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All-You-Can Japan: Getting the Most Bang For Your Yen Paperback – November 18, 2010
The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Josh Shulman spent the first 12 years of his life growing up in Tokyo, going through both international and Japanese school systems. Despite moving away at the age of twelve, he was absolutely determined to return to Japan as soon as and as often as he could. Junior year of high school was when Josh finally got the chance to take a six-week trip, during which he familiarized himself once again with the mesmerizing country, its complex language, and cryptic culture. Upon discharge from a three year military intelligence service, Josh packed his bags and before long he was on a plane to Japan. This time it was to work for a Japanese corporation in the IT-security field, as a sales engineer. Employed in an entirely Japanese office environment, while constantly visiting Japanese clients to demonstrate IT products, Josh got closely acquainted with the business culture and etiquette. He also picked up massive amounts of techniques the shrewd businessmen and locals in general use to get by in an expensive country while still enjoying everything it has to offer. Josh Shulman's most recent trip to Japan was as a tourist at the end of 2009, when he spent a month traveling to different parts of the country and writing his travel guide, "All-You-Can Japan." Josh knows Japan inside and out, and from different perspectives - as a resident, as a businessman, and as a traveler. His Japanese friends often say he's more Japanese than they are. You can count on Josh's knowledge and years of experience to guide you through what is truly important in your trip to Japan.
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Top customer reviews
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If you already know your way around Japan reasonably well or are looking for a guidebook, this isn't for you. But if you don't know how to save on trains by ordering a JR pass before you get there, aren't familiar with noodle bars and other bargain lunch options, and have no idea about ryokan, minshuku and love hotels, you'll find useful tips here.
There was nothing new for me but I can endorse most of the author's advice on saving money. Of course you won't want to follow it all the time and may want to splash out on occasion or even most of the time but at least you'll know there are alternatives.
Plus, I used Josh's trip planning service which was very useful to me. He recommended an itinerary and activities based on our family's interests. This was very reasonably priced and you will get a discount if you buy the book. He was able to recommend some "best kept" secrets for lodging and activities.
As an aside, the book provides some expressions in Japanese. I speak some Japanese, so I had no problems reading the expressions that were provided in the book, however, without some sort of orientation to the language, I doubt the inclusion of expressions would be useful to most readers.
I think this book would really only be useful to those who did not plan out their trip to Japan at all--but in that case, why not just buy a more comprehensive guide book like Lonely Planet?
I wasn't going to buy a guide book at all, but since neither my husband or I have every been to Asia or speak the language, we thought it might be a good idea. That and Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations Tokyo episode were our only preparation.
I only used the book to navigate around Tokyo and I am so glad I did. You have no idea how complicated the train system is (like 5 different companies with different tickets and stations)!! Thankfully I had my e-book to help me get on the right train for a few bucks instead of taking some overpriced shuttle bus for $40. We mainly came to Tokyo to eat all the things and Shulman gives great advice for cheap eats. Noodles all the way, baby. SO good and SO cheap!!!
The highlight of our trip was supposed to be the Tsukiji fish market. Well, it was closed :((( There are like 3 public holidays per year when this amazing place shuts its 1000 little doors and we were lucky enough to hit one of those days. So maybe as a recommendation to the author, please include a list of those holidays! Thankfully there are some (also cheaper) great sushi eateries if you venture a few streets away from the market. Something I would have never found without this book and I still dream about that melt-in-your-mouth tuna rice bowl (for like $7)....
Someone mentioned that you can find a lot of the info in the book online. Well duh. If you have a month to prepare for your trip and read travel blogs for hours and are able to read Japanese...... This handy and personable little book does just what it promises; it empowers you to discover Tokyo/Japan at your own pace while making it easy to navigate and affordable. It's like having a Japanese friend show you around town and take you to his favorite places. You can even write the guy and ask him questions directly! While I didn't do that during my trip, it seems like a pretty awesome gesture.
Bottom line: if you need step-by-step walking tours spelled out for you and are too scared to slurp your noodles between locals, you won't find this book very helpful. But if you like to immerse yourself into the culture and see and taste things 98% of tourists never will, this book gives you all the tools you need for an unforgettable and affordable trip. I can't wait to go back already and explore other parts of the country and I know this book will come with me again. Definitely worth the few bucks, especially if you get the kindle version.