geek in japan is a book written by hector garcia and endorsed by japanophile and oracle ceo larry ellison as fascinating. i recommend this comprehensive tour of japanese culture, history and society for both the beginners and the advanced.
hector is also the author of a world class blog one of the kirainet.com on japan and its ways. browse it because it’s a great source of japan-related info. i would have loved to know about it before i first went to japan.
if you are wondering what are the topics covered, i picked up the most important ones.
- the samurai code – bushido – and its surprising effect on present day japan
- the intricacies of the japanese language
- the specifically japanese concepts
- religion: buddhism, shintoism and confucianism
- the japanese arts: cha do (tea ceremony), sho do (caligraphy), ikebana, kabuku, martial arts
- hanne – what you want to do, tatemae – what you have to do
- the greater good
- the tribes (the fashion cults, the yakuza, the salary men, the otaku, etc.)
- cool japan: manga, anime, music, tv and movies
- sakura, lucky cat, pachinko, onsen, geishas
- workplace culture and manners
- technology, science and robotics
- food (ramen, tempura, sushi, yakitori) and drinks (sake, awomori, shochu)
- thorough advice for travelers: first, tokyo per districts and then, the entire country
- and a selection of essentials and secret places. i loved the secret places! i have only visited one of them – the ghibli museum in tokyo. i’m planning to check out rest and put some of them on my to-do list for the future trip.
you must read this detailed introduction in the multi-layered japanese world. i promise you will enjoy it!
the book is currently available at a great price.
photo credits: tuttle publishing