website statistics A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony

Availability: Ready to download

For every fan of manga, anime, J-pop, or Zen, A Geek in Japan is a hip, smart and concise guide to the land that is their source. Comprehensive and well informed, it covers a wide array of topics in short articles accompanied by sidebars and numerous photographs, providing a lively digest of the society and culture of Japan. Designed to appeal to the generations of Westerne For every fan of manga, anime, J-pop, or Zen, A Geek in Japan is a hip, smart and concise guide to the land that is their source. Comprehensive and well informed, it covers a wide array of topics in short articles accompanied by sidebars and numerous photographs, providing a lively digest of the society and culture of Japan. Designed to appeal to the generations of Westerners who grew up on Pokemon, manga and video games, A Geek in Japan reinvents the culture guide for readers in the Internet age. Spotlighting the originality and creativity of the Japanese, debunking myths about them, and answering nagging questions like why they're so fond of robots, author Hector Garcia has created the perfect book for the growing ranks of Japanophiles in this inspired, insightful and highly informative guide.


Compare

For every fan of manga, anime, J-pop, or Zen, A Geek in Japan is a hip, smart and concise guide to the land that is their source. Comprehensive and well informed, it covers a wide array of topics in short articles accompanied by sidebars and numerous photographs, providing a lively digest of the society and culture of Japan. Designed to appeal to the generations of Westerne For every fan of manga, anime, J-pop, or Zen, A Geek in Japan is a hip, smart and concise guide to the land that is their source. Comprehensive and well informed, it covers a wide array of topics in short articles accompanied by sidebars and numerous photographs, providing a lively digest of the society and culture of Japan. Designed to appeal to the generations of Westerners who grew up on Pokemon, manga and video games, A Geek in Japan reinvents the culture guide for readers in the Internet age. Spotlighting the originality and creativity of the Japanese, debunking myths about them, and answering nagging questions like why they're so fond of robots, author Hector Garcia has created the perfect book for the growing ranks of Japanophiles in this inspired, insightful and highly informative guide.

30 review for A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This would probably have been more helpful if I was actually going to Japan. I'm not anytime soon so......yeah. Some of the passages were very repetitive. I got a weird sense of deja vu about 20 times throughout reading this because some sentences were repeated more than once. It provided a very broad, very brief overview to the complete history and culture of Japan. Pretty much everything you can think of is covered, even including brief tourist guides and recommended walks. However, I felt at This would probably have been more helpful if I was actually going to Japan. I'm not anytime soon so......yeah. Some of the passages were very repetitive. I got a weird sense of deja vu about 20 times throughout reading this because some sentences were repeated more than once. It provided a very broad, very brief overview to the complete history and culture of Japan. Pretty much everything you can think of is covered, even including brief tourist guides and recommended walks. However, I felt at times it was stereotyping a whole race of people - 'All Japanese are polite and avoid confrontation'. Well, I beg to differ. That's like saying all British people are polite and drink tea. I'm not either of these things. The last chapter with common phrases would be helpful for Japanese tourists. I guess I was expecting something other than a glorified travel guide.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nadia King

    Comprehensive, brilliant book about Japan - her culture, her history, her geography, and her people. Love this book which I can't seem to shift from my coffee table to the bookshelves because I love it so much. Comprehensive, brilliant book about Japan - her culture, her history, her geography, and her people. Love this book which I can't seem to shift from my coffee table to the bookshelves because I love it so much.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Yue

    Like a geek, I spent my whole weekend reading this wonderful book. And I feel like I have been in Japan over the weekend, walking around Tokyo, the stores, the gardens. People who are interested in Japan must read this book. I learnt so much. It has subjects about everything: Japanese customs, a bit of history, places that we must visit; manga and anime and so many others. There are things that I've already known because of manga, doramas; like stuffs about their school system, food, etc. Other t Like a geek, I spent my whole weekend reading this wonderful book. And I feel like I have been in Japan over the weekend, walking around Tokyo, the stores, the gardens. People who are interested in Japan must read this book. I learnt so much. It has subjects about everything: Japanese customs, a bit of history, places that we must visit; manga and anime and so many others. There are things that I've already known because of manga, doramas; like stuffs about their school system, food, etc. Other things I am learning just by watching this TV show (Cartoon KAT-TUN, which is like, the funniest and most entertaining show evah). For example, the way they greet people, or why girls cover their mouth when they laugh. Or the importance they give to their food. Or how polite and respectful they are, and their nice sense of humor. Some things I may have taken for granted, or when I was reading, I was like "Oh I noticed that too but never asked myself why" are that Japanese people do not use the word iie, "no". Or that they use the word chotto a lot. A huge positive aspect in this book is that the author shares his own anecdotes with the reader. Stories that involve the environment in his work, with his co-workers; or when he was trying to rent a room in a hotel, or the places he likes the best. Stories that make the reader understand more and better. And most of the photos are from the author himself, not from Internet. Luckily this journey does not end here. The author (bless his soul!) has his own blog where he describes and tells us more about this amazing country, http://www.kirainet.com/. Look like GR is not going to be the only website I visit the most.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Doughty

    A series of short snippets and mundane anecdotes about Japan. Informative if you know little about Japan, yet often repetitive. A non essential component to visiting the country.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marrynka

    Perfect book to read before traveling to Japan. After reading it I feel fully prepared for my trip. Book includes a lot of general information written in engaging and concise way which makes it a page-turner. Book includes chapters about history, traditional arts, Japanese culture and mindset, food, music, anime and manga and way more - basically everything there is to know about this fascinating country :) Last two chapters are aimed specifically at tourist planning their trip, they are packed Perfect book to read before traveling to Japan. After reading it I feel fully prepared for my trip. Book includes a lot of general information written in engaging and concise way which makes it a page-turner. Book includes chapters about history, traditional arts, Japanese culture and mindset, food, music, anime and manga and way more - basically everything there is to know about this fascinating country :) Last two chapters are aimed specifically at tourist planning their trip, they are packed with places to visit as well as practical advice.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Darjeeling

    p26. "During the Edo Period, when Japan received almost no influence from foreign cultures, a number of unique arts or disciplines were developed. For instance, kabuki theater appeared as a consequence of the need to entertain an increasingly flourishing society with more and more free time." So much for diversity being a strength... p144 is the start of a chapter on Odaiba, one of Japans many small islands. In the top left corner there is a picture of the Statue Of Liberty. This confused me at fi p26. "During the Edo Period, when Japan received almost no influence from foreign cultures, a number of unique arts or disciplines were developed. For instance, kabuki theater appeared as a consequence of the need to entertain an increasingly flourishing society with more and more free time." So much for diversity being a strength... p144 is the start of a chapter on Odaiba, one of Japans many small islands. In the top left corner there is a picture of the Statue Of Liberty. This confused me at first. Turns out Japan just decided they wanted one too. They also have a copy of the Eiffel Tower. Talk about cultural appropriation :P I found the chapter on Japanese business the most interesting, probably because it was the topic I knew the least about. I also learned allot about Confucianism for similar reasons, it's one of the few eastern philosophies I haven't studied yet, and I will add a few books on the topic to my reading list. It sounds fascinating, sort of like Plato's Republic (which I have managed to read allot about without having actually read. That's on my list too) except that it actually works. It's a heavily collectivist ideology, and not something I would want to live in. In fact I would probably feel the need to rebel against it, just as I feel the need to rebel against collectivism in my own culture, and we can see some of the disadvantages to collectivism, as well as the advantages, in Japanese culture, which I have always had a great deal of respect for and still do. I'm envious of Japans low crime rate, and almost non existent terrorism (Japan has a very strict immigration policy), but I also don't want to be forced into a system of mass conformity, where argument from authority is not considered a logical fallacy. Sometimes you can't have your cake and eat it. I do think there are some aspects of Japanese culture we can and should culturally appropriate, just as they have culturally appropriated many of the best aspects of western culture and integrated them. Peace ✌🏻

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tanya Tosheva

    This will not be so much a review of the book as my attempt to remember a gazillion facts and new Japanese words, which overwhelmed me despite already knowing some from anime and manga and being used to the sound of the language. Almost everything below is a quote. History of Japan (view spoiler)[ Legend tells that Japan was born of the love between two deities, Izanagi and Izanami. These two deities had a daughter, Amaterasu, and the long dynasty of Japanese emperors descends from her. T This will not be so much a review of the book as my attempt to remember a gazillion facts and new Japanese words, which overwhelmed me despite already knowing some from anime and manga and being used to the sound of the language. Almost everything below is a quote. History of Japan (view spoiler)[ Legend tells that Japan was born of the love between two deities, Izanagi and Izanami. These two deities had a daughter, Amaterasu, and the long dynasty of Japanese emperors descends from her. The first settlers whose archeological remains have been found belong to the Jomon Period, more than 8,000 years ago. But not until the eighth century CE is there a real Japanese state, with its first capital being Nara. Between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, Japan was run as a system of flefs, or local powers subordinate to the shogun, that were always flghting one another. Everything changed in the year 1600, when one of the most important events in the history of Japan took place, the battle of Sekigahara. The Hideyoshi clan’s defeat in this battle meant a new family became paramount, the Tokugawas, who would rule Japan until 1868. The first Tokugawa was Ieyasu, who decided to govern from his castle in Edo, present-day Tokyo. The period under Tokugawa rule would become known as the Edo Period (1603–1868). In July 1853, an American squadron of warships led by Commodore Matthew Perry entered Tokyo Bay. [...] Unsure what to do in the face of American cannons, the shogun, for the first time in six centuries of military power, consulted the emperor about a course of action. Without hesitation, the emperor replied that they must drive the Americans away. Unfortunately, the shogun didn’t have the military might to expel the Americans, and he was forced to sign the agreement. After disobeying the emperor, considered a living god by all the Japanese, the last of the Tokugawa shoguns lost the people’s trust. He had to resign, allowing the triumphal restoration of power to the imperial house. (hide spoiler)] Language of Japan (view spoiler)[ The Japanese began to develop their own writing system around the flfth century CE, based on Chinese characters called han. They used the Chinese symbols to represent their own spoken language graphically, though the Chinese and Japanese grammars have nothing in common. Kanji: symbols with from one to several meanings, one to several pronunciations, and can be combined to form new words. This last point, while seemingly trivial, gives the greatest headaches to those studying this language and to the Japanese themselves, who must devote more than ten years to learning how to write them. There are more than 40,000 kanji, but the Japanese are required to know a list of “only” 2,136 official kanji, known as the Joyo Kanji. Joyo Kanji: A list of “only” 2,136 official kanji. Books and newspapers using kanji that are not on this list must write their transcription in the hiragana syllabic alphabet. Katakana: The katakana syllabary is used to write words of foreign origin that have been introduced into Japanese. Hiragana: The 46 symbols in the hiragana syllabary represent the 46 possible consonant and vowel combinations in spoken Japanese. Romaji: The transcription in Roman alphabet of how a word sounds. For example, the word house is pronounced “ie” in Japanese, and therefore house written in romaji would be ie. A Japanese person reading romaji—and this may strike us as amazing—will find it difficult to understand what it says. Japanese minds are designed to understand symbols and not letters.The Japanese Constitution, created under American supervision after the war, has a version written in romaji because the Americans didn’t trust Japanese symbols and wanted a version that they could at least read, even if they couldn’t understand it. (hide spoiler)] Do (view spoiler)[Do originated in China five or six centuries before Christ. It was Laozi (or Lao Tzu) who developed tao or dao. In Japan it’s not merely a character but a whole philosophical concept and a way of life that has been deeply rooted in Japanese thinking for centuries. The Japanese seek perfection in some tasks (kata) as a means to acquire spiritual satisfaction in their lives. Basically, the apprenticeship system in any discipline following the -Tao-Zen philosophy consists of three steps: 1. Establishing a series of patterns, models, or forms known as kata. 2. Repeating the kata for many years. 3. Perfecting and searching for beauty in the kata, “joining” them in a sort of enlightenment. (hide spoiler)] Interesting concepts & words (view spoiler)[ - honne: the wishes, opinions, and true feelings every individual has - tatemae: social obligations and opinions that the individual has adapted to society’s. From the Western point of view, concealing the truth may be looked on with disfavor. In Japan, however, preserving harmony is more important, and that’s why true thoughts (honne) are not usually expressed in a straightforward way, for fear of hurting people’s feelings. We could say tatemae serves as a lubricant in human relationships. It is also used in business, where established conventions have to be followed. - giri: the obligation to care about those who have given you something in life so that you are indebted to them. The origin of giri is ancient, but it became widespread through the influence of the samurai class in the feudal era, who would feel giri toward the lord protecting their families. Giri forces us to return favors, to preserve harmony in human and social relationships so that some measure of peace is maintained in society. [...] There is an extensive tradition of giving presents on special occasions and, if you receive a gift, you must always give something of the same value in return. This might seem a matter of common sense in any other culture, but in Japan the amount of gift giving can be extravagant. [...] In Japan, gifts are very important within the system, and there is a series of unwritten rules that, when broken, can cause social “unease.” The basic rule is that a gift must be no more nor less valuable than the relationship between the two people. omiai: arranged marriages In the past, it was quite common, and all decisions regarding the marriage were made by the parents on both sides. Today, omiai marriages still happen, but there is more freedom. Parents simply organize an appointment for their son and daughter and if it works, good, but if they don’t suit each other, nothing happens. There’s usually not much pressure. Nevertheless, one out of every ten marriages today is of the omiai kind. sumimasen: Of course, it means "I'm sorry" but in Japan it's also used to relax the tension in a conversation - it’s like a sign that says you understand the other person’s feelings. chotto: can be translated literally as “a little, a minute, a moment.” ('Chotto matte kudasai' - 'Wait a minute, please.') However, it’s used in a variety of situations to avoid expressing an unpleasant denial. amae: used to describe the way we act when we wish to be loved or seek attention, when we want to depend on someone else with a certain sense of submissiveness. A universal example of amae in practice is the boy who carries the girl’s books in college. She could easily carry them herself, but she likes to be taken care of and the man likes to feel he’s taking care of somebody. Another manifestation of amae would be when you act capriciously so that your protector will let you get away with something. A boy pretends to be tired so that his mother will yield and allow him to go to bed without putting his clothes in the washing machine. uchi: people in your family and circle of friends soto: other people At the first uchi level we find our family unit, followed by families “connected” to us. Then, we have friends, followed by our company, and last, we have our country. Thus, foreigners in Japan are about as soto as you can get; that’s why they say that, no matter how long you live there, you will always be treated as a gaijin. The Japanese will treat you as soto simply because they unconsciously believe you are some sort of threat to their uchi harmony, and that is one of the reasons Japan is such a closed country. [...] But don’t misunderstand me: being treated as soto doesn’t mean they treat you badly. They will probably be more attentive to you than your Western friends. The problem is, you feel as though there is some sort of barrier. This also comes through in the use of both verbal and nonverbal cues, which clearly denote whether you’re entering their uchi or not. Keiretsu: groups of companies that work together, trying not to compete with one another and cooperating in order to make more money together. Kaizen: literally means “a change for the better” and is used in Japanese business culture to express the need to improve constantly, to do things the best you can, using the fewest resources and creating the highest value. Meishi: business cards, but in Japan they are an extremely important element when starting a conversation with a stranger, a client, or another company. Because the meishi is so significant, you must treat it with the utmost care, as if it were part of the other person. Nemawashi: an essential concept for understanding the Japanese business world. It’s usually translated as “prior consultation”. To some extent, you could see nemawashi as a sort of democracy taken to the extreme. Thanks to this, Japanese companies seldom make mistakes and are always taking steps forward and improving ceaselessly, if slowly. Suppose you have the brilliant idea of eliminating a redundant chip from one of the company products. Before making your proposal, you must make sure that all the employees around you agree. This consultation yields numerous advantages: if all agree with your proposal, you have an almost one hundred percent chance it will be accepted, and if people don’t accept your proposal, you can improve it so as to include everybody else’s suggestions. Also, if your idea is bad one, you won’t make a fool of yourself, since you haven’t made a formal proposal. The Sony employee will consult all his department coworkers, and, once he has made sure his proposal is accepted by everyone, he will talk with his kakaricho (immediate superior). His superior will then do a nemawashi among the other department heads, and once they have agreed, the process will continue until the idea reaches the highest spheres at Sony. Notice how, if the nemawashi process fails somewhere along the line because someone is totally against it, the idea never flows toward the top of the pyramid. Once the nemawashi process has been completed, the department that initiated it can make a formal proposal in a meeting, where it will obviously be accepted. The Japanese avoid direct confrontation above all. Employees simply go to work every day, don’t complain, arrive punctually, and never leave on time—they always have to work overtime. Making changes in Japan is difficult. Everything is slow, there is a lot of paperwork, everybody must agree, and there are tons of meetings. But when things are done, they usually work to perfection—everything goes well. humility: essential value for comporting oneself correctly in Japan. Let’s suppose we’re giving our boss some cookies. At the moment we do, we must say, “ Sumimasen, tsumaranai mono desu ga.” This may be translated as, “Pardon me for giving you such a petty thing.” In using this expression, we are praising our boss by making him understand that he really deserves a much better present. The same expression would be used the other way around, if our boss gave us a present. No matter what one’s status, everybody in Japan must be humble to respect their way of being. Sometimes it happens that someone is too ambitious and flaunts his power too much, and he ends up being ostracized by his company and society. There are books about cases where a person of great promise has ended up cleaning the company bathrooms because he was too ambitious and his superiors got scared: the Japanese see ambition as a threat to the inner balance of the system, which might bring them down in the future. sake: means “alcoholic drink” in general. Thus, if you drink a beer, you are drinking sake; if you drink whiskey, you are drinking sake; and if you drink rum, you are drinking sake. nihonshu: the alcoholic beverage obtained from rice. hanami: an excursion to see flowers, a centuries-old tradition in Japan. Today the hanami tradition involves sitting under a sakura tree with your family, your friends, or the people at your company. [...] The main problem is the lack of room. Ueno and Yoyogi Parks are jam-packed, and that’s why someone from the company usually goes early to scout out a place and save some room under a tree. There are apparently people who will even sleep under a tree that’s expected to flower the next day so they’ll be able to enjoy it with their colleagues from work. The manji: an ancient Buddhist symbol full of spiritual meaning. Resembles a swastikas, which shocks many tourists. matsuri: festivals celebrating religious (mostly Shinto) traditions throughout the year. ema: wooden plaques with wishes written on them for the god to make come true. Jinja: Shinto shrines The easiest way to identify a jinja is to look at the entrance. You will almost always find a large red wooden gate marking the entrance to sacred ground. In contrast, at the entrance to a Buddhist o-tera, there is usually a smaller dark-colored gate and walls separating the temple grounds from the outside. Ukiyo-e: print-making art was developed during the Edo Period (1603–1868). Thanks to the ease with which ukiyo-e copies could be made, they arrived in the West and influenced painters of the time, such as Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet. shunga: mass-produced ukiyo-e prints of scenes of explicit sex. (May constitute one of the earliest pornographic markets in history.) onsen geisha: prostitute geisha, different from those considered genuine (artist) geisha. chado: “the way of tea” matcha: one of Japan’s most appreciated varieties of green tea and is the variety used in the tea ceremony. The main difference between matcha and other types of green tea is that, during the last weeks before harvest, the tea plants are covered so they don’t get any sunlight. Moreover, only the best shoots are hand-picked for the matcha production, and unlike in other teas, they are ground to an extremely flne powder. It is very rich in amino acids and antioxidants. Zen koan: brief stories in the form of riddles or fables that Zen teachers use to teach lessons to their students. According to Zen doctrine, the nature of Zen can’t be taught with words, and therefore it is the student who must teach himself. Blood groups In Japan, people ask what your blood group is in the most unexpected situations. [...] Sometimes when you meet someone, they ask what your blood group is before asking you how old you are. [...] Many people believe in a host of superstitions and pseudoscientific theories that associate blood types with character. Laughter Covering your teeth with your hand is seen as a sign of good manners in Japanese women. Shamelessly showing the inside of your mouth when you laugh can be seen as a sign of bad manners. (hide spoiler)] There's so much more but I'll leave it at that. For future (someday!) visits to Tokyo I just have to remember to visit the Akihabara district.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sam Still Reading

    A Geek in Japan is one of those books I saw on the shelf at my local bookstore and just had to have. I love Japan and I love to learn more about it. A Geek in Japan is deceiving though, in that it contains much more information than you think at first glance. Hector Garcia has obviously put a lot of time and effort into researching this book, which delves into many aspects of Japan. It includes history, social structures (I learned more from this book than I did from six years of Japanese), cult A Geek in Japan is one of those books I saw on the shelf at my local bookstore and just had to have. I love Japan and I love to learn more about it. A Geek in Japan is deceiving though, in that it contains much more information than you think at first glance. Hector Garcia has obviously put a lot of time and effort into researching this book, which delves into many aspects of Japan. It includes history, social structures (I learned more from this book than I did from six years of Japanese), culture, work life, leisure, anime, cosplay, vending machines, zen, Shinto, Buddhism, temples, shrines and walking tours of various places in Tokyo. What I found very interesting was that according to Hector, the Japanese wish for harmony as a whole over triumph of the individual – which is very different to what occurs in the West. It was also interesting to see repetition given as a way of learning – if you do something hundreds of times, you will end up getting it right. The work structures were also very interesting – the consultation between many levels with the focus on precision. If I wasn’t a gaijin, I think I’d like this! Hector explains things very clearly in the majority of circumstances but occasionally the English sounded a little ‘off’ to me (for example, a lot of use of the word ‘moreover’). This is a small thing to get used to. I learnt so much from this book, more than I did over a long period of study and a long trip to Japan. It clarified a lot of things for me. Well done on a great book – this would certainly be of use to those going to Japan or just wanting to know more about it. The pictures are excellent too.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jason Keenan

    A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony is such a great introduction to Japanese culture — and the modern cool Japan we are coming to know as well as the historic Japan. The book is a fun read and may even surprise readers familiar with Japan with a few new explanations of culture and history. Don't let the title fool you -- A Geek in Japan really offers up a whole lot of quick highlights of what makes up life in Japan. It touches on broad topics like tradi A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony is such a great introduction to Japanese culture — and the modern cool Japan we are coming to know as well as the historic Japan. The book is a fun read and may even surprise readers familiar with Japan with a few new explanations of culture and history. Don't let the title fool you -- A Geek in Japan really offers up a whole lot of quick highlights of what makes up life in Japan. It touches on broad topics like traditional culture, the Japanese character, and daily life. All in all it's a wonderful introduction to what makes Japan unique. The book also has a wonderful informal tone — which can help anyone planning a trip to map out their plans in a fun way.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Annice22

    This was very boring. However, I did enjoy seeing all the pictures that were throughout the book but I felt like I would have been better off just searching online and reading general information instead of reading this. Because most of this just feels like internet research instead of feeling like a first hand account from someone who was living there.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Niki Ganong

    A Geek in Japan is a great, cursory cultural guide to the country. It's not going to be of any use to a traveler, but it is interesting. A Geek in Japan is a great, cursory cultural guide to the country. It's not going to be of any use to a traveler, but it is interesting.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mati

    Comprehensive text of what to do or not to do in Japanese society for confused foreigner.

  13. 5 out of 5

    David

    A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony by Hector Garcia Puigcerver was a delightful surprise for me. I initially saw the title and wrongfully assumed it was something that would appeal to gamers and hardcore Manga and Anime fans. It turned out to be a well-written description and analysis of what makes Japan what it is from the history, people, culture, food, as well as the Manga and Anime in the title. Having lived in Japan for three years in 1969-1972 A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony by Hector Garcia Puigcerver was a delightful surprise for me. I initially saw the title and wrongfully assumed it was something that would appeal to gamers and hardcore Manga and Anime fans. It turned out to be a well-written description and analysis of what makes Japan what it is from the history, people, culture, food, as well as the Manga and Anime in the title. Having lived in Japan for three years in 1969-1972 while in the US Air Force, I spent a lot of my free time exploring and enjoying the being in what for me initially was a totally foreign environment. I learned much of what the author has included in this book but also learned a lot as well. He has spent more than twice as much time there and seems very perceptive about what he experienced as he was more immersed in the Japanese culture. I would assume he is fluent in Japanese or at least very conversant which would enable him to gain the insights he has into Japan as a country and people. He also has written a really good travel guide (although I don't think that was necessarily his intent) such that a first time visitor to Japan could organize a fun, inexpensive, and educational trip to Japan without resorting to pricey tours. He offers many useful tips like buying the JR RailPass before you go there to save money on transportation while you are there. I can highly recommend this book to anyone who has thought about visiting Japan, just wants to know more about Japan out of curiosity, or even those like me who have been there and want to refresh or reminisce about what they saw while visiting or living there. He provides some simple guides for visiting that will help optimize your time and focus on the more interesting (subjective, I know) things to see and do. Now back to my heavy subject readings!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jaymes Dunlap

    I was impressed by this brief introduction. Although I have fragmentary knowledge and some introductory understanding of Japanese culture, this book consolidates core facts that are both comprehensive and entertaining. It also included much I did not know, such as the cultural use of the word "chotto." Once making it to the section on Japanese economy and work, I expected this to be the most boring part of the book; but it was absolutely fascinating learning about their economy and work culture. I was impressed by this brief introduction. Although I have fragmentary knowledge and some introductory understanding of Japanese culture, this book consolidates core facts that are both comprehensive and entertaining. It also included much I did not know, such as the cultural use of the word "chotto." Once making it to the section on Japanese economy and work, I expected this to be the most boring part of the book; but it was absolutely fascinating learning about their economy and work culture. Oddly, some of the media culture and travel destinations felt a little dry. For instance, without looking up the music artists or going/looking at travel destinations, the blurb paragraphs were helpful in understanding but is something that needs personal experience to truly enjoy. Although I am sure there are plenty of other introductions that can offer more depth depending on your focus or foci, this book is exceptional designed for the brevity in spite of the Garcia acknowledging the need to omit some details/chapters. The text is also enjoyably well-written. Would recommend if you needed an overview, in spite of being dated 2010 as the untranslated copy (2011 for English translation).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bhagya Shree

    This is a very detailed book that explores the state, heart and culture of Japan. The author has done a great job in explaining essential Japanese terms, ideals and essence of Japan. As evident from the title, the author talks about everything about Japan that we hear or see in popular culture- Geisha, tea ceremony, Zen, Work culture, Manga, anime etc. The majority of the chapters can be read as a non-fiction book and final chapters can be used as a tourist guide book when you are travelling to This is a very detailed book that explores the state, heart and culture of Japan. The author has done a great job in explaining essential Japanese terms, ideals and essence of Japan. As evident from the title, the author talks about everything about Japan that we hear or see in popular culture- Geisha, tea ceremony, Zen, Work culture, Manga, anime etc. The majority of the chapters can be read as a non-fiction book and final chapters can be used as a tourist guide book when you are travelling to Japan. Reading this book can help one understand character nuisances in books of popular Japanese authors like Murakami, Keigo Higashino , Hideo Yokoyama etc. Even if you are not going to visit Japan or read Japanese fictions, this book can be consumed just to see how author explains, otherwise monotonically seeming topics about the land of rising sun in an interesting way.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gene

    Great insights on Japan's unique culture This book was a godsend when we travelled Japan. Mainly for the distilled cultural insights which would have required several years living there as an expat. I often found myself reading a section (on a train) then chuckling to myself as I realized I had noted that exact same peculiarity but had no idea of the meaning or had simply passed it off as a trivial thought. Great insights on Japan's unique culture This book was a godsend when we travelled Japan. Mainly for the distilled cultural insights which would have required several years living there as an expat. I often found myself reading a section (on a train) then chuckling to myself as I realized I had noted that exact same peculiarity but had no idea of the meaning or had simply passed it off as a trivial thought.

  17. 5 out of 5

    MoYaL

    A must read book for the people who are fascinated by Japanese culture. You will come to know all about the history of Japan, their culture, their festivals, their religions and philosophies. The language formation of Japan and the various symbols that are use used there. Right from the Martial arts to the Tea Ceremonies. You can get the overview of almost everything related to the Japanese. When I read the book, I realized that I had many misconceptions regarding this wonderful country. The code A must read book for the people who are fascinated by Japanese culture. You will come to know all about the history of Japan, their culture, their festivals, their religions and philosophies. The language formation of Japan and the various symbols that are use used there. Right from the Martial arts to the Tea Ceremonies. You can get the overview of almost everything related to the Japanese. When I read the book, I realized that I had many misconceptions regarding this wonderful country. The code of conduct and the work ethics is very different than other countries. The respect and the gratitude that they have for each other is quite fascinating. The Science and Technology, The Robot culture, the animes, the mangas are discussed with their origin ideas and their evolution. This book also explores the movies and cinemas of Japan along with the Television, the Music, and the media. Considering the language of the book, it is very simple and layman. The book will give you an insight to all the possible ideas regarding the country and it will be like a virtual trip to the readers.

  18. 4 out of 5

    James

    A decent read for an overall view of modern Japanese culture with an emphasis on Tokyo. Based on the title, I was hoping for more about otaku culture. It would be a nice first read on modern Japan and would make a good supplement to a guide book if you're going to the Tokyo region. A decent read for an overall view of modern Japanese culture with an emphasis on Tokyo. Based on the title, I was hoping for more about otaku culture. It would be a nice first read on modern Japan and would make a good supplement to a guide book if you're going to the Tokyo region.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Frederike

    A geek in Japan is packed with information, personal anecdotes and pictures, which makes it a great starting point for learning about lots of Nihon-related topics, with the final two chapters handing out travel advice - which may be a bit dated, but are interesting to read

  20. 4 out of 5

    K.Alrashidi

    A great book for an overall view of the history of Japan. It also includes tips for travels. Highly recommed🙏🏼

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    This book is really informative, but it does suffer from a bit of an identity crisis. The title and subtitle just don't fit the subject matter very well. What you get is a quick-hitting guide to Japanese history, the stark cultural differences, and daily life, particularly in Tokyo. Late in the book there are a couple of sections with general travel tips and recommended places to visit. Notice that there's nothing particularly "geeky" or "nerdy" in the above synopsis. There are a huge number of a This book is really informative, but it does suffer from a bit of an identity crisis. The title and subtitle just don't fit the subject matter very well. What you get is a quick-hitting guide to Japanese history, the stark cultural differences, and daily life, particularly in Tokyo. Late in the book there are a couple of sections with general travel tips and recommended places to visit. Notice that there's nothing particularly "geeky" or "nerdy" in the above synopsis. There are a huge number of aspects of Japanese life that are covered, but there is no particular focus on the things that fans of video games, anime, etc. would be most interested in. The prominent districts, such as Akihabara, are discussed but only as a matter of course. A guide to Japan that talks mostly about Tokyo would be remiss not to include them. There is no particular emphasis on them though. I expected, justifiably so in my opinion, a fun travel guide for people that wanted to visit Japan not just for typical travel appeal, but also because they are big fans of the unique entertainment that originates there. There's not much of a particular spin or niche appeal in the content here though. There is a lot of enlightening info, and you'll be thinking "wow, that's really interesting" quite often while you read. Overall the book is mostly good for people that want to learn a lot about what it's like in Tokyo. I don't think it's any more than an extremely general starting point for travelers though.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michael Scott

    TODO: +++ Simply the best book I've read about contemporary Japan. Way better than the books of Patrick Galbraith (Otaku Spaces and The Otaku Encyclopedia), or the topical Kawaii!: Japan's Culture of Cute. +++ Excellent summaries on otaku, manga, anime, games, and music. +++/- Very interesting, if by and large generalizing and stereotyping, analysis of the Japanese contemporary life. Fascinating details about the life of a family, of an otaku, of a student, of a career woman/salary man, and of var TODO: +++ Simply the best book I've read about contemporary Japan. Way better than the books of Patrick Galbraith (Otaku Spaces and The Otaku Encyclopedia), or the topical Kawaii!: Japan's Culture of Cute. +++ Excellent summaries on otaku, manga, anime, games, and music. +++/- Very interesting, if by and large generalizing and stereotyping, analysis of the Japanese contemporary life. Fascinating details about the life of a family, of an otaku, of a student, of a career woman/salary man, and of various other subcultures. ++ Excellent introduction to everything Japanese: history, myths, symbols, language, etc. + Good touristic tips, especially about the essential places (Nikko, Hakone, etc.) + Many things match my own experience with the culture and people. -/+ not enough depth, but the book is written on purpose to be very accessible and easy to read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    J

    I got this book as a present and I love it to bits. It's a no-nonsense great first look at Japan and its popular culture, with many pictures and short texts - it's a bit like a manga and each chapter is broken down into 2 page sections, so you can read it on the go as well. Garcia apparently has a blog and this book is a collection of his thoughts. He lives in Japan and he likes the place and its people. He is very open-minded and interested and that comes through in this book. Rather than many ot I got this book as a present and I love it to bits. It's a no-nonsense great first look at Japan and its popular culture, with many pictures and short texts - it's a bit like a manga and each chapter is broken down into 2 page sections, so you can read it on the go as well. Garcia apparently has a blog and this book is a collection of his thoughts. He lives in Japan and he likes the place and its people. He is very open-minded and interested and that comes through in this book. Rather than many other books I've read, it's focused on popular culture, though not just manga and anime, but on a broader scope, including j-pop and enka and doramas (TV series). None of these topics are covered in detail, but he gives you an idea about them. I've been listening to j-pop and watching doramas, but there were still a few new thoughts and some new info for me to gain. This is a book I'd recommend for anyone who wants a brief introduction to Japan, best before going for the first time. It's not a travel guide or a guide to Japanese culture per se, but it's a great read and touches upon a great variety of Japanese culture.

  24. 4 out of 5

    S.

    two random stories. "Hector Garcia", of course, are merely the first two names of a Scandinavian guy who's into Japan. the name choice, obviously, is an attempt to capture readership from fans of Oscar Wao. intertextuality rules the universe! second, I think I may have written one of the entries in this book. a guy in a Tokyo bar once, finding out that I've done cultural studies in the country, began picking my brain-- it's not an absolute certainly, but it might have been the author, as some of two random stories. "Hector Garcia", of course, are merely the first two names of a Scandinavian guy who's into Japan. the name choice, obviously, is an attempt to capture readership from fans of Oscar Wao. intertextuality rules the universe! second, I think I may have written one of the entries in this book. a guy in a Tokyo bar once, finding out that I've done cultural studies in the country, began picking my brain-- it's not an absolute certainly, but it might have been the author, as some of the writing on one entry is something I personally pointed out. well, other than that, this is a picture heavy set of entries on various features of pop japan. it's competently written, although contains no scholarship unknown on the university level-- more for a curious reader than the j-specialist, as it contains nothing terribly new. not bad 4/5, by no means the 5.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ashita Thakur

    When i read the description of A Geek in Japan as a collection of a guy's blog posts, I didn't predict the extent to which this was like a long 350+ page collection of blogs. I imagine that parts of why I didn't enjoy this book are: A. It doesn't delve into anything specific, it just grazes over the various things that make Japan what it is. B. It is practically an intro for someone who isn't really exposed to Japanese culture and who would be amazed by reading about their tea ceremonies and manga When i read the description of A Geek in Japan as a collection of a guy's blog posts, I didn't predict the extent to which this was like a long 350+ page collection of blogs. I imagine that parts of why I didn't enjoy this book are: A. It doesn't delve into anything specific, it just grazes over the various things that make Japan what it is. B. It is practically an intro for someone who isn't really exposed to Japanese culture and who would be amazed by reading about their tea ceremonies and manga and yakuza tattoos. Considering the fact that I have been fascinated with Japan for close to a decade now, I definitely don't fit into the target demographic. C. It's mostly a guidebook for businessmen and tourists from the eye of a middle aged business guy. D. I can't afford to visit Japan anytime soon so I don't really need itineraries. Basically, it is a good intro to Japan. A very basic, simplistic, fine intro. If you already know something about Geishas and Harajuku and Moe, skip this one, read something else. Or pick this up for extremely brief reference points on places to visit.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tanner Jewett

    A clear and friendly but objective tour of Japanese culture. The thing I respected the most was also what I found the most frustrating at times; it focused it's time and attention on giving a concise, fundamental understanding of the history and viewpoints of Japanese culture. In doing so, it the stage in my mind for the society the Japanese live in, and the problems they face because of it. But, sometimes at the cost of depth. Still, the places where he only tickled my curiousity, he also point A clear and friendly but objective tour of Japanese culture. The thing I respected the most was also what I found the most frustrating at times; it focused it's time and attention on giving a concise, fundamental understanding of the history and viewpoints of Japanese culture. In doing so, it the stage in my mind for the society the Japanese live in, and the problems they face because of it. But, sometimes at the cost of depth. Still, the places where he only tickled my curiousity, he also pointed me towards plenty of other places I could go to pursue it. So in all honesty, I don't have any complaints. This book has been a fun and engaging guide for a self-directed anthropology crash course, that has very much satisfied longstanding questions I've had as an anime and video game buff. I am absolutely going to recommend this book to anyone I know with even a mild interest in Anthropology or Japanese culture.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Zedsdead

    A light Japanese cultural guide that doesn't get particularly geeky until the final third of the book. I don't do much non-fiction but this was surprisingly interesting. Full of 1-2 page summaries of Japanese historical and cultural points: the gals movement, the salaryman lifestyle, martial arts, the Edo period and its long-term influence, Japanese alphabets (plural!), shinto, Buddhism, longevity, formality, the country's elevated suicide rates and methods, the causes of yakuza and workaholism. L A light Japanese cultural guide that doesn't get particularly geeky until the final third of the book. I don't do much non-fiction but this was surprisingly interesting. Full of 1-2 page summaries of Japanese historical and cultural points: the gals movement, the salaryman lifestyle, martial arts, the Edo period and its long-term influence, Japanese alphabets (plural!), shinto, Buddhism, longevity, formality, the country's elevated suicide rates and methods, the causes of yakuza and workaholism. Late in the book the focus moves to otaku, manga, Japanese music and television, and anime, and finally to travel guidiness. I have no intention of going to Japan so I found the last parts boring and unnecessary.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    If you know anything at all about Japan and its culture, you're going to find this book somewhat simple and sterile. There's no character in the writing, and half the book is generic and ultimately shallow information you could likely find on Wikipedia. The Japan lonely planet would likely make for a more interesting read. If you know anything at all about Japan and its culture, you're going to find this book somewhat simple and sterile. There's no character in the writing, and half the book is generic and ultimately shallow information you could likely find on Wikipedia. The Japan lonely planet would likely make for a more interesting read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amanda [Novel Addiction]

    This is a great quick look at Japanese culture and history. It just makes me want to visit Japan even more.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ley

    Perfect for Japanese culture geeks like me. :) Got to read this for a second time (in hard copy this time). Thanks, Khonie! :)

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.