Thank You and Okay: Diary of an American Zen Failure in Japan

Overview

David Chadwick, a Texas-raised wanderer, college dropout, bumbling social activist, and hobbyhorse musician, began his study under Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1966. In 1988 Chadwick flew to Japan to begin a four-year period of voluntary exile and remedial Zen education. In Thank You and OK! he recounts his experiences both inside and beyond the monastery walls and offers insightful portraits of the characters he knew in that world—the bickering monks, the patient abbot, the trotting housewives, the ominous insects, ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (35) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $16.40   
  • Used (31) from $0.00   
Sending request ...

Overview

David Chadwick, a Texas-raised wanderer, college dropout, bumbling social activist, and hobbyhorse musician, began his study under Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1966. In 1988 Chadwick flew to Japan to begin a four-year period of voluntary exile and remedial Zen education. In Thank You and OK! he recounts his experiences both inside and beyond the monastery walls and offers insightful portraits of the characters he knew in that world—the bickering monks, the patient abbot, the trotting housewives, the ominous insects, the bewildered bureaucrats, and the frustrating English-language students—as they worked inexorably toward initiating him into the mysterious ways of Japan. Whether you're interested in Japan, Buddhism, or exotic travel writing, this book is great fun.

In this irresistibly funny cult-classic-in-the-making, David Chadwick recounts his offbeat experiences inside and beyond Zen Buddhist monasteries in Japan. Sketching insightful portraits of bickering monks, bewildered bureacrats, and others he met along the way, Chadwick presents an unforgettable look at Buddhism, Japan, and human nature.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hats off to newcomer Chadwick for his engaging account of a nearly four-year stay in a rural Buddhist temple and subsequent adventures in Japan. A stickler for detail, he jots down minutiae as he tries to make sense out of the mix of tradition and change--such as the ancient temple altar where 500-year-old scrolls sit next to a large matchbox bearing a picture of a grinning, winking Japanese man and the English advertising slogan ``THANK YOU AND OK!'' Chadwick, who studied Zen for more than 20 years to little avail before heading to Japan, tends to lean over backward to stare at his belly button, but his writer's skill is evident in everything from skin crawling descriptions of mukade (dreaded scorpion-like insects) to a benevolent look at takuhatsu , formal monks' begging. Several chapters are rib-tickling Abbott and Costello-type routines with Chadwick as straight man. None is finer than Chadwick's day at the Driver's License Test Building--a remarkable commentary on human endurance, the unflagging courtesy of bureaucrats in the face of ``what cannot be helped,'' and sheer lunacy as when the bureaucrat asks about the written test he had taken in California `` `And what language was the test administered in, Japanese or English?' '' The book is long and the confusing interweaving of Chadwick's stay at the temple Hogoji with accounts of life in the Japanese 'burbs is unnecessary. But whenever the reader begins to think about putting the book down, the writing picks up and one is hooked again. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Of the many books concerning a Westerner's perplexing yet revealing exploits in Japan, i.e., Oliver Statler's Japanese Pilgrimage (Morrow, 1983) and David Mura's Turning Japanese (Atlantic Monthly, 1991), Chadwick's book is not particularly better or worse. It tells of the author's four years in Japan and his attempts to further his studies in Zen Buddhism, a field in which he had been deemed a failure by previous teachers. The author's experiences are written down with good humor and keen observations, and the book moves all over the cultural map of Japan. This book is not a serious examination of Zen Buddhist practices nor a major study of East-West relations but a rollicking, anecdotal mishmash of incidents about the foibles of monks, abbots, "housewives," and fellow students of the author's. Read with this understanding, this book is good entertainment. Recommended for public libraries.-Glenn Masuchika, Chaminade Univ. Lib., Honolulu
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140194579
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/1994
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 5.61 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 1.24 (d)

Meet the Author

David Chadwick, a Texas-raised wanderer, college dropout, bumbling social activist, and hobbyhorse musician, began his Zen study under Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1966. Chadwick now lives in Northern California where he reads, writes, walks, and continues to dabble in Buddhism and related matters.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2001

    Ichiban Zen book

    This book sat on my shelf for 4 years after I bought it. Recently I picked it up and read it in under a week. Chadwick captures the essence of living in Japan while providing a glimpse into the apparent contradictions of Zen. I think I needed the 4 years to decompress after my own Japan experience and my own rediscovery of Zen. My advice to anyone: don't wait. Buy now.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)