Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Geek in Japan Review

Oh, a geek in Japan, tonight. Geek in Japan, be right. Oh, a geek in Japan!!!!!

 Sorry, I thought a musical interlude was needed. A Geek In Japan is a handy guide to Japanese culture. It wasn't what I excepted, which was a account of a geek in Japan from his view-point with funny stories. Instead your treated to a well-thought  out guide to every little thing about Japan. Layed-out like a trendy magazine every page contains a bit of this and that.

Questions about locations, manners and just how it'll be when you get off the plane are answered. A step-by-step guide of whats going to happen as you browse Japan. Like one of the tag line in the inside cover it was made for the Internet age. Pictures with subsections are filling the book.

From like Japanese television without understanding it to what Japanese family life is like, he covers everything. The book starts off with what it's like getting off the plane in Japan, but immediately moves into it's history and culture. What symbols mean from animes and stuff you've might of seen on tv. The book flows into modern Japan and what it's like, a typical day for someone. It shift back to current culture and getting to know what it mean to be Otaku. This leads to Japanese media and finally the best way to experience Japan, visiting Tokyo.

One bit that had me chuckling was "Why Do The Japanese Commit Suicide?" it's like telling one long joke with a straight face. This excerpt was too funny, "Apparently, the Chuo Line is ideal for suicide because trains go very fast inside the city (at more than 60 mph) and there's little visibilty, which makes it more liekly that the train driver won't be able to apply breaks in time." The hole books isn't tha morbid, but it get into the dirty stuff while sounding plain and dandy.

My only gripe would be not having a nicer layout like a Japanese magazine with a picture on one page of a model near the location or item. It's more like a text book for social studies for school, except well written an easy to understand. All the pictures except for a few were taken , by the writer Hector himself. So jam packed with knowledge it's understandable why he didn't take that format. It's is a an accomplishment and I'd recommend this book to anyone traveling to Japan for the first time.

Hector took the time to write out a guide about a place and culture he really enjoys as it seems it was a labor of love. I really like he took the time at the end of the book asking people to e-mail him of anything was wrong or if went to long in a chapter. It's nice to read a humble writer's note like that.

It has the Otaku in mind or the early Otaku explaining even what a Otaku is and it's subcultures. Like a beginner friendly version of the Otaku Encyclopedia. If your a Otaku or someone just interested in Japanese culture this is the perfect gateway to get to know more.

A Geek in Japan is a book you"ll want to come back to, you can stop and pick it up again and never fill lost.

Check out the author, Hector Garcia's translated blog here

A Geek in Japan $12.89 on Amazon, right now