Learning to Bow: An American Teacher in a Japanese School

Learning to Bow: An American Teacher in a Japanese School

3.8 17
by Bruce Feiler
     
 

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Learning to Bow has been heralded as one of the funniest, liveliest, and most insightful books ever written about the clash of cultures between America and Japan. With warmth and candor, Bruce Feiler recounts the year he spent as a teacher in a small rural town. Beginning with a ritual outdoor bath and culminating in an all-night trek to the top of Mt.

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Overview

Learning to Bow has been heralded as one of the funniest, liveliest, and most insightful books ever written about the clash of cultures between America and Japan. With warmth and candor, Bruce Feiler recounts the year he spent as a teacher in a small rural town. Beginning with a ritual outdoor bath and culminating in an all-night trek to the top of Mt. Fuji, Feiler teaches his students about American culture, while they teach him everything from how to properly address an envelope to how to date a Japanese girl.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Feiler's account offers an instructive, amusing inside look at a vaunted educational system. Invited by the Japanese Ministry of Education to teach English in a junior high school, Feiler arrived, shortly after graduation from Yale, in rural Sano, 50 miles north of Tokyo, where he was the first foreigner seen by many of the city's inhabitants. Among the cultural shocks he describes is his welcome with a ritual collective outdoor bath. Noting that characteristics such as group loyalty and community responsibility are fostered in a system that requires students to clean their schools and neighborhoods, Feiler lists aspects of the Japanese system that might successfully be translated to American schools, while acknowledging such negatives as the lack of free choice and individual expression. BOMC selection. (Sept.)
Library Journal
In 1987-88, Feiler was a participant in the Japanese government's Living English program, teaching English and American culture in the middle schools of Sano, a rural town north of Tokyo. His report is a light-hearted yet extremely perceptive analysis of an educational system which systematically and deliberately teaches students the work ethic and a strong group identity. After his first-day welcome in a communal bath, Feiler is encouraged by his host family and friends to participate in festivals, observances, and local customs, all of which he colorfully describes. He also contrasts Japanese and American school objectives while thoroughly examining Japanese educational methodology. His book is recommended to educators and all who want to understand contemporary Japanese culture. See also Lois Peak's Learning to Go to School in Ja pan , reviewed on p. 116.--Ed.-- Shirley L. Hopkinson, San Jose State Univ., Cal.
School Library Journal
YA-- Curious YAs will welcome this sensitive and readable account by a young American exchange teacher of his years in a junior high school system 50 miles outside Tokyo. He talks about much more than school life, however, and readers cannot help comparing the Japanese society to ours, sometimes finding ours, theirs, or both wanting. American students (and teachers) will be particularly interested to learn how Japanese schools instill in students a sense of responsibility to the group and the state, using activities that would set up a howl if suggested here. --Judy McAloon, Richard Byrd Library, Fairfax County, VA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061863592
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
401,967
File size:
1 MB

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