🌸Japanese Customer : Books about Japan


Showing posts with label Books about Japan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books about Japan. Show all posts

January 12, 2024

Audio Book: 🎧 There is no such thing as a an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura

Review by JapaneseCustomer.com:

"Kikuko has created an amazing insight from the worker's view of a range of temporary jobs she shares with us. For example: A bus company, a rice cracker company, and a hut in a park perforating tickets for an event. 

What stood out when I listened was the holistic detail provided by the employee at each job, for example: how she got the job from the temporary recruitment agency, how it was sold by the recruiter, why she was put forward, her initial impression, her first day, her bosses and co-workers, what the role entailed, the highs and lows of the role, the psychological impact, the relationships, the silence, how she thought of the job when away from the office, boss relationship and what type of person they were (could they be trusted, etc), co-workers were they real or fake and was the relationship tainted by the nature of her role, the role itself and her relationship with the boss. 

Plus you also get the complexity of the culture in language, body language, rituals, customs, etc. It feels like you are actually in the job. 

You are seeing, hearing, and feeling the whole job. On audiobook, this is magnified by the voice of the narrator which adds a whole new level of depth to the stories and your overall experience of the topic. 

A very insightful and powerful story of temporary work from the worker's holistic view, wow!

 Buy the Audio Book here 

#japanesecustomer #author #audiobook #kikukotsumura #novel #japan #japaneseliterature #english #review🎧


April 08, 2023

In the beginning, Woman was the Sun The autobiography of Hiratsuka Raicho by Teruko Craig


"by the mid 1890's a general reaction to Westernization had set in.... Japan was once again to be "pure".... the calls for a return to traditional values and a more assertive nationalism had become more strident" p 40.

#book #hiratsukaraicho #tokyo #1880 #japan # #japanesecustomer #women #children #money #roles #behaviour #history #westernization

March 08, 2023

In the beginning, Woman was the Sun The autobiography of Hiratsuka Raicho by Teruko Craig


"As children, we were strictly forbidden to handle money (growing up in Tokyo in the 1860s)" p 33.

#book #hiratsukaraicho #tokyo #1880 #japan # #japanesecustomer #women #children #money #roles #behaviour #history

February 08, 2023

In the beginning, Woman was the Sun The autobiography of Hiratsuka Raicho by Teruko Craig


"As was expected of women of her generation my mother made great efforts to deny rather than express herself" p14.

" (Mother) brought up in a samurai household and trained not to show her emotions, she might shed a tear or two, but would never allow herself to breakdown in front of others" p242

#book #hiratsukaraicho #tokyo #1880 #japan # #japanesecustomer #women

January 08, 2023

In the beginning, Woman was the Sun The autobiography of Hiratsuka Raicho by Teruko Craig


"once a month (we went to ) Ginza to buy rice crackers at a shop called Matsuzaki (which sold, miso flavoured, shiso leaf wrapped,etc) p8."

#book #hiratsukaraicho #tokyo #ginza #1880 #japan #ricecrackers #japanesecustomer

December 08, 2022

In the beginning, Woman was the Sun The autobiography of Hiratsuka Raicho by Teruko Craig

 In the beginning, Woman was the Sun The autobiography of Hiratsuka Raicho by Teruko Craig 

" Western attire was limited to the upper and middle classes (in Japan in the 1880s) and went out of style before it caught on with the general public" p4

#book #hiratsukaraicho #tokyo #1880 #japan #japanesecustomer

November 08, 2022

Book Review: In the beginning, Woman was the Sun The autobiography of Hiratsuka Raicho by Teruko Craig


"Milk was sold at only one store (in Tokyo 1887), the Hokushinsha in Iida-cho and came in cone-shaped tin cans rather than the glass bottles of today

page 4 

Learn more about Hiratsuka Raichō 

#bookreview #hiratsukaraicho #tokyo #1887 #japanesecustomer

July 14, 2022

“Japan is responsible for its own losses" Yoichi Funabashi

Gion Matsuri Kyoto Japan copyright peter hanami 2015
Picture: Gion Matsuri Kyoto Japan 

“Japan is responsible for its own losses. The country’s delayed adaptation to the international environment and its weaknesses in international competition in terms of industrial bases, workforce, businesses entrepreneurship, and globalization – none of these things were forced on Japan by any external actor” 

Yoichi Funabashi in the book “Examining Japan’s Lost Decades

Source: Graceful decline in need of disruption by Greg Earl, Australian Financial Review, Wednesday, June 24th, 2015, page 41.

japan, japanese, consumer, customer, news, picture, quote, book, yoichi funabashi, examining japans lost decades, economy, business, insights, #japan, #japanesecustomer, #consumer, www.japanesecustomer.com

July 06, 2022

.."one feels lighthearted with the thought that spring has come" Natsume Soseki

Japanese cherry blossom copyright peter hanami 2009

Picture: Japanese cherry blossom 

"when one sees the early-flowering cherries bursting unrestrainedly into bloom before anything is out, one feels lighthearted with the thought that spring has come"Natsume Soseki

Source: Ten nights of dreaming, Hearing Things, The Heredity of Taste,
page 85
Author: Natsume Soseki

July 04, 2022

Book Review Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto

Book Review  Goodbye Tsugumi

Author: Banana Yoshimoto
Translator: Michael Emmerich
Publisher: Grove Press, New York,1989
ISBN: 978-0-8021-3991-7
Pages: 186

A personal, warm, reflection on a wonderful relationship with family

© Review Copyright. JapaneseCustomer, 2018.  All Rights Reserved.

Banana Yoshimoto is a great writer who builds a very warm and personal relationship with the reader. Her skill is the ability to verbalize what she sees about people and how relationships connect.

In this story she allows the western reader to enter, observe and understand a Japanese woman’s world which is very different from a Japanese man’s. We are very lucky to see the warmth, relationships, connectedness, routines, and joys women share. Particularly the reading of other people through their behaviour. How one’s silence is read as a way to find out their state of mind which is a very different skill for westerners.

We also get insight into small-town life, living in the countryside, the beauty found in being fully aware of the changing seasons, especially summer festivals. The most outstanding part to me was when Maria saw her father in Tokyo on his way home from work and how she got to see his real-life face which allowed her to get a deep glimpse of him as a person, not just the smiling face at home which was profound in its form and meaning

We learn how insignificant acts create jealousy in others, how individuals deal with long-term sickness and their isolation, nostalgia, and the difficulties of expressing emotions to the people you love.

The only surprise was the abrupt ending which could have been tied up more neatly.

Banana Yoshimoto really captures the reader with her warmth, like a warm bowl of soup on a cold night,  it can’t help but to gain and keep your full attention.

© Review Copyright. JapaneseCustomer, 2018.  All Rights Reserved.

June 30, 2022

Book Review Cult X by Fuminori Nakamura

Title:                    Cult X

Author:               Fuminori Nakamura

Translated by:    Kalau Almony

Publisher:           Soho Press, NY, USA. 2018.

Pages:                  505

ISBN:                  978-1-61695-786-5


© Review Copyright. JapaneseCustomer. 2018.  All Rights Reserved.

This novel by Fuminori Nakamura is fiction but draws on the events of the 1995 Sarin Gas attacks in Tokyo and delves into what inspires cults, their backgrounds, their leaders, their followers and values. Set in the present day in Tokyo. We meet a cast of characters who take us on a journey throughout the book. Nazaraki is one of them. He has recently quit his job and has become somewhat disillusioned by corporate life and is trying to find his place in society. A chance meeting with a girl named Tachibana sets off the novel.

You will gain insights into the background philosophies of the leaders, what triggered them to start cults and how they operate inside. Part history, part documentary, part novel, this story takes the reader to become fully immersed in cults. Nakamura also draws heavily on the social implications that allow cults to gain followers by explaining the various reasons by sharing character journeys.

This novel could easily become a movie and I hope it does in the future as it lends itself to visual storytelling. Painstakingly researched and blended with numerous themes, the reader takes a path through many situations which allow you to question your own feelings.

What stood out to me as innovative was the author's ability to share what was going on in the mind of each character in each situation. This allowed a deeper understanding of the characters, context, and culture!

Very different from his other books, but Nakamura who tends to like history, for example: Enma the Immortal, (a historically based samurai story), gives the reader a great context, so by the end, they become fully engaged with the topic from many angles. Great read with deep insights into Japanese culture in the modern era. 

           © Review Copyright. JapaneseCustomer. 2018.  All Rights Reserved.

#japan #japanese #literature #cult #fuminorinakamura #crime #novel #book #review 

June 26, 2022

Book Review: The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura

Book Review: The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura

Translated from the Japanese by:

Allison Markin Powell

2015, Soho Press. New York, NY, USA.

Pages: 198

ISBN: 978-1616957681

Copyright. 2018. JapaneseCustomer.com
All Rights Reserved.

''A university student in Tokyo, Japan, finds a dead body by the river one evening and next the body he discovered a a handgun. Instead of reporting it to police, he instead being fascinated by the "gun" picked it up and took it home to his apartment.

Over time he becomes gradually more and more obsessed with the gun which changes his moods, behaviours and actions in his daily life.

As guns are so rare , restricted and banned in Japanese culture this adds to his desire to have and keep such an object. The illegal nature of such an object fills a gap in his psyche.

This special attraction to the weapon leads the student to work through a range of emotions, as its power gets stronger and stronger, gradually taking over his mind, body and life. What will he do? Fire the weapon? Kill someone or just hand it in to police so they can solve a crime?

A wonderfully focused novel that takes the reader on an obsessive journey. If you are new to Nakamura's work try some of his early works as well!. ''

Copyright. 2018. JapaneseCustomer.com
All Rights Reserved.

Other books by Fuminori Nakamura you might enjoy

May 09, 2022

Book Review: 🌸 Geisha in Rivalry by Kafu Nagai

maiko in japan #japanesecustomer

Photo: Maiko in Japan 

Author: Kafu Nagai 
Translated by: Kurt Meissner
Publisher: Charles Tuttle Publishing, Tokyo, Japan, 1963
ISBN:  0293-000141-4615

Reviewed by JapaneseCustomer.com. 2022. All Rights Reserved.

"This is a very interesting novel on a number of levels in terms of historical context and the topic which reveals the inner workings of a geisha house. 

Probably the most important learning from this novel is the insights gained about the relationship between a business and its customer.

The flexibility required the hiding of one's own feelings, the servitude, the focus, and the importance of appearance, speed, and detail in very small things. 

Overall we see the great lengths Japanese culture goes to meet customer needs. 

We learn the historical aspects of the region of Tokyo where the novel is set, Shimbashi. 

As a reader, we are blessed to capture the feel of the period from the clothing, food, and lifestyle, all the way down to the wood of the local bathhouse.

A fascinating novel, that is light fun, and intriguing

Review is Copyright JapaneseCustomer.com. All Rights Reserved, 2022.

Book Review - Geisha in Rivalry by Kafu Nagai

May 01, 2022

Book Review Naoko By Keigo Higashino

Review Copyright .2018. All Rights Reserved

Title: Naoko

Author: Keigo Higashino

Translated from the Japanese by: Kerim Yasar

Publisher: Vertical Inc, NY, NY, USA

Year: 2004

ISBN: 978-1-932234-07-7

Pages: 282

A tragic accident brings a family closer  together

Keigo Higashino takes the reader on a very warm and personal journey of grief between a father, mother, and daughter. Set in Toyko, Japan we meet  Heisuke a factory manager who learns about his family's death while watching the evening news,  both his wife and daughter have been killed in a bus crash on the ski slopes.

The book explores the steps one goes through when grieving a loved oneThe Japanese setting adds unique cultural insights for non-Japanese readers which adds a dimension to the overall depth and dimension of the story.

A fun, light, and fast-moving story that keeps you page-turning with short chapters and a display of characters, settings, and events.

Naoko has been made into a movie starring David Duchovny.

An intriguing take on death, grief, and how individuals deal with it in creative ways.

#bookreview #naoko #keigohigashino #japaneseliterature #japanesecustomer

March 28, 2022

Book Review: 🌸 Silent Parade by Keigo Higashino

                                                              Book: Silent Parade

Author: Keigo Higashino

Translated by: Giles Murray

Year: 2018

Pages: 344

ISBN: 978 -1-4087-1497



"This novel is set in west Tokyo in Kikuno.

 The family runs a local restaurant and has two daughters but one disappears suddenly while pursuing her dream of singing.

The suspect for her disappearance is well known to the police for a past unsolved crime.

Detectives find themselves at a loss of what to do but Professor Yukawa slowly and masterfully tries to piece together the scene.

 We learn about piano training in adolescence, that Japan still has a death penalty, address changes are registered at the local ward office, as is the head of the household, no privacy at hoe as everyone knows your business whether you want them to or not, superstition’s of getting rid of evil by throwing salt, why men and women click their tongue, the role, and impact of mother in-laws in a traditional Japanese marriage, food such as kaki fry, isshoubin sake battles and takiawase (Professor Yukawa’s favourite dish).


Higashino has a great storytelling method which will leave you hooked until the last page."

                 Book Review by JapaneseCustomer.com All Rights Reserved. 2022.