Thursday, March 15th, 2007
A cute book about the trip to Japan of a father and son, to meet some of Anime’s legendary figures, and to be shown, time and again, to be fundamentally wrong about Japanese culture. While this book stays on the surface of the issues a lot of the time, and some of the misunderstandings and oddities seem so naive to make me suspect exaggeration for the sake of the books thread, the subject itself is fascinating to me. Having never been to Japan, but being confronted with how utterly strange and alien the culture there is to Westerners, I find myself very unwilling to buy into it. Language books fuzz endlessly about the different politeness levels of Japanese speech, and what a unique concept that is, as though all words and phrases were applicable in all social situations in English. Likewise, many of the unfathomable quirks that are described in books like these seem to be a mix of different historical backgrounds and skewed perception on the side of the visitor, with some deliberate mythbuilding thrown in on the Japanese side, possibly as a means of establishing unity of the nation against foreign influences.
But that’s enough rambling out of me. If my plans to visit Japan this summer work out, I shall write down as much of my preconceptions as I possibly can, and try and chronicle their unfolding over the course of my stay. Maybe it’ll be as amusing as this book to read.