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Japan, Funny Side Up [Kindle Edition]

Amy Chavez
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $9.99

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Book Description

Veteran Japan Times columnist Amy Chavez guides you through the complex culture of Japan through essays, cultural tips and useful Japanese phrases to make learning about Japan as fun as possible. Chavez tells you why you should go to a naked festival, how to avoid the Japanese mafia, and how to order "Spaghetti--hold the seaweed."

Editorial Reviews


"Whether you're planning a trip to Japan, thinking of relocating there or are just curious about this fascinating country, you'll find Japan, Funny Side Up a highly entertaining read." --Wendy Tokunaga, author Love in Translation

The chapter "How to Identify Fish by their Facial Expressions," was enlightening & funny, a great sample of the info-humor that Chavez demonstrates so fluidly in her book.
--Get Hiroshima

Part guidebook, part tongue-in-cheek cultural encyclopedia, its short, breezy chapters are perfect for Japan newbies who may not have time to discover everything on their own. It's clear that Amy Chavez knows her stuff. --Tokyo Bounce

Product Details

  • File Size: 479 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GEAPQ0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,445 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing, light-hearted snapshot of life in Japan February 15, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Having visited Japan for a month in 2006, then lived in Okayama for a year between 2009 and 2010 and furthermore having had a life-long fascination with Japanese history and culture, I have experience of reading a great number of travel guides and books about this fascinating country. The one observation I would make of these books is that they are mostly dry, humourless, rinse and repeat guides highlighting the same places to visit and peddling the same experiences, and whilst there is absolutely a place for these books they fail to capture an important aspect of Japan, namely the fun, adventure and humour of everyday life in this curious country.

Amy Chavez breaks the mould with this collection of articles and observations from her many collated years of living in Japan and it struck a chord with me on almost every page. My personal favourite section was the chapter which describes the delights of transportation in Japan and as I read I reminisced about being in very similar situations during my time living in Japan. I loved travelling through Okayama on a local bus as each corner turned would uncover small surprises. This is an alternative guide to Japan and it focuses on aspects of Japanese culture and life that most of the mainstream travel books miss out on, it doesn't try to cover the same old well-trodden path, it presents new information for the Japan enthusiast to feast on in a very light-hearted, amusing and sometimes surreal way.

I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who hopes to travel to Japan one day, or indeed to anyone who already has and has happy memories of the time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a tongue-in-cheek report of frequent visits to Japan February 2, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
No way would I describe Ms Chavez as an insider or even a connaisseur, she clings too fast to her US norms and occasionally borders on the irreverent with her interpretations of Japanese culture, or on the useless when her only tip about the Tokyo underground system is to use the circular line as the rest is too arcane and difficult. Do the London tube or the French Metro have maps in Japanese? No, but the Tokyo underground is clearly signposted in English, making it a lot easier to get around than we deserve.
Her chapters about food and toilets are funny but again she doesn't get into any depth, clinging to her "superior" position as an outsider. Again the Japanese make a lot more effort to make their visitors comfortable than North Americans do so it'd have been nice to see some acknowledgement of that.
But it's fun if superficial, so if you're not looking for a guidebook or social analysis you may appreciate the levity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and useful March 14, 2012
By brittog
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book has very useful information about Japan and the chronicles are written in a light, funny way. Great reading for those curious about the country and also first-time travelers seeking to know a bit more about how to get around there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious February 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Amy Chaves is absolutly hilarious. I purchased this book because I will be moving to Japan for a year and a half with work and wanted to get an understanding of what I was getting myself into. I don't think there was a page I didn't laugh at. I highly recomend this book to anyone who has, is, or might ever visit Japan. Oh, ya ....and watch out for the cockatiels!
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More About the Author

Amy Chavez has been a columnist with The Japan Times since 1997. Her feature articles have been published in magazines around the world including Japan, the UK, US, Canada, Indonesia and New Zealand. She lives on Shiraishi Island, a small island of just 580 people in Japan's Seto Inland Sea where she and her husband run the Moooo! Bar (world's first bar for cows!) on the beach in the summertime.


Listen to an interview with Amy by Dot Cannon of "Over Coffee" radio show where they talk about running the Shikoku Pilgrimage and learning to live life on your own terms:

See the Running the Shikoku Pilgrimage book trailer at:

Past book signings: LA Times Festival of Books, Los Angeles, CA; Koyasan Buddhist Temple, Los Angeles, CA; "Four Stories," Osaka, Japan, Good Day Books Tokyo, Foreign Correspondents' Club Japan, Tokyo, Society of Writers,Editors,Translators in Kobe, Japan.

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