Dave Barry Does Japan

( 14 )

Overview

"One of the funniest peole ever to tap tap on a PC."
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
Not since George Bush's memorable dinner with the Japanese prime minister has the Land of the Rising Sun seen the likes of a goodwill ambassador like Dave Barry. Join him as he belts out oldies in a karaoke bar, marries a geriatric geisha girl, takes his first bath in public, bows to just about everyone, and explores culture shock in all its numerous humorous forms, including: Failing to Learn Japanese in...

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Dave Barry Does Japan

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Overview

"One of the funniest peole ever to tap tap on a PC."
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
Not since George Bush's memorable dinner with the Japanese prime minister has the Land of the Rising Sun seen the likes of a goodwill ambassador like Dave Barry. Join him as he belts out oldies in a karaoke bar, marries a geriatric geisha girl, takes his first bath in public, bows to just about everyone, and explores culture shock in all its numerous humorous forms, including: Failing to Learn Japanese in Only Five Minutes (Or: "Very Much Good Morning, Sir!") ; Humor in Japan (Take My Tofu, Please!); Sports in Japan ("Yo, Batter! Loudly Make it Fly!"), and more.

Barry samples Japan's native cuisine ("things that have eyeballs or suckers or other flagrantly unacceptable organs still attached to them"); experiences the agonies of Kabuki and the ecstasies of karaoke; takes his first (and last) bath in public; and explores culture shock in all its humorous forms.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A first-class all-expenses-paid three-week vacation in Japan, underwritten by his publisher, provides Miami Herald columnist and humorist Barry with material for some tired gags about language problems, kowtowing, eating and other quick-take visitor befuddlements in the land of the rising sun. Dutifully covering the standard tourist attractions, including Hiroshima, Mount Fiji and the pearl factories, he presents himself as a sort of Everyman-in-Japan-for-the-first-time, fueling his jokes with his ignorance of the language, history and culture. Although much of the humor is strained or tasteless, on occasion readers can laugh without embarrassment. Nevertheless this made-to-order book will likely find a made-to-order audience among fans of such previous titles as Dave Barry Slept Here. Oct.
Robert J. Collins
The majority of "Dave Barry Does Japan" is on target...."My most important finding," he tells us, "does not involve the difference between us and Japan; it involves the similarities. Because despite the gulf, physical and cultural, between the United States and Japan, both societies are, in the end, made up of people, and people everywhere -- when you strip away their superficial differences -- are crazy." -- New York Times
Kirkus Reviews
Barry (Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need, 1991, etc.), syndicated humorist and author of a lot of funny books (most with his name in the title—as if there's a lot of shoddy imitation), does it again. This time he does it to the Land of the Rising Sun. The current offering beats making the trip. As Barry notes, "flying from the United States to Japan takes approximately as long as law school." And the book is cheaper. This volume is full of insight into ethnic differences (it would be simpler, for example, "to get the entire population of Tokyo to wear matching outfits than to get any two randomly selected Americans to agree on pizza toppings") and technical similarities ("Japanese telephones work pretty much like ours, except that the person on the other end doesn't understand you"). The always cosmopolitan author, with spouse and ten-year-old son, goes to a mannerly baseball game, sits through a bit of Kabuki, attends a puzzling comedy club, gapes at sumo wrestlers, nearly views Mt. Fuji, worries about the eel shortage, sings karaoke with the worst of them, experiences almost terminal tranquility at a traditional inn, and takes a traditional bath with his traditional yakuta tied wrong. Don't confuse the first-class clowning with contemporary Japan-bashing. Barry sees things quite clearly. And, inspired by a visit to Hiroshima, there's a new, thoughtful touch of maturity. Throughout, though, Barry seeks to avoid the very real dangers of mutual understanding between nations. He succeeds admirably, with his accustomed slapstick ease. A droll, light companion to all those heavy texts that offer dreary, detailed analyses of Nippon and its people; and if your yakuta istied wrong, the hell with it. (Line drawings by Barry throughout.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449908105
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/1993
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 210
  • Sales rank: 653,354
  • Product dimensions: 5.28 (w) x 8.21 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Dave Barry

Dave Barry has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. His columns

Biography

In the introduction to Dave Barry Is Not Taking This Sitting Down, the author addresses the desirability of his job as a humor writer and syndicated columnist. "It looks so easy!" he wrote. "...Every year, hundreds of thousands of people try their hand at this demanding profession. After a few months, almost all of them have given up and gone back to the ninth grade."

Yes, Barry is juvenile at times -- but he has achieved the kind of success that can only come from combining a juvenile mind with intelligence, timing, and a keen eye for the absurd. Favorite Barry targets include government inanity, dogs, guys, the Internet, and other oddities of life. He also specializes in weird news and urban myths involving UFO hunters, Pop-Tart science, and toilets. Many of these essays feature the line that has become his catchphrase, "I am not making this up." (Unless, of course, he is introducing something serious and daunting such as a book about the federal government, in which case he reassures that he has made everything up.)

Usually, though, he's not making it up. What he's doing is making it very funny. Whether the target is Congress or commercials, Barry refuses to take anything seriously, least of all himself – but he manages to convey some pretty indicting truths in the process. He's a master of irony and visual punchlines, sometimes interrupting himself with lists, snippets of dialogue, or other on-topic digressions. On the subject of turning 50 and dealing with waning eyesight (a "good thing" about aging, because "you can't read anything"), Barry describes finding restaurant menus suddenly printed "in letters the height of bacteria." He continues: "For some reason, everybody else seemed to be able to read the menus. Not wishing to draw attention to myself, I started ordering my food by simply pointing to a likely looking blur.

ME (pointing to a blur): I'll have this.
WAITER: You'll have "We Do Not Accept Personal Checks"?
ME: Make that medium rare."

Barry has had the most successful and prolific publishing career of any working newspaper columnist, and his humor never seems to go out of style. In 1999, he decided to try his hand at fiction. The result was Big Trouble, a comic thriller à la Carl Hiassen (though filled more with gags than guns) that Entertainment Weekly proclaimed "... not only very funny, [but] sure-footed, even-handed, levelheaded, and other leading book review adjectives." In 2004, he and Ridley Pearson collaborated on Peter and the Starcatchers, a clever prequel to Peter Pan that spawned two additional novels and a series of spin-off children's chapter books.

Along with several other published authors, Barry is a member of the musical group Rock Bottom Remainders. In assessing the band's talents, he has been quoted as saying: "They are not musically skilled, but they are extremely loud."

Good To Know

The Rock Bottom Remainders was originally organized by a publicist to perform at the 1992 American Booksellers Association convention. The members -- which include (or have included) Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, Barbara Kingsolver, Mitch Albom, and Matt Groening -- even took their show on the road at one point, turning it into the now out-of-print Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America with Three Chords and an Attitude.

Some things never change: Barry was elected class clown by his Pleasantville High School class in 1965.

Barry got his start in journalism at the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pennsylvania, then worked as a business writing consultant before joining the Miami Herald in 1983.

Attempts to convert Barry's humor to the screen have been less than memorable. The early '90s CBS sitcom based on two of his books and starring Harry Anderson, Dave's World, was short-lived; the spring 2002 release Big Trouble, starring Tim Allen, didn't fare well at the box office. Barry did, however, get a cameo in the latter.

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    1. Hometown:
      Miami, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 3, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Armonk, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Haverford College, 1969
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2003

    Dave Barry Seized Japan by Storm !!!

    I saw this book on a bookstore's shelf when I visited Japan 5 years ago. At that time I actually looked for books which would enhance my knowledge of Japan, and I bought this book simply because it has the word 'Japan' on its cover. But what did I know...as soon as I open the book, I was drowned in my tears of laughters, and I ended up being the biggest fan of Mr. Barry's books just because this book. I proceeded to hunt every other book that Mr. Barry ever wrote, and I even buy some of his books through this very own internet bookstore. I would recommend this book to anyone who's looking for a light reading after a stressful day, because it sure can put a smile on your face.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2011

    Highly Recommend

    CAUTION! you will need Kleenex, and be close to the bathroom, as usual Dave Barry is hiliarious! Funny is not an adequate description of his humor. I laugh so hard, people around me begin to leave, or think I have lost my mind. He just has a way with words.Buy this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2003

    Really funny and mostly true

    I've lived in Japan and visited often. My friend was only there for a few days. We both roared and guffawed (Barry's work lacks the subtlety of a giggle). Barry weaves true facts and keen observations with only a little exaggeration to capture the experience of a foreigner in the mix of traditional and modern that characterizes Japan.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2000

    The one not to miss!

    I am French and this is the first and only book I have ever read of Dave Barry. I was in Japan for a year when an American friend introduced me to this book. Everything Dave tells in the book about Japan is so true, and the way he puts it is so funny that after redaing the book you will feel like you've been there yourself, and you will be floating in a river of tears from laughing so much! I love this book and read it several times already. I now want to buy more books via the net, but I don't really know which are the best!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    Chuck

    Sorry babe but i would only do that to a beautiful girl like you

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2014

    Monica

    "Uh huh." She raced back inside.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2014

    Sid

    She sits by the lake looking at the water.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2014

    Lake

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2013

    THE COVER IS HILARIOUS

    LOL

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  • Posted November 16, 2009

    Makes traveling to Japan especially enjoyable

    Dave Barry takes on Japan, and has a blast. Very funny book that prepared my wife and I for our recent trip. A fairly accurate assessment of what the typical tourist will encounter.

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    Posted November 25, 2010

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    Posted January 9, 2011

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    Posted May 4, 2010

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