Book briefs

2017-05-10 06:02


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

Author: Héctor Garcia

You can’t help but love the quirky Japanese. Where else can you find robot restaurants, rent-a-friends, nap cafés, or treat your dog to a back rub (by masseurs wearing Bill Clinton masks, no less)?

While a collected work of this zany side of the country still eludes me, I found Hector Garcia’s A Geek In Japan a mightily satisfying look into a people whose troubled history and geography has not prevented them from remaining one of the economic and technological leaders of the world.

In just enough detail, Garcia describes the work, entertainment and social culture of Japan, where “no” is a word you rarely hear, people are tremendously loyal to their companies, and social harmony is stressed above individualism.

With all this talk of the Global Village, it’s refreshing to see that much of the world stubbornly maintains its diversity. The rigid process of the Japanese in making corporate decisions is fascinating (it can take up to 30 minutes and a meeting the next day just to decide how to fix a broken office computer).

I also found it both hilarious and charming that while you are allowed to speak up to your tyrant boss, it’s only acceptable when you’re out drinking. If you’re one of the many who find overseas holiday prices scarier than Santa Claus coming down the chimney on New Year’s Eve, travelogues as engaging as this are probably the next best thing to experiencing a country firsthand.

• Further reading: Cool Japan Guide – Fun in the Land of Manga, Lucky Cats and Ramen (graphic novel by Abby Denson).

- Omar Sayed.

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