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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What I've Been Waiting For
An unabashed Japanophile, I've collected a fair number of books on the country over the years, searching for that one book that would offer both decent photography and meaty content. While that's a lot to ask, I think "A Geek in Japan" comes the closest to fitting the bill.

Die-hard Japanophiles probably won't encounter too much in the way of new information...
Published on May 26, 2011 by Aaron S. Berman

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok if you are not a real geek
It's a fine compilation of japanese culture facts, which is ok, but for the the title I expected it to be more "geeky" in an technologic and "otaku" sort of way. I'm not the ultimate manga/anime consumer, but I do get my share, and I bought this on the airport hours before I arrive Tokyo, hoping this could be useful to identify certain "otaku"...
Published 21 months ago by Celso Zelaya


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What I've Been Waiting For, May 26, 2011
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This review is from: A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony (Paperback)
An unabashed Japanophile, I've collected a fair number of books on the country over the years, searching for that one book that would offer both decent photography and meaty content. While that's a lot to ask, I think "A Geek in Japan" comes the closest to fitting the bill.

Die-hard Japanophiles probably won't encounter too much in the way of new information here -- the strength of the book is purely in its presentation. Within the pages of this slim volume, you get hundreds of color photos of every aspect of Japan, every one of them dynamic, without the usual "travelogue" pics so many books have resorted to. I was particularly pleased to see the author has taken the "little bit of everything" approach, which means you can open a page at random and find something interesting to read. This isn't a single narrative, but rather made up of page-long sections covering everything from food to Japanese company dynamics. Bonus points for a two-page spread that demonstrates the evolution of "Densha Otoko" from anonymous forum posting to full-fledged Japanese multimedia phenomenon.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for Japan lovers, May 31, 2011
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This review is from: A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony (Paperback)
I truly enjoyed this book and I think it's going to delight anyone with an interest in Japan. It reads as a true personal experience of the country, not another tourist guide or brochure, it includes gorgeous photographs (taken by the author) and even though the word "geek" is on the title, Mr. Garcia strikes a difficult balance in the subjects he portraits, ranging from ancient traditions to the latest trends without forgetting the craziest Akihabara antics.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immerse yourself in Japan, May 26, 2011
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This review is from: A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony (Paperback)
A geek in Japan is not a travel guide, but rather a way to immerse you in the Japanese culture, and therefore an essential read for anyone that really wants to enjoy a trip to Japan or learn about this wonderful country.

The author is an amazing photographer, and the whole book is populated with beautiful photos illustrating the different aspects of the Japanese culture. This fun, dynamic and colorful presentation manages to bring this book to life. You will find yourself jumping from section to section looking at fun pictures, and every time you start reading one of the sections it becomes so engaging that you will have to read it all. The narrative is fresh, fun and easy to read, while at the same time providing very complete and accurate description of a myriad of topics from the ancient traditions to the modern popular culture, and plenty of tips for travelers.

I got this book a couple of days ago, it is such a page turner than I went through it almost non-stop, and I find myself reading again sections I like and looking at the pictures on them. I highly recommend it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A guide for the Otaku and others ~, August 22, 2012
This review is from: A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony (Paperback)
This isn't a Fodor's guide in any universe. This is a current, cultural cross section of Japan. I have read many books on Japan, and this is among my favorites. Despite not having any earth shattering new information, it is well put together and very engaging. Despite the repeated Naruto references... (Actually four I think). It is definitely geared towards a younger crowd, though not really only for teenagers. I feel like the target audience is about 16 to 36. Young folks looking to learn more about other cultures and hopefully travel there one day.

The earlier sections discuss the history of Japan briefly. It's actually fun. A brief mention is made of the shogunate and all, but the author quickly moves on to the more interesting historical aspects. We read about the four writing systems used in Japan. We also look at Ukiyo-e (simply one of my personal favorite art styles), martial arts, calligraphy, religion (Shinto is really interesting), and traditions such as the tea ceremony and de-bunking myths about Geisha.

The heart of the book discusses current culture and society in Japan, from working folks, to younger folks. The author discusses the interesting after hours 'work party' atmosphere prevalent in Japan. He also makes mention of schooling and the intense competition for entrance into prestigious high schools and universities. We also read about the intense pressure put on these school kids.

A lot of content is spent on modern pop culture in Japan. By modern, I mean post WW2. We look at the history of manga and anime. One section is dedicated to current music in Japan and mentions bands such as L'arc en Ciel and Orange Range.

The final section covers briefly some of the sights to see when visiting Japan. The author definitely shows his preference for Kyoto and Tokyo (which are the two cities to visit for your first time). A brief mention is made of some of the other nearby cities. But it's by no means a travel guide, so he doesn't spend a lot of page on the other places. I don't even think he mentions Sapporo or Ise.

It is a fun book, with nice, glossy pictures showing a lot of what Westerner's don't see often in guide books, and that is people in Japan going about their lives. Instead of having 400 pictures of temples, we see Japanese workers at a bar, an actual Geisha (rare to get a photo of a real one), cosplayers, youngsters just hanging out, and families at parks and festivals.

It's a worthy purchase for an Otaku, or even someone really interested in Japanese culture. The author moved to Japan in 2004, and is a real, honest geek with an MS in software engineering. I love that in his picture on the back flap he is wearing a Blade Runner shirt. How awesome is that?
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I had this during my stay in Japan, June 19, 2011
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This review is from: A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony (Paperback)
I lived in Japan for 4 years and every-time I used to step out of my house, I used to see something and wonder what that is, wonder why they do that, wonder what I should do now. And I could never get an answer to my questions sometimes because of the language barrier, sometimes because I didn't want to sound like a "gaijin" and sometimes because even Japanese people didn't know the answer. To them, that was just the way things were. A Geek in Japan is like a compilation of answers to all questions that ever crossed my mind presented in a fun, colorful and extremely addictive way. Every other page there was an A-HA moment for me. If you ever plan to visit Japan, are there already or are just curious about it, this book is for you. Japan is a fascinating but mysterious place for any foreigner, and having all those mysteries unraveled through this extremely well written book can make your stay many times more interesting and memorable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hyper-Surrealistic Guidebook To Japan, September 3, 2014
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This review is from: A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony (Paperback)
When I picked up "A Geek in Japan" I didn't know what to expect, nor did I particularly expect to find a book I'd enjoy or find useful, but I was wrong. I was preparing for a three week trek across Japan and was reading all I could get my hands on. Despite not being into manga, anime, or (especially) J-Pop, I found this book to be interesting and topical. García is a brilliant young writer (he has a MS in Software Engineering and worked for CERN…) and is great at breaking ties with stiflingly stodgy travel guide sensibilities and writing about contemporary subjects in a contemporary way. The photographs and illustrations are excellent, and his viewpoints are intriguing; most of all his advice is sage and worth paying attention to. I found Chapter 11, "Visiting Tokyo" to be among the most useful and relevant things I read in preparation for my time spent there. I actually carried this book with me to Japan (and home) but I got the most use out of it preparing for the trip.

If you are looking for a traditional guidebook to Japan, Fodor's has an excellent offering (I have theirs too,) but if you want a more youthful guide to contemporary Japan that is entertaining while still being useful, "A Geek in Japan" will be certain to pique your interest.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a stunning read, April 22, 2012
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This review is from: A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony (Paperback)
All I can say is WOW! This is definitely required reading for anyone interested in or about to visit The Land of the Rising Sun.
Before my third trip to Japan I read this book cover to cover. Even after spending a school semester in Japan, with my stepfamily (100% Japanese) I really never fully grasped or understood Japanese culture. After reading this book I feel like my eyes were finally opened, I had that AHA! moment. The basics and whys of Japanese culture, life, everything is explained so well in Hector Garcia's book. And the "geek" aspect of the book, described in such detail about anime, city tours, etc. are so awesomely well put.
Pick up this book immediately if you're interested in the slightest.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok if you are not a real geek, March 26, 2013
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It's a fine compilation of japanese culture facts, which is ok, but for the the title I expected it to be more "geeky" in an technologic and "otaku" sort of way. I'm not the ultimate manga/anime consumer, but I do get my share, and I bought this on the airport hours before I arrive Tokyo, hoping this could be useful to identify certain "otaku" spots and events I could go during the week I spend there, but the information of the book is quite general and not as specific as the title suggest.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taught me more about Japan than I've learned in months in Japan!, July 4, 2011
By 
Derek Sivers "cdbaby" (Portland, OR United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony (Paperback)
I agree with all the other 5-star reviews here. But I just had to add this:

I've been to Japan five times and spent many months here. (Typing this from Tokyo now.) I spent a month playing guitar on tour with a Japanese pop star. I had a Japanese girlfriend.

But this one book taught me more about Japan than all of my previous visits and experiences here. He really got to the heart of so many cultural things and explained them in a way that Japanese people were never ever to explain to me.

Hands-down the best book on Japan I've ever encountered. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars for Every Geek Before Going to Japan you Must Buy This, January 25, 2013
By 
Mohammad Bahareth (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony (Paperback)
This Book covers Everything to Anything a Geek would Love in Japan , Any Geek who Visits Japan Without this Book Will Have to Visit Japan Again with This Book , The Concierge in the Hotel Was Surprised by the Stuff i was asking about from the book and told me no tourist go here only japanese people , you will need a translator !! i knew then i hit the spot. if you want you Trip to Japan to be worth all your Geeky intrest you should buy this book before you complete reading my review :0 !!
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A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony
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