the biggest in Japan) I could not really figure things out but interest was peaked. What where all the overdressed boys do in the street?I expected slutty hookers. I had the white rabbit audio tour (you can find it here, search for kabukicho), which was a blast and I recommend strongly anybody going to Tokyo doing that.

But, the book is made entirely of very beautiful pictures. There is certainly that side to this world, however I did see during daytime a girl that clearly worked in one of the clubs, she had a very deep knife wound right above her ankle (healing), in fact she fell down in front of me and I was hoping she would be OK as it would have been a challenge to help her up - not that I wouldn't have done that but still, the initial barrier was there. She got up on her own ... So, there is a repulsive disgusting element as well and the book fails to show that.

I would not want the beautiful and funny journey through japans sex industry to be disturbed by this, but felt that this book was missing out a huge part of it - the nastiness that is definitely there as it is present in any other red light district in the world.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Deeply Illustrated Introduction to the Japanese Sex Industry
Thanks to my best buddy for getting me something I'd never get for myself.

I've been to Japan a few dozen times, but have never cleared immigration or customs.I've connected in wretched Narita many times, but have never left the airport.Speed Racer, Ultra-Man and their kind deeply inform (and warp) my knowledge of Japan, but I've also done formal research on its modern history, defense structures, and terrorism/counterterrorism issues, so I'm not clueless when it comes to Japan.That being said, this book took me somewhere I've never been and almost certainly never will.It showed me things I knew only a little of, and taught me more.For just that, it's a great experience.

In essence, this is a coffee table book, long on illustration and short on text.It comes in at8 ½" by 9 ½", and just under 200 pages, almost every one of them with photographs.It's got an introductory narrative that gives a bit of author story and situates the contents for the totally uninitiated, but the book's primary content is the photos, hundreds of photos deep inside the Japanese sex industry.

The James Farrer mid-length, photographer-author Joan Sinclair-illustrated intro does a great job of situating the uninitiated in the Japanese sex industry; strange, but the term "prostitution" rarely appears when referring to the subject.Sinclair gets her story in briefly at the end.Also at the end is the "Pink Dictionary," a dense but very interesting, four-page listing of all of the terms and concepts contained in the book, complete with Kanji renditions.Armed with this lexicon, I think I could find myself in very short order some very interesting times and new friends in Japan.

There is thankfully very little moralizing on prostitution, which is just the way it should be for a book like this.Sinclair's notes at the end offer her view that, "...These women are not powerless, they are not on drugs. They have made conscious choices; they have their own dignity."There is only a passing mention of the role, or more precisely the presence of organized crime in the pink industry, but nothing more.Sinclair's notes and Farrer's introduction attempt to explain the relationship of the rigid, highly formalized Japanese socio-cultural structure with its overt and pervasive sex industry, but neither is in depth or fully addresses the issue.This left me wanting to read more.

Rating?Strangely enough, I did not find the photos particularly erotic.There's plenty of nudity, sure, but nothing that arousing.If your fetish runs to the deeply mysterious Orient and its petite porcelain treasures, these photos will knock your socks off.Most of the photos would get a movie R rating for nudity.There are just a few instances of explicit sexual contact, but not necessarily in the subjects themselves, but on television screens in the background; this content is most definitely X-rated. Nevertheless, this book is indeed tasteful, and non-judgmental and respectful of its subjects.

My take is that most of the photos were not specifically posed or composed, with the cover photo being one of the more obvious exceptions. These are not really portraits, although some qualify as such, but are snapshots of various aspects of the pink trade workday. These are photos of men and women at work, in costume or out, going through the highly formalized Japanese process of exchanging sexual contact for money.

Bottom line: Those uncomfortable with nudity and sex, and the world's oldest profession need not bother.Those with a curiosity for the foreign, hidden and taboo will discover an interesting, entertaining, illustration-rich introduction into the way Japan deals with the most basic of human motivations. ... Read more

33. Hiking in Japan (Walking)
by Richard Ryall, Craig McLachlan, David Joll
Paperback: 464 Pages (2009-08-01)
list price: US$24.99 -- used & new: US$15.26
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1741040728
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Sunrise atop Fuji-san, steaming volcanoes, natural hot springs, ancient temples and pilgrim trails, wild subtropical jungles, spectacular gorges, unique wildlife and nature's seasonal shows - explore the wonders of Japan with this meticulously researched guide.

  • detailed trail notes with kanji for more than 70 day and multi-day hikes
  • 70 detailed, custom-drawn contour maps with kanji
  • accommodation options from gateway cities to remote camp sites
  • tips on transport to and from the trailheads
  • practical advice on local culture, responsible hiking and pre-hike preparation
  • quick reference language section, glossary and gazetteer with kanji
... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars Lacks motivation for selecting hikes
This guide is unfortunately exactly average for a hiking guide.

The hike descriptions often only have one sentence discussing why you would choose a particular hike.You can read through the trail descriptions and front highlights to find more hints, this is often limited to quick phrases: "great ridge views".And, only a small percentage of the hikes have any photographs.If you don't know which hikes to choose, this book is unlikely to be much assistance.(IHMO "Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies" is a good example of the right way to do it.)

When it comes to the technical hike details, the description of how to get to the trail and hike seems acceptable, however the maps are generally quite small and missing elevation lines, making them nearly useless for all but travel planning.And, the trail descriptions lack the detail that one would expect from say a Cicerone guide.(Cicerone's excellent trail descriptions almost make up for their typically not describing which hikes to choose.)

2-0 out of 5 stars You'd Think They Would Try to Update a New Edition
I was looking forward to the updated edition for some time but when I picked it up today I was very disappointed to see that very little was changed from the last edition.Most troubling was that information which was long out of date was still included in the guide.For example, the Kumotori hike which is described in the Tokyo section recommends taking a cable car up to the starting point for the hike.Unfortunately, the cable car stopped running several years ago and so anyone following this guide book will have a much longer hike on their hands than the one they may have planned (an extra 800 meters of climbing to get where the actual hike in the guide book begins).It is a useful book for those new to Japan but I am very disappointed that LP did not make the effort to make sure the information in this new edition was still accurate.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good starting point - but complement with the map
If you don't speak Japanese this is a pretty good starting point to identify interesting hikes in Japan. I wouldn't say that all the facts in the book are accurate. Many other reviewers have commented on this. Still without this book I wouldn't be able to know where I would do the hike. I've done three hikes using the book and the information has been accurate for me.

Some information is easy to double check. However, Japan Rail has an excellent website in English giving all the train schedules you need. You must alsoomplement with the 1:50,000 hiking maps. These are only availabe in Japanese but shouldn't create a problem as long as you are proficient with maps. You can buy them on amazon's Japanese site through the Enlish interface, but it is a bit hard to know which maps you need, but it certainly is possible even if you don't speak any Japanese. When you have the maps you will see the whole system of trails so you might decide to change the route. The maps come in a new edition every year so they will be fully updated.

2-0 out of 5 stars Undependable
I have to comment on this book because it's not reliable anymore.

I enjoyed the array of hikes that the editors chose, but it looks like they just translated some out of date Japanese books. Some of the trails in this book have been long closed and you will find yourself confused at night in the mountains if you attempt them. For example, the suggested descent from Aka-dake hasn't been maintained since an earthquake at least five years ago.

On the other hand, the book covers a fantastic variety of paths and makes it easy to find what you want. If you want to try a hike in this book, make certain you get current info on the state of the path as well as lodging along the way. This means call yourself, and ask specific questions.

But really, you're better off just getting a good Japanese book.

3-0 out of 5 stars It's okay.
Only a few pictures, and the maps are very basic. You're really going to need to buy hiking maps at any book store once you arrive in Japan (maps aren't carried in most outdoors stores). I could wish for a few more stories or ratings on which mountains are the best and must be hiked, but the book is useful. ... Read more

34. A Cook's Journey to Japan: Fish Tales and Rice Paddies 100 Homestyle Recipes from Japanese Kitchens
by Sarah Marx Feldner
Hardcover: 160 Pages (2010-04-30)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$12.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 4805310111
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A Cook's Journey to Japan is a marvelous collection of recipes based on one woman's journey through the simple, yet evocative, everyday foods found across Japan. This heartwarming—and hunger-inducing—book recounts the author's journey through Japan as she gathered recipes from everyday Japanese people—from wives, husbands, mothers and fathers to innkeepers and line cooks at cafés. The recipes are adapted when necessary to capture the authentic flavors and spirit of simple but delicious home cooking.

A Cook's Journey to Japan is a lovely introduction to the authentic foods eaten by everyday Japanese people.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Authentic regional Japanese cookbook is fabulous!
This is the BEST Japanese homestyle cookbook I've found. Beautiful photos, well written, excellent, simply delicious, do-able recipes. I've given this book to friends as gifts and they LOVE it! Highly Recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Warm, well-illustrated reference cookbook
I first saw this at my public library and knew I'd refer to it over and over, if only for the Oolong Tea Chiffon Cake and the section on Japanese teas.

The author, a librarian and culinary journalist, made the small town of Iwaki her "Japanese 'hometown'", traveling around the countryside to collect recipes as people prepared food "to feed their families, satisfy a sweet tooth and celebrate life."The result is a beautifully illustrated guide that almost makes you feel you've visited the kitchens of her friendly, welcoming hosts.

Like any great cookbook, this starts with an introduction to ingredients, utensils, and preparation methods -- an indispensable reference for the produce section of my local Japanese market. And like any good anthropologist of food, the author includes regional and seasonal variations and both traditional and newer, internationally influenced recipes.

The recipes are clear, with English and metric measures and step-by-step illustrations for trickier bits. Most recipes include substitutions for Western palates and groceries. There are suggested menus, a guide to web resources, and a thorough and accurate index. Chapter titles are helpfully repeated as footers near the right margin.

Whether you want to explore everyday Japanese cuisine or expand your bento lunchbox repertoire, "A Cook's Journey to Japan" belongs in your cookbook collection.

4-0 out of 5 stars Itadakimasu!
Sarah Marx Felder was writing for a food magazine when she decided on a whim to quit her job, sell her house, and move to Japan to write a cookbook. Setting aside a mere two years for the task, by the time her journey was over, she'd in fact spent over four years compiling recipes from all over the country, "from the northern tip of Honshu...to the southern tip of Kyushu."The result, //A Cook's Journey to Japan//, is part cookbook, part travelogue.

There's no shortage of Japanese cookbooks out there, but what sets Marx Felder's apart from most others is the stories that accompany her recipes. She introduces us to the friends she cooked and ate with: Hitomi, her aunt Hiromi, Atsuko, Reiko, and others. As you start to recognize their names and their recipes, the book starts to feel a little more personal. The almost innumerable photographs by Noboru Murata are another major plus. Since Japanese cuisine places such emphasis on the aesthetics of food, these are an invaluable addition that many other cookbooks simply omit. //A Cook's Journey to Japan// is a trip everyone ought to take at least once.

Reviewed by Amanda Mitchell

2-0 out of 5 stars A bit pandering
While the recipes in this book are sound, my largest complaint of this book is that they are all quite bland.They are the kind of foods one gets at Benihana when one orders from the menu instead of the Teppanyaki.Its not bad food, just very white bread and butter.The author's recipe descriptions are more bragging about her travels than anything else, not helpful to the recipes in any way.And I just find the whole book to be rather shallow, albeit nicely photographed.If you are looking for Japanese food recipes of any kind, then let Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art be your bible.As for this book, pick it up in a bargain bin, but pay full price for something else.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Education and Practical
As a professional food stylist and chef I have a great appreciation for the hard work that goes into producing quality recipes and images that entice the reader while still honestly depicting the dish in question. This book is loaded with gorgeous, honest images and user-friendly recipes --plus tips and tricks to help you get great results.

Sarah Feldner's text is a warm, friendly voice, guiding you through the recipes and their backgrounds. Her enthusiasm for her subject is infectious. The only thing that kept me from reading "A Cook's Journey.." in one sitting was the need to stop reading and start cooking.

Great for cooks at all levels and anyone interested in a glimpse (or a taste) of home-cooking in Japan.

A Cook's Journey to Japan: Fish Tales and Rice Paddies 100 Homestyle Recipes from Japanese Kitchens ... Read more

35. Japan's Policy Trap: Dollars, Deflation, and the Crises of Japanese Finance
by Akio Mikuni, R. Taggart Murphy
Paperback: 304 Pages (2003-12)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$20.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 081570223X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Until the beginning of the 21st century, the Japanese inspired a kind of puzzled awe. They had pulled themselves together from the ruin of war, built at breakneck speed a formidable array of export champions and emerged as the world's number two economy and largest net creditor nation. And they did so by flouting every rule of economic orthodoxy. Now only the puzzlement remains - at Japan's inability to arrest its economic decline, its festering banking crisis, and the dithering of its policymakers. Why can't the Japanese government find the political will to fix the country's problems? This book offers a provocative analysis of the country's protracted economic stagnation. Japanese insider Akio Mikuni and long-term Japan resident R. Taggart Murphy contend that the country has landed in a policy trap that defies easy solution. The authors, who have together spent decades at the heart of Japanese finance, expose the deep-rooted political arrangements that have distorted Japan's monetary policy in a deflationary direction. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Useful study of Japan's slump
Akio Mikuni, president of Japan's leading bond-rating agency, and R. Taggart Murphy, a professor at Tsukuba University, relate how Japan, the world's second largest economy, became trapped in deflation.

Japan is the world's top creditor nation with huge holdings of bonds, equity, loans and foreign investments. It has vast trade and current account surpluses with most countries in the world. The floating exchange rate is supposed to adjust automatically to prevent such payment imbalances, but these are now far greater than they ever were under the fixed rate system.

In the 1980s, Japan's landowners and speculators used huge real estate and equity market bubbles to take wealth from the working class. In the early 1990s, the bubbles burst, and the largest pile of non-performing loans ever seen buried much of Japan's banking system. Every monetary and fiscal policy failed, including a 72-trillion-yen reflation and bank bail-out package in 1998.

During the US state's postwar occupation of Japan, it had seized control of Japan's currency. As the authors point out, "No matter how much capacity you have accumulated, no matter how many claims you have the theoretical right to exercise, unless you control the currency of your international trade, investments, and finance, you are at the mercy of those who do control that currency."

So Japan accepts payments for its exports, and returns from its investments abroad, in the dollar. It keeps its ever-growing hoard of dollars in the USA, which transfers buying power to the USA, funding, for example, Silicon Valley. The US state's control of the yen is the key to the dollar's strength, allowing the USA to depend on imports and to run huge trade and current account deficits. It also fuelled the US bubbles in credit, bonds and equity markets.

Japan has paid a huge price for this special relationship with the USA, because the dollar has lost two-thirds of its value against the yen since 1972. Now the falling dollar is hurting Japan even more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read
I've only read half of the book for about a month now. I'm sLOWLY digesting the information. Quite a good read and interesting to note the author wrote, " The current account surplus[of Japan] will probably keep expanding until the world collectively cannot run.... Or else until the surplus buries the Japanese economy under an avalanche of deflationary dollar claims that can neither be exchanged nor redeemed."

Interesting to note Japan is now bailing out the US for some 50 Billion US dollars . Their neck is on the line for sure.


5-0 out of 5 stars The most important book on Economics since General Theory
This is a brilliant book on economics. Its contribution to economics is no less significant than Keynsian General Theory.
Keynes demonstrated how investment and savings could balance at suboptimal level of economic activity.
Keynes paid little attention to balance of payments constraint(although he did analyze it thouroughly in Consequences of Peace). Balance of payments situation was not explored in his Generel Theory, since it would have brough the whole theory off track.
Contemporary economic theory is best expressed by IMF officials in that current account surplus is not a grave concern for any given country. Structural account surplus is usually thought of as an additional powerful stimulus for a country to grow quicker than its defecit prone neighbours.
Modern economic thinking takes as given that authorities have fiscal and monetary tools to bring the country to full employment. The only problem is to coincide full employment with balance of payment constraints ie long term current account balance coincing with full employment income.
Akio Mikuni and Taggart Murphy demonstrate how a current account surplus can coincide with suboptimal economic growth. They also demonstrate how a country under certain conditions, may lack fiscal and monetary means to bring about full employement under conditions where current account is positive at full employment.
Before reading this book, I never thought such situation might be possible. I recomend this book to anyone seriously interested in economics.
PS I would be very interested in learning more about economic situaiton of European Union. Suboptimal economic performance of EU is just as contradictory to all that modern economic thinking has to offer.

3-0 out of 5 stars America's Policy Trap
Japan has $400 billion in a New York bank. Whose problem is that? People like me wrote checks for Toyotas etc which never got to Japan. If your checkbook shows $400 oustanding is that good or bad? Brookings - a Washington think-tank hired two banker types to solve the puzzle; their book is a bomb. "The Yen is both too strong and too weak."

Banking is not history. The $400 billion is a diplomatic problem - Japan and America have a joint historythat explains the $400 billion, where it came from and what inevitably must be done. America is the one in the trap.

To keep Japan from Indonesian oil we sank their fleet. We incinerated innocent city people to get unconditional surrender. We imposedjuvenile law, government and banking systems. We put their businessmen in prison andtheir politicians on the CIA payroll.

As people, we get along very well. We we all eat raw fish now.

Japan's immediate big problem is China. China and Japan have tons of history; the bottom line is that they are emerging with comfortable global joint hegemony. That leaves America trapped out in the cold. If I were Mr. Bookings that's what I would hire brains to write about. (A chart shows Japanese land is wrorth2,455 TRILLION Yen!How do you pronounce that?Within memory the US dollar has bought between 14.5 Yen and 360 Yen.)

So what's a few New York bucks?

2-0 out of 5 stars Not scholarly enuf; too alarmist; conspiracy minded?
This book is not up to Brookings Institute standards, perhaps that explains the forward written by the Brookings chief, where he says the books 'conspiracy' theme is interesting, to deflect criticism that the book relies too much on secondary sources.

Basically the premise is old news:Japan runs a current account surplus because it refuses to import and only exports, which creates a weaker than normal yen.The dollar surplus then has to be either invested overseas (hence the Japanese overpay for US investments), or plowed into assets by JP banks to avoid the yen from being strengthened.But that this is part of a 'conspiracy' is not really fleshed out.The book relies too much on secondary sources.And it is not clear to me that the currency imbalance is the root of Japan's ills (this is the central premise of the book).Note that Japan import/exports are only 10% of the GNP, (not unlike the 15% in the US), and thus the lack of demand in JP from the remaining 90% of the GNP is perhaps the real cause of the 10 year recession there.Also other Asian countries do the same thing as JP (namely, keep their currency weaker than it should; ration credit; restrict labor mobility and labor wage rates); how do their economies escape the JP trap of recession?Can it be that other reasons are at fault for JP's demise, such as JP is getting older?These issues are not discussed.

Basically the book is a 20 page white paper made into a several hundred page book, and the tone is too 'alarmist'.The most interesting points are made when discussing politics, and how the Ministry of Trade decides who is going to live or die vis-a-vis the 'walking zombie' companies.Of course the same things happened in the US (credit rationing until the 1970s; bank failures in the late 1980s, where the government decided which banks were to be taken over; and a merchantilist philosophy of keeping the dollar strong, which keeps inflation low in the US but results in the mirror opposite but also dangerous problem as in Japan--current account deficits, or living beyond your means). ... Read more

36. Look What Came from Japan
by Miles Harvey
Paperback: 32 Pages (1999-09)
list price: US$6.95 -- used & new: US$2.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0531159663
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Describes many things which originated in Japan, including inventions, art, food, fashion, furniture, toys, animals, musical instruments, and sports. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Appealing and Informative
I purchased this to use in my second grade classroom. It's a great read aloud and the children picked it up to reread on their own. Very appealing format for young children! ... Read more

37. CultureShock! Japan: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Culture Shock! Guides)
by P. Sean Bramble
Paperback: 286 Pages (2008-07)
list price: US$17.99 -- used & new: US$11.26
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0761454888
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

With over three million copies in print, CultureShock! is a bestselling series of culture and etiquette guides covering countless destinations around the world.For anyone at risk of culture shock, whether a tourist or a long-term resident, CultureShock! provides a sympathetic and fun-filled crash course on the do's and don'ts in foreign cultures.Fully updated and sporting a fresh new look, the revised editions of these books enlighten and inform through such topics as language, food and entertaining, social customs, festivals, relationships, and business tips. CultureShock! books are packed with useful details on transportation, taxes, finances, accommodation, health, food and drink, clothes, shopping, festivals, and much, much more.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Culture Shock, Japan
Logically organized and clearly indexed, easy to read with hints and humor. Table of Contents nicely formatted. An awareness of the customs will help avoid insulting their culture.Some spots seem over detailed but perhaps that is due to my being a first-time visitor and have much to incorporate

2-0 out of 5 stars Filled with Ex-pat vitriole and luddism
It certainly seems that the author would rather we not visit Japan, and perhaps he'd rather not live there. He seems to focus entirely on the struggles a Westerner will experience, and focuses very little on the daily interaction and culture of a country with several thousand years of cultural history. But hey, if you're a business-person planning on spending six months working in Japan, Culture Shock Japan might be able to tell you how not to embarrass yourself in very specific corporate interactions...but maybe you might just want to skip the experience altogether.

Also, with Tokyo being the nexus of technological advancement, the author too often editorializes with a "kids these days" sort of attitude regarding technology and entertainment. I can just picture the typewriter he used when writing the first draft.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful!
I found this book very helpful in preparing me for a recent trip to Japan.It contained a lot of information on what to expect culturally in Japan, and helped me make a few less "outsider" etiquette blunders.I would recommend this book to anyone heading to Japan as a good guide to help you feel a bit more comfortable in a strange land.

4-0 out of 5 stars I've cut down a lot of my "ugly American" acts because I have more insight...
I was stationed overseas for about 1 1/2 years before I read the book. Many questions I had were answered. This book explains a lot of the everyday things you'll see/notice in Japan. Not much of a history book (which wasn't what I was looking for @ the time) but a very modern explanation of all the strange things Japanese people do.

I highly recommend this book for anyone that is going to live in Japan for an extended period of time.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing

The book does contain usefull information, but it left me with an awkward feeling after reading.
It describes the 'typically Japanese things' from a personal western point of view, without explaining why, how, what, etc.
-Japan is a weird and silly country, but there are nice temples-
Or is it the writer that is the culture shock ?
If you want an objective book about Japan, keep searching. ... Read more

38. Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions
by Elizabeth Andoh
Hardcover: 304 Pages (2010-10-19)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1580089550
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The celebration of Japan’s vegan and vegetarian traditions begins with kansha—appreciation—an expression of gratitude for nature’s gifts and the efforts and ingenuity of those who transform nature’s bounty into marvelous food. The spirit of kansha, deeply rooted in Buddhist philosophy and practice, encourages all cooks to prepare nutritionally sound and aesthetically satisfying meals that avoid waste, conserve energy, and preserve our natural resources.
In these pages, with kansha as credo, Japan culinary authority Elizabeth Andoh offers more than 100 carefully crafted vegan recipes. She has culled classics from shōjin ryōri, or Buddhist temple cuisine (Creamy Sesame Pudding, Glazed Eel Look-Alike); gathered essentials of macrobiotic cooking (Toasted Hand-Pressed Brown Rice with Hijiki, Robust Miso); selected dishes rooted in history (Skillet-Scrambled Tofu with Leafy Greens, Pungent Pickles); and included inventive modern fare (Eggplant Sushi, Tōfu-Tōfu Burgers).
Andoh invites you to practice kansha in your own cooking, and she delights in demonstrating how “nothing goes to waste in the kansha kitchen.” In one especially satisfying example, she transforms each part of a single daikon—from the tapered tip to the tuft of greens, including the peels that most cooks would simply compost—into an array of wholesome, flavorful dishes.
Decades of living immersed in Japanese culture and years of culinary training have given Andoh a unique platform from which to teach. She shares her deep knowledge of the cuisine in the two-part A Guide to the Kansha Kitchen. In the first section, she explains basic cutting techniques, cooking methods, and equipment that will help you enhance flavor, eliminate waste, and speed meal preparation. In the second, Andoh demystifies ingredients that are staples in Japanese pantries, but may be new to you; they will boost your kitchen repertoire—vegan or omnivore—to new heights.
Stunning images by award-winning photographer Leigh Beisch complete Kansha, a pioneering volume sure to inspire as it instructs. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ms. Andoh is an international treasure
A gorgeously produced and photographed book and a worthy companion to Washoku. Ms. Andoh's discussion of the Japanese kitchen, ingredients, cooking techniques, and "waste nothing" philosophy is lucid and inspiring. Even the most carnivorous Japanese food lover will find much here to add to their repertoire. The pickle section alone is worth the admission. I can't put this book down.

Ms. Andoh is an international treasure. One reviewer compared her to Julia Child, but I see Ms. Andoh more as another M.F.K. Fisher for her stunning prose and her approach to cooking and eating as a celebration of life. Check out her websites: [...] and [...]

5-0 out of 5 stars Another excellent book by Elizabeth Andoh
I've been waiting for this book for a long time. There is no one like Andoh to explain authentic Japanese food to non-japanese. She is like the Julia Child of Japan. Her recipes are thorough, easy to read and use, and tell you a lot about Japanese culture and thought along the way. If you are a vegan or a vegetarian and like Japanese food, this is the book for you. There's nothing else like it. She knows how to coax the authentic flavors out of the ingredients, and put everything to good use. Even if you are not a vegetarian, this is an important book to learn more about japanese thought and culture and to add to your japanese repetoire. Beautifully photographed and written, i can't put it down. ... Read more

39. Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs)
by Richard J. Samuels
Paperback: 277 Pages (2008-08)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$12.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0801474906
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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For the past sixty years, the U.S. government has assumed that Japan's security policies would reinforce American interests in Asia. The political 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 have in Washington. What is the next step for Japan's security policy? Will confluence with U.S. interests--and the alliance--survive intact? Will the policy be transformed? Or will Japan become more autonomous?

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

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

Samuels's insights into Japanese history, society, and politics have been honed over a distinguished career and enriched by interviews with policymakers and original archival research. Securing Japan is a definitive assessment of Japanese security policy and its implications for the future of East Asia. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars A great perspective.
For a person in the US, or even Japan, it can be easy to accept the US-Japan alliance as forced on Japan by the US and maintained by the power of US hegemony.The best part of this book for me was a clear reading of Japanese security strategy, starting in the early 50s, as affirmatively choosing alignment.The book follows that choice and the debates and factions around it from the early post-war era, through the Cold War, and into the post-1989 and post-911 eras.I enjoyed seeing a history where Japanese are given agency for their own history and are shown with real choices and understanding both of their potential role as a full modern power and the issues they'll need to deal with to get there.

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

40. The Making of Modern Japan
by Marius B. Jansen
Paperback: 936 Pages (2002-10-15)
list price: US$27.00 -- used & new: US$20.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0674009916
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Magisterial in vision, sweeping in scope, this monumental work presents a seamless account of Japanese society during the modern era, from 1600 to the present. A distillation of more than fifty years' engagement with Japan and its history, it is the crowning work of our leading interpreter of the modern Japanese experience.

Since 1600 Japan has undergone three periods of wrenching social and institutional change, following the imposition of hegemonic order on feudal society by the Tokugawa shogun; the opening of Japan's ports by Commodore Perry; and defeat in World War II. The Making of Modern Japan charts these changes: the social engineering begun with the founding of the shogunate in 1600, the emergence of village and castle towns with consumer populations, and the diffusion of samurai values in the culture.

Jansen covers the making of the modern state, the adaptation of Western models, growing international trade, the broadening opportunity in Japanese society with industrialization, and the postwar occupation reforms imposed by General MacArthur. Throughout, the book gives voice to the individuals and views that have shaped the actions and beliefs of the Japanese, with writers, artists, and thinkers, as well as political leaders given their due.

The story this book tells, though marked by profound changes, is also one of remarkable consistency, in which continuities outweigh upheavals in the development of society, and successive waves of outside influence have only served to strengthen a sense of what is unique and native to Japanese experience. The Making of Modern Japan takes us to the core of this experience as it illuminates one of the contemporary world's most compelling transformations.

(20001015) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great buy! Perfect condition!
Great buy! Perfect condition! I am very happy with my purchase. This book was from a bay area high school library, so it was probably never opened.

5-0 out of 5 stars Big, rich source of Japanese history
This big book has a large amount of deeply rich information about Japan from the earliest times of the Shogun to almost current times. If you want to learn about Japanese history and have the time to read about it, this is the book for you. It is an intricate work where the author interweaves a myriad of facts and occurrences into a fine source of Japanese history for any student. It has become an important source for my research about this nation.

3-0 out of 5 stars Exasperating -- but worth the slog
What an exasperating book. At times, The Making of Modern Japan is a joy to read, filled with wonderful translations of primary sources and with Jansen's own wry asides. At others, the prose is painfully academic. It's almost like it was written by different authors. I found the first quarter of the book, a detailed description of the Tokugawa status quo on the eve of revolutionary change, to be deadly dull - 200 pages of sentences, none of which seemed to contain verbs. As the action increases - and Japan begins to reform in the face of foreign pressure - the book gets better. But even here the prose can be deadly. Readers approaching Jansen's otherwise interesting survey of Meiji culture must first get past this sentence, standing like a sentinel at the start of Chapter 14 waiting to bludgeon them senseless: "Histories of Meiji Japan usually follow a periodization derived from the construction of the modern nation-state.'' I found myself crying: "Stop this man before he writes `periodization' again!" But Jansen's immense knowledge, judicious analysis and well-chosen excerpts redeem the book. I loved the Japanese scholar who, upon encountering Western learning, describes the joy of discovery as "sweet as sugar cane.'' I was thunderstruck by the 19th century writer who sounds like Saruman ranting in Isengard as he extols the glories of environmental destruction: "The smoke coiling up from thousands of chimneys will obscure the sun. Ship masts will be as numerous as trees in a forest. The sound of drills, levers and hammers will be orchestrated with the echoes of steam engines...How delightful it will be!" The book also concludes with a lengthy and useful list of recommended reading. For readers who want a comprehensive, balanced and at times delightful introduction to the events that made modern Japan, this book is worth the slog. But a slog it sometimes is.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thorough and informative
I bought this book for reference while taking a Modern History of Asia class - I ended up reading the whole thing! Informative, interesting and a great resource for the 3 papers on Japan I wrote.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely facinating to students of Japanese History
I could not put this book down once I started reading it. Anyone looking for details from the end of the Edo era through the Allied Occupation follwing WWII will not be able to find a better book than this. ... Read more

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