Copyright ©1992 by Dave Barry; Copyright (P)1992 Dove Audio, Inc.
I was listening to this recording while performing a rather delicate experiment on insect larvae. While holding a beetle in forceps, I heard a particularly funny statement, and squashed the object of my research in my laughter. Very dangerously funny!
Dave's take on Japan, the Japanese, the food, flying, feeling tall,
and much more. His memories of the 50's Sci-Fi and WWII movies alone
are worth the price of admission.
This is one of Dave's funniest.
I rarely write reviews, but I have to recommend this one. Contrary to a prior reviewer, I really liked Arte Johnson's narration. Yes, his Japanese accent may be construed to be offensive, but just relax. It's funny. Not everything has to be PC. I started the book thinking Dave Barry's humor was somewhat corny - and maybe 10% is - but mostly I find myself laughing out loud. Get this book and enjohy it. No, it's not a travel narrative, but it is a good introduction to culturally understand the Japanese.
This is Dave Barry at his best. It can be retired as an audio book: No one will every read it better than Arte Johnson.
This is one of my all time favorite Dave Barry books. I laughed my way through it in print some years ago, but I found the narration of the audio book somewhat distracting. When you end up thinking more about the voice than the story being told, that's not good. And I'm surprised to have to say it - this is NOT a travel book! I can't imagine picking up a book by Dave Barry looking for vacation advice. If that's what you want, there is a world of travel guides waiting for you out there. For a really good laugh, check out "...Does Japan" in paperback.
If you like Dave Barry, then this is the book for you. If however you were expecting to learn anything about Japan, give it a miss. The first 45 minutes are Dave Barry getting to the airport. The first 30 minutes of that is a discussion of the US auto industry.
I am struggling to finish this book in the hope that Dave makes it to Japan.
Since this book was written in 1992 it is quite a bit dated on its facts and figures. However the author does manage to capture the very essence of the Japanese people accurately in most cases. I sometimes erupted in belly laughs over his humorous descriptions of their quirky customs . Overall entertaining.
Yes, especially if you've never been to Japan and want to get a perspective of what life and culture there is like. At least from the perspective of an American.
The examples he used to compare and contrast American culture with Japanese culture.
I laughed throughout the book especially the beginning.
Great book and great narrating.
I still have 30 minutes left on this but there's nothing in those 30 minutes that will surely cause me to leave less than a 5-star review all around.
I should say that I have lived in Japan for 11 years now and so I have to admit I approached this book with some trepidation, fearing it would be a catalog of stereotypical portrayals and that I would be wincing a lot. In all honesty I was prepared to sit through a lot of the same things you can find on any "I'm teaching English in Japan for one year" blog (guilty as charged).
To be fair, stereotypes do come up a lot, but in Barry's fair hands he never lets himself get carried away -- you get a real sense that he knows these stereotypes are on one hand true, but on the other hand not really fair. And he leaves a lot of hints along the way that the reader (or listener) should also not get too carried away.
What surprised me most was how much has *not* changed in the 20+ years since Barry wrote this. Sure Japan is a hell of a lot more nuanced than you'll ever know from this book, but again Barry cops to this. What was equally surprising was how much Barry, in the three short weeks he was in Japan, "got" about Japan, fundamentally. Sure the portrayals are broad. But they were also very insightful.
Besides all of this, the book is just sooooo damn funny. I'm listening to this mostly on my commute on public transportation and it's all I can do to not burst out laughing every minute, which if you read/listen to Barry's book, you'll know is not really the thing you want to be doing as a "water buffalo" (Barry's phrase) foreigner in Japan.
Lastly, I had no idea who Arte Johnson was but he does an incredible job. Honestly, the recording will make you think it's Barry, because Johnson is on fire and so keyed in to the first person narrative. I'm sure some people will find his impersonations of Japanese speaking English borderline offensive (although in his defense it may have been written that way by Barry), but I got over that real quick and accepted in as part of Barry's humor (again because you never get the feeling that Barry is taking himself so seriously). Johnson also mispronounces a lot of Japanese words, but again that might be the way Barry wrote it. Still, these are mere quibbles.
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