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Wrong About Japan: A Father's Journey with His Son
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Wrong About Japan: A Father's Journey with His Son

3.13  ·  Rating Details ·  1,398 Ratings  ·  164 Reviews
The recipient of two Booker Prizes, Peter Carey expands his extraordinary achievement with each new novel–and now gives us something entirely different.

When famously shy Charley becomes obsessed with Japanese manga and anime, Peter is not only delighted for his son but also entranced himself. Thus begins a journey, with a father sharing his twelve-year-old’s exotic comic b
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Hardcover, 176 pages
Published January 11th 2005 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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aya
Apr 20, 2007 aya rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
an account of peter carey's trip to japan with his 12-year-old son to explore the world of japanese anime and manga.

it seems that all peter carey found in japan is disappointment and irritation. this would be fine, if he could turn those findings into an interesting book with any sort of insight. when i wasn't waiting for him to really get into it, i was busy being irritated and offended. (also annoyed with the translation/transliteration errors.)
it seems to me that all of his disappointment c
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Will
Apr 06, 2008 Will rated it really liked it
This little book is surprising because it is about so much, and everything it is about is covered so effectively. Here are some things that it is about:
-It is about Japan, and a Westerner in Japan, and then it is about cultural misunderstanding.
-It is about fathers and sons, and how they want to connect, and how hard that can be.
-It is about Manga and Anime, and it is about art and culture and how cultures consume art.
-It is about war, and children of war. And about how those children become pos
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Elizabeth Fitzgerald
I have to say that the more I read, the less I liked Peter Carey. He is clearly not much of a people person—his interactions with others are uniformly awkward and I was rather appalled by the way he treated his son’s friend, Takashi. He seemed more intent on rushing around, trying to achieve some purpose that wasn’t even clear to himself. He came across as being distinctly snobbish.

The book reminded me a bit of Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel. That too is about a foreigner in Japan s
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Yuko Shimizu
Jan 16, 2016 Yuko Shimizu rated it really liked it
As a Japanese, I have certain (high) expectations reading a book about Japan. When the book started off with the size of rooms and heights of ceilings in ryokan (traditional Japanese hotels), Washlet high-tech toilets and the son's mysterious internet friend who dresses like a character from Gundam, I have to admit, I almost lost interest. However, because of author's smooth and gripping way of writing (and let's face it, it is a very short book) I kept going. And I am glad I did, because I enjo ...more
Salvatore
Dec 03, 2014 Salvatore rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Carey-san may have been wrong about Japan, but at least I'm still not wrong about Carey. Ugh, one of the English language's most overrated and self-aggrandized authors currently writing. In a moment that should have suggested self-clarity, Peter Carey tells this story: 'I remember being seated next to a pugnacious New York celebrity at dinner. When I asked him a question, he glowered at me and said, "Are you interviewing me?" "You better hope not," I told him. "I'm a terrible reporter." (129). T ...more
Tine!
Nov 06, 2011 Tine! rated it liked it
I feel weird.
Most of the commentary you'll read in the reviews about Carey's personality as it comes across in the book are correct: awkward, stiffly foreign and unable to yield to the current pace of another society. At one point, his son swiftly jabs him underneath the table, which was cathartic for me, as the reader, who was just as often embarrassed by the elder's actions as I was painfully reflected in them. Perhaps it helps that I am in-between old Peter's and young Charley's age - and, r
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La Petite Américaine
Aug 08, 2008 La Petite Américaine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who Need to Kill 2 Hours
Recommended to La Petite Américaine by: Saw it at Fnac
Shelves: japan
Author Peter Carey takes his 12 year-old son to Japan when he realizes that the boy is fascinated with anime and manga. The story that unfolds is one westerner's complete miunderstanding of Japanese culture, often reaching points of being cringe-worthy. It does end triumphantly, though, and it is overall a cute read.

I'd have liked it a lot more if it weren't written in such a Booker Prize Winner/snob/father-knows-best condescending tone. Carey is the typical kind of annoying dad that doesn't und
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Beatriz
Oct 27, 2016 Beatriz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, owned, 2017
When I started reading this book, the words that popped into my mind were “Japan, anime, manga, cosplay”. The book indeed talks about all these things, but it goes more further than just that.

In a journey to Japan, Peter takes his son Charley, a fan of anime and manga, to discover the beauties of the country. Peter tries to “open his son’s eyes” for the Japanese culture and history, but he’s too focused on entertainment and technology.

This takes us to a matter that people should think about: why
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Rita
Mar 14, 2017 Rita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mine, japao
Este livro foi sem dúvida muito interessante, sou apaixonada pela cultura asiática, tudo começou com o Japão para ser mais exata e sempre que existem livros eu procuro lê-los para conhecer novas curiosidades.
Devo salientar o facto de ter aqui o testemunho de um sobrevivente da guerra.
Vou fazer decididamente uma opinião especial no meu canal.
Carolyn
I found this slim volume on sale for just a couple of bucks at my local bookstore and picked it up because it looked, at first glance, like a breezy account of the author's visit with his son to Japan, a country I very much hope to visit myself one day. Ultimately, I found the experience of reading the book somewhat frustrating. Peter Carey seems to go through the book in a near-constant state of frustration and embarrassment as his attempts to understand Japanese culture are politely but firmly ...more
Amber Berry
Nov 22, 2012 Amber Berry rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
I'd like to say that I really liked this short book, but it wasn't what I'd anticipated. The subject interested me: a writer taking his 12-year old son to Japan for the first time and meeting some of the leaders (stars) of manga and anime. The most impressive thing for me is that Mr. Carey was honest about their experiences. I would not have wanted to write about a child of mine being so disrespectful to me as his son was toward him. At least the son knew how to act in public.

From some reviews,
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Tony
Jun 17, 2012 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
WRONG ABOUT JAPAN: A Father’s Journey With His Son. (2004). Peter Carey. ****.
This is a short travel log expanded into a book that was kept by Mr. Carey on a trip he took with his twelve-year-old son to Japan. The purpose of the trip was to learn more about manga and anime which his son was deeply into. His son, Charley, was, as it was called in Japanese, an otaku, which has many translations, but, in Charley’s case meant an obsessive anime fan. Carey believed that there were nuances in both an
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Jacobmartin
Peter Carey, you're so wrong about Japan. It feels so wrong reading about your wrongness, that it's right. I really enjoyed the shock Peter Carey had when he found out that Gundam was designed to sell toy robots, but alas, he claimed to know the true meaning of it while knowing nothing at all. Apparently one of the characters in this isn't even real, making this travel book even less reliable.
Beth
Feb 18, 2009 Beth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Uh, so basically Peter Carey wanted to take his kid on a vacation to Japan, and he didn't want to pay for it, so he knocked some short crappy book together about it and called it good.
(9 3/4) Gerasimos
Jun 25, 2017 (9 3/4) Gerasimos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I thought it would be fun to read this right after 1Q84 and I really enjoyed it. It's nothing more than the experience of Peter Carey and his son when they visited Tokyo and it really makes you feel like you are on vacation too, exploring a new city and its culture. Surprisingly even though the book is really short he manages to pack it tons of stuff and information. Carey sometimes comes across as a weird snobbish man who is examining Japan as a white westerner looking into some weird peculiari ...more
Tyler
Aug 08, 2011 Tyler rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Meh. But I paid 2$ at Chapters for it at the discount bin. I went to Japan shortly after this with a Japanese gf and this book really over-glamorizes the people and culture. If anyone was wrong about Japan, it's Carey. The people there are not much different from us westerners, and I was not as culture shocked as I thought 'd be. He makes the people out to be mega nerd who dress like comic book heros on a daily basis. Carey also spends too much time over-analyzing the GUNDAM franchise when what ...more
Margarida
Nesta viagem realizada por pai e filho, conhecemos o Japão pela perspectiva da animação japonesa, o que torna este um livro ideal para todos os amantes da cultura japonesa, em particular do manga e anime. Ficou ainda muito por apresentar sobre este "Novo Japão", e o que foi descrito não correspondeu a todas as minhas expectativas.

De realçar o testemunho de um sobrevivente da 2ª Guerra Mundial, e a sua percepção enquanto criança na altura da Guerra. O livro despertou-me vontade de resgatar algun
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Kate
Aug 25, 2015 Kate rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, japan
So excruciatingly bad a book I think it actually contaminates the Carey novels I'd previously read and enjoyed.
Zanna
Aug 15, 2013 Zanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Zanna by: Samadrita
Carey-san doesn’t mean that other people are wrong about Japan, but that he is. I like that the state of being, as a foreigner, wrong about Japan, about its high culture, pop culture, people and traditions, over and over and over again, and the awareness of this state, has been made into a book. This is the necessary relationship of the foreigner to Japan. Foreigners want to understand, but to understand it is necessary to be Japanese.

This is a shorthand, meaning, for me, that whatever piece of
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Julia Erlanger
After war week, I needed something lighter. So of course I went online to the past syllabus for a class I’m taking this summer called “Adult Popular Literature” and spent two hours going through recommended reading lists to find things I might enjoy reading. Westerns and mysteries and romance novels, crime and narrative nonfiction and “gentle” fiction and all the stuff I NEVER READ EVER. I’m trying something new! I’m going to learn to appreciate it!

I picked this one because lots of people I know
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Julie
Wrong About Japan tells the tale of Peter Carey's trip to Japan with his 12-year-old son, Charley. Charley has become obsessed with manga and anime (and Gundam in particular) and so Carey pulls his publishing-world strings to get interviews with some major anime/manga figures: Yoshiyuki Tomino, the director of the early Gundam series; Hiroyuki Kitakubo, director of Blood: The Last Vampire; and perhaps most impressively, filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki.

In planning the trip, they kept talking about "Real
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Cassandra
Feb 02, 2012 Cassandra rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
Hmmmm... Well... I picked up this book because I'm interested in memoirs written by foreigners who visit Japan. In this case, the author is an Australian who currently lives in New York City and visited Japan to learn more about how Japanese culture affects anime.

Parts of the book were funny but, overall, it was frustrating. "Wrong About Japan." That is exactly what this book is about, a series of beliefs about Japan that are debunked. However, the truth about Japan is never presented. The auth
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Janice
Aug 03, 2012 Janice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this little travel memoir about a trip to Japan Carey takes with his quiet, awkward, twelve-year-old son Charley. Charley is hooked on Japanese manga and anime (after seeing the film Kikujiro several times Charley announces one day, "When I grow up I'm going to live in Tokyo") and Carey supports his son's interest not only by exploring these forms himself, but also by arranging a trip to Japan. But Charley resists a trip to "the Real Japan" -- their term for the Japan of temples ...more
Emily
May 15, 2014 Emily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book for 99p in a charity shop to put aside for a day in which I wanted to read something utterly cringeworthy. There is something oddly satisfying about subjecting yourself to the secondhand embarrassment caused by an anime fan having their expectations and preconceptions of Japan crushed, and in that sense I got exactly what I wanted from this book.

Whilst experiencing that secondhand embarrassment can be entertaining, it was also infuriating so many times during this book. Car
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Radiantflux
52nd book for 2016.

I got into Peter Carey when I first started at university around the time his first novel Bliss came out. I loved his short stories, and for a while read each of his books as they were published. Then somewhere along the way we parted ways and haven't read him further for 20 years. This book has made it unlikely I'll go back to reading him again soon.

Carey comes across as a cringe-worthy snob in this short travelogue to Tokyo with his son. He's so awkward, both with his 12-yea
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Chris Gould
Guys - you don't need a Pulitzer winner to write this. I'm 500m from Akihabara now. I'm sure I could just stroll down there and write something just as useful. Rather than read someone's quickly formed first impressions of Japan, why not just come here yourself and form your own impressions? They'd be much more interesting than Carey's. If you need help on Japan travel you know where I am.
Marina Zala
** Books 237 - 2016 **

1,4 of 5 stars!

I don't like the way he describes about Japan. He is also kinda ignorance about something that he already wrong but still doesn't want to seek why he is wrong. I don't like how he behaves to Takashi (Charlie's friend).

Everything in this books is going wrong for me and i really doesn't enjoy read this pieces until the end.
Frances Whited
I know the reason I enjoyed this so much is because of Lyle's semester in Japan and our shared love of Hayao Miazaki. It's a very quick read and an interesting look at a teeny-tiny slice of the "real" Japan.
Catarina
Jan 03, 2016 Catarina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Não estava à espera de algo tão reportagem como foi, mas é um leitura bastante leve e interessante, até pela diferença de ideias entre Peter Carey e o filho sobre anime e manga.
Fiquei com curiosidade para ler mais obras do autor, como Oscar e Lucinda.
Michelle
Aug 20, 2007 Michelle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was not interesting, introsective, or even titillating.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Peter Carey was born in Australia in 1943.

He was educated at the local state school until the age of eleven and then became a boarder at Geelong Grammar School. He was a student there between 1954 and 1960 — after Rupert Murdoch had graduated and before Prince Charles arriv
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