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Village Japan: Everyday Life in a Rural Japanese Community Paperback – June, 1999

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In the nooks and crannies of fast-paced contemporary Japan, an older way of life barely survives in remote rural communities. In the mid-1990s, British author Ritchie and his Japanese wife sojourned for more than two years in Sora, a fishing and farming village on the Japan Sea coast peopled mostly by the elderly. Through his own rambles around the countryside and conversations with his neighbors, whose foibles and idiosyncrasies he sketches sympathetically, Ritchie steeped himself in local customs, festivals, lore, and religious practices centered on Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. Although his book is filled with keen observation and fascinating detail, it is not an anthropologist's village studyAit is a Buddhist meditation, an elegy. In tones of gentle reproof, Ritchie laments the imminent loss of a holistic way of life that connected community and cosmos. This beautiful book belongs in public and academic libraries.ASteven I. Levine, Univ. of Montana, Missoula
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing (June 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804821216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804821216
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,123,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Paul Wedel on June 3, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Village Japan during a trip through rural Japan, hoping it would help me understand the people and culture. The anecdotes in the early chapters were interesting as the author settles into life in a Japanese village. I thought Malcom Ritchie's length of time living the village and his language ability would generate deeper insights into Japanese life. Too often, however, he focuses on the odd rather than the usual. He prefers to entertain rather than explain. He spends much of the book regaling us with accounts of the weird actions of the village drunk. Amusing at first, these eventually become tedious and bring us no closer to understanding how the thinking, actions and beliefs of rural Japan have evolved to coexist with hi-tech, modern Japan. My own travels raised questions of how the polite, older generation that now seem to dominate in rural areas understand the brash, more international younger generation that throng the cities. I appreciate what Ritchie was able to tell us, but I wish there could have been more insight - a lot more.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Easy reading and informative. I enjoyed the descriptions of life in a remote part of Japan. I allowed myself to consider the personal and community activities of village residents and their attitude to an Outsider.
When I think of Japan I recall the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Fukuoka and Narita - 127 million people.
I recall the discipline demanded of me and many others who trained in Martial Arts
This book took me into the intimate enclosure of the main characters.
Routine, behaviour, likes and dislikes, conduct and values are quite different from most other cultures.
The elder statesman is quite a character.
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