Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Foreign Perspective

An offshoot of watching Japanese dramas and movies is an increased awareness and/or curiosity over things that are Japanese. I suppose it's the same for anyone who's been exposed to a segment of Japanese culture or have fallen in love with an aspect thereof---be it art, literature, fashion, or  music; whether you're a manga or anime fan, or even a gaming enthusiast, it's not unusual to develop an interest in the country and the people from which your favorite pastime originated and flourished.  A good number of books have already been written about Japan, covering everything from the nation's history, the state of its economy, even going as far as to discuss pop cultural trends and social problems as identified by social scientists and journalists but out of everything that's available out there, I find reading blogs and informal works by those who've stayed in the country itself to be equally informative and entertaining. There's a lot that can be derived from reading personal accounts and observations unhampered by a need to prove a thesis or maintain a stance that isn't ethnocentric. They impart information that might not be readily available to those who are merely on the outside looking in. 

Of Rice and Yen is an ebook that I came upon last year after reading an article in Things Asian by a journalist who wrote about the Japanese herd mentality and how the same can be seen in their obsession over things like branded goods, pachinko and vending machines. It was a short and trite article, limited in scope and arguably faulty for making a sweeping generalization, but the things discussed and cited therein does not necessarily mean that they're wholly untrue or baseless. Keeping that in mind, I started reading up on gaijin accounts of their stay in Japan, no matter how subjective it may be, which led me to this compilation of notes by David Mosley.

Containing loads of trivia and anecdotes detailing his over a decade-long stay, I found this e-book an easy read, perfect for those averse to material that are too technical or scholarly. Best of all it's free. The author himself even encourages you to share it to others and welcomes any feedback on it.

Download Link [MF] :
 An Englishman's look at the best and worst of Japan: the pleasures and pains, the gems and the jaw-droppers by David Mosley 
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1 comment:

  1. i've started reading this one downloaded from the site you posted. somehow it didnt shock me as what i've thought. i have fun reading it and i wish after, hopefully, i can have my citizenship in 4 yrs i can go to Japan and stay there. haha..