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The Many Roads to Japan Paperback – January 10, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Japanese people often ask foreigners why they came to Japan. It is not always an easy question to answer. There are many, often complicated, reasons that bring foreigners to Japan. "The Many Roads to Japan" tells the story of the adventures of one foreigner who had to follow many twists and turns in his life journey before finding his niche in Japan.

College-aged students will find they have much in common with John Banks, the main character of this story. As with today's youth, who find themselves in a world that no longer offers them any guarantees and yet demands from them crucial decisions to be made at an early age, so it was with John Banks and his generation, who in their teenage years were also faced with making important decisions in a turbulent, changing world. The decisions made between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two can have a strong effect on the rest of one's life.

The key event in John's life was his decision to refuse to fight in the Vietnam War. This decision launched him on a search that ultimately led him around the world and finally to Japan. "The Many Roads to Japan" chronicles that search. I hope that "The Many Roads to Japan," in showing how John's perseverance and faith in himself helped him survive many ordeals and realize his dreams, will serve as a source of inspiration for young readers facing an increasingly uncertain future.

The various exercises at the end of every chapter are designed both to provide a review of the most important information contained in the chapters and to give practice in skimming for main ideas and scanning for specific kinds of information. If done in class, the teacher should use strict time limits to encourage the development of these important reading skills. The discussion/essay questions are meant to involve students personally in the story by asking them to respond to the events in John's life and relate them to their own experiences.

I hope you enjoy this book.

From the Inside Flap


"'The Many Roads to Japan' influenced my students a lot, not only in studying English but also in searching for their own identities and thinking about how to live their lives." -- Kazuyo Yamane, Peace Studies lecturer at Kochi University and Japanese coordinator of the International Network of Peace Museums

"Mr. Norris's description of the world of adventure as well as that of misery reminds me of Saul Bellow's 'The Adventures of Augie March,' 'Henderson the Rain King,' or 'Herzog'.... Norris's story of a symbolic life is a gift from his own experience, and it gives us something good, meaningful, and inspiring. The comprehension questions, exercises, and discussion/essay questions are quite useful in helping Japanese students to think in English and in encouraging them to express themselves in English as well. This is the ideal textbook I have been looking for, and while using it I am happy to say that I can steer clear of the traditional grammar-translation method, which I find so time-consuming and ineffective." -- Professor Kazushige Sagawa, Aoyama Gakuin University

"Excellent! I was mesmerized by the visual descriptions of all the places seen by the narrator and the struggle he went through to find the meaning of his life, and what he really wanted to do with the rest of it. I think it's a great learning tool for any student, and it was certainly well written. I'm putting it in my keeper file. There's a lot of information in there you'd never find anywhere else. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down." -- Beth Anderson, author of "Night Sounds," "Murder Online," and "Second Generation"


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