Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dave Barry Does Japan” as Want to Read:
Dave Barry Does Japan
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dave Barry Does Japan

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  2,075 ratings  ·  157 reviews
An all-new, all-original (well, 99 percent) Dave Barry book! Dave visits Japan--and brings back the funniest peace offering since George Bush flew in with the honorable moguls of Detroit. Here, for the first time, are his takes on sumo wrestling and geisha girls; on dinners of poisonous blowfish sushi and hotel rooms the size of steamer trunks; and on the Japanese command ...more
Hardcover, 210 pages
Published October 20th 1992 by Random House (first published 1992)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dave Barry Does Japan, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dave Barry Does Japan

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,778)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Anne
Back when I was in middle school, I remember thinking that Dave Barry was a pretty funny writer. I haven't read him in quite some time, but in my mind liken him to Bill Bryson. So, when I saw he had a book about his travels to Japan, I thought it would be a perfect fit for my armchair travel goals for the year. Looking at the cover alone, however, should have tipped me off as to what I was in store for. To be fair, this book was written in 1992, which must have been a very different time in the ...more
Judy
Mar 29, 2009 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Judy by: bookcrosser
Very funny, classic Dave Barry. Everything he noted about Japan was really dead-on, which is what makes it the funniest. Japan is a wonderful place, and also very, very different...

The funniest thing for me is that I've had all of these experiences when visiting Japan. I've been to Japanese baths and stayed at traditional country inns, I've eaten all kinds of weird food (including blowfish, which is poisonous if not prepared just so), I've travelled all over by subway and train, been to lots of
...more
Hannah
I always find Dave Barry funny, but this book was not in my opinion one of his best. He makes no apologies that it isn't a travel guide- but never says what he intends for the book to be. I felt like he didn't really achieve anything. There were several thoughtful and "serious" moments, but they were so quickly stuffed in among jokes that they were out of place. Furthermore, the book wasn't in a linear timeline from his arrival to departure, he just threw in stories from anywhere in his travels ...more
Heather
Japan isn't our enemy. That notion is racist and stupid. Japan had nothing to do with creating our monster national debt, or wrecking our cities, or dumbing down our schools, or making so many of us hate and fear each other. We don't need any outside threats to mess up this country; we're doing fine on our own.

I'd never read a Dave Barry book before, and the few times I had read one of his weekly syndicated columns in The Oregonian, I wasn't blown over by his wit enough to keep reading. However,
...more
Jackie
My husband is Japanese. When we got married I didn't want to throw this book out but I also didn't want him to find it and possibly be offended by it. However, I came home one evening and he was reading it and laughing very hard. I can't think of a better endorsement!

Note: I often read Dave Berry's column growing up as a teenager (I was on the school paper and was curious about that fact that he could write in his off-the-wall style and be published and paid for it) and always appreciated how ha
...more
Lisa
I like to read this one about once a year. It's a real hoot. And I love anything Japan. Sometimes my husband and I read it out loud to each other when we're feeling particularly corny and we crack up.
Christina
This is the second Dave Barry book I've read and will likely be the last. I just don't find him funny, and there's not enough content to prompt me to read his books apart from that. He frequently relies on hyperbole, for the sake of humor I suppose but it comes across to me as lazy writing. I read nonfiction to learn new things, but any question he raises he answers not with something factually interesting, but with a feeble stab at humor. (I know, a bit harsh--it's a combination of not finding ...more
Becky
This book is Dave Barry's hilarious account of his trip to Japan. He runs into so many cultural things that any foreigner runs into. He repeatedly accounts that he doesn't really know anything about Japanese culture/language, but he shares his experiences - from sqatty potties (according to Dave, "a hole in the ground where they forgot to put the toilet) to food to places.

Having lived in Japan for just over a year now I found the book hilarious. I did listen to it in the car on audio book. I re
...more
Chris
In September of 2008, I went to Hiroshima with The Boyfriend. I knew it would be a more serious place to visit than a lot of the other places I've been to in Japan, for obvious reasons, and as I thought about it, I remembered this book. You see, while Dave Barry is enormously funny, and I always have a hard time holding in my laughter when he writes, he also knows exactly when to turn off the funny and talk seriously about a topic. Such was the case with this book, and the chapter on visiting Hi ...more
pinkgal
For what it is, it's pretty brilliantly written. The humor is sharp and concise and actually, this is basically how a gaijin often feels that first two weeks they're here, especially for those of us who actually stayed and thought, WTF did I get myself into? Dave Barry makes certain things that you don't notice (or at least, consciously) hilarious, especially the aspects of it that are supposedly reverent or traditional.

The book is dependent on certain aspects to make it funny, some of which, u
...more
Rachel
Barry gives a somewhat pessimistic view of his adventures in japan, while at the same time he uses his dry sense of humor to make up for it and give the reader a good time. He shows that unlike America, Japan is "an exclusive club" meaning unless you are Japanese (your ethnicity) you will never be considered Japanese. In America if you are of Japanese descent you would still be considered American. With the Japanese it wont ever be like that because of the concentrated number of the same ethnici ...more
rabbitprincess
May 01, 2011 rabbitprincess rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who have been to Japan
Hilarious! I laughed out loud several times per chapter, and at least one of those laughs was an actual roar of laughter. The chapter on Japanese was especially funny as the boyfriend and I recently took a Japanese course, and the chapter on music was quite entertaining as well. Dave writes very amusingly, with plenty of quips to go around for both sides of the culture divide -- he frequently pokes fun at his and his family's perspectives, especially trying to find their train at the train stati ...more
Nagesh
Well, this one's not exactly the kind of end-to-end humour book you would otherwise expect from Dave Barry.

Some of the chapters make for silent reading and taking in a lot of insights, especially for someone like me, who has not been to Japan but has heard a lot about its vast difference for an outsider.

And being of vegetarian food habits, some of the items of menu described in some detail don't go well. Be warned not to read these chapters before your meal or immediately afterwards

But the book
...more
Donna
Oh my god! Not since the posters warned of "yellow peril" during the second world war has anything so racist been passed publicly and widely as if it were comedy! I had always liked Barry's columns and books, and picked this up w/o even thinking. One of my children is half Japanese, and I am so glad she didn't see this crap.

Dave? Time to recognize some issues and hopefully deal with them better than this. If not, don't air them anymore than you would with anti-Black or anti-Jewish literature.

It
...more
Emily
I have read this book many many times. It's one of my favorite of all time. It was Dave Barry who taught me that the written word is a magical thing, that it essentially causes a person to have great emotional responses to a piece of paper.

This book will cause you to display all of the emotions associated with any book. I laughed out loud, I cried openly, and I had a LOT of people move away from me on the train to let me be alone with my book.

Keith
I liked this book better than the last Dave Barry book that I read because it told a complete story and wasn't just a random collection of his columns. Yes, it was still a collection of anecdotes from his trip to Japan with his wife and son, but it felt more complete and the stories fell in a context that stitched them all together. He is, as always, amusing and has a way of stating things in that perfect Regular Joe manner that made him famous. Not gut busting and at times the jokes were predic ...more
Redfox5
I loved this book! First book that I'm giving full marks this year! Laugh out loud funny. Pokes fun at Japan but in a nice way, makes me want to visit even more. We were going to go this year, with Japanese speaking friends(I'd never be brave enough to go with my limited grasp of the language - hello, yes, what and thanks for the food) but we had to move which kinda ruined the plans. Boo! :( Will be checking out more books by Dave Barry because a book hasn't made me laugh like that in a long tim ...more
Caren
This is, without a doubt, the most accurate depiction of what you'll experience when you visit Japan. After we had been a week in Japan, I handed this book to my husband to read on the shinkansen on the way back from Hiroshima. He about died laughing on that train because it's all TRUE--the bowing, the random tentacles in food, all of it. It's not all laughs, though--the chapter on Hiroshima is contemplative, capturing the feel of visiting the memorial. If you visit Japan, you MUST read this boo ...more
Philip
Read this first years and years ago, but went through it again as I had to go to Tokyo on business. Barry is as funny as ever, but as the book is now 20+ years old, some of his observations are a little dated, as Japan has certainly changed since then.

Interesting that he included a chapter on Hiroshima - visited there myself about a year ago, and so was curious to see how he made fun of THAT - but he was not only surprisingly (if appropriately) serious and reserved, he also made some very astut
...more
R2geek2
I usually read Dave Barry right before I go to bed because the essays or chapters are quite short. I have discovered this to be a mistake because I can't go to sleep without constantly lapsing into giggles. I do think that Japan has changed alot since Dave Barry has been there, but it doesn't take away from how funny it is. Though Dave spends the entire book being his usual goofy self he does end on a very important note. Another two thumbs up.
Nathan
This was an inferior book. Credit where it's due, Barry frequently pointed out that the whole reason he went to Japan was to get a book out of it, and it seems like inspiration was lacking but the contract had already been signed. Also, sometimes his folksy persona started to slip into casual racism. Even if this book was up to his usual humor standards, that would be reason enough to skip it.
Yumiko Hansen
So funny!!!

..And some of his honest opinions about Japan, I am 100% agree, i.e. the historical events have become more like the carnivals that in another fifty years, they will have lost all their meanings.

He also mentioned about the drawbacks of my country which I, myself, often feel uncomfortable with.

" Too many bloody rules" to obey..

Primadonna
It's always interesting to read how one perceives a foreign culture.

I believe I know more about Japanese customs and culture compared to Barry, so some of his thoughts seem to be too... ridiculous. However I can appreciate some snappy comments, especially about kabuki.

I mean, come on. I just found out that the story line in kabuki is so... well. So funny, in a way. :D
Suzanne
Very funny! Dave Barry has a way of explaining Japanese culture through an american's eye without sounding belittling or pandering. He's just basically confused and it's pretty funny. The Japanese think he's pretty funny too, but not because he's a comic but because he has no idea what he's doing and is doing everything wrong. Quick read, very enjoyable!
Jennifer
Classic (and thus quite random) Dave Barry observations on a country, its culture, its quirks, and how America compares. I spent some time in Japan just a few years before this book was published, so it was easy to see exactly what he was talking about. There are a couple serious moments in the book, but otherwise it's just laugh-out-loud, zany fun.
Katie
I got a few chuckles out of this book which is what I was looking for but, I didn't find it nearly as funny as the other book of his I've read ("I'll Mature When I'm Dead"). Mostly it just felt a bit out of date, which makes sense since it was written in '92. It only takes about an hour to read so even at 2 stars it's a decent read for a flight.
Craig
I read this book (listened to the audiobook) at the end of last week and while traveling for school. Very light and silly book that feels more like a 3.5 to me. On par with other Dave Barry books, with the flippant humor style that I've come to appreciate in Dave Barry books. I'd recommend to people that appreciate Barry's sense of humor.
Lorna Collins
A funny and superficial look at visiting japan. Most westerners will relate to his experiences. There is no in-depth insight into the Japanese people or their culture here, but it is worth a laugh. It was particularly appreciated after living in the culture for a while. Laughing at our own lack of understanding is always a good thing!
Anne
Dave Barry's humor often strikes me as adolescent, but he still manages to make me laugh out loud at times, and this book is no exception. Interspersed with the smart-mouthing are nuggets of insight about Japan (e.g., when he describes "The System") as well as a lot of general information about the country. I enjoyed it.
Julie
I enjoyed this. It was a quick read, and offered some fun outsider perspectives on Japan, its culture and its language. There were a few serious moments (fittingly, the chapter on Hiroshima has no humor in it) and I think they balanced out the sillier parts nicely. A quick, fun, travelogue kind of read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 92 93 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It's Time to Go Home
  • Cows of Our Planet
  • Black Bart Says Draw: A FoxTrot Collection
  • More Anguished English: An Exposé of Embarrassing Excruciating, and Egregious Errors in English
  • Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook
  • Real Ponies Don't Go Oink!
  • No Shirt, No Shoes...No Problem!
  • Scrum Bums: A Get Fuzzy Collection
  • The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus: All the Words, Vol. 2
  • Mike Nelson's Mind over Matters
6245
Dave Barry is a humor columnist. For 25 years he was a syndicated columnist whose work appeared in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and abroad. In 1988 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Many people are still trying to figure out how this happened.
Dave has also written a total of 30 books, although virtually none of them contain useful information. Two of his books were used as
...more
More about Dave Barry...
Peter and the Starcatchers (Peter and the Starcatchers, #1) Peter and the Shadow Thieves (Peter and the Starcatchers, #2) Peter and the Secret of Rundoon (Peter and the Starcatchers, #3) Big Trouble Peter and the Sword of Mercy (Peter and the Starcatchers, #4)

Share This Book

“I like the relaxed way in which the Japanese approach religion. I think of myself as basically a moral person, but I'm definitely not religious, and I'm very tired of the preachiness and obsession with other people's behavior characteristic of many religious people in the United States. As far as I could tell, there's nothing preachy about Buddhism. I was in a lot of temples, and I still don't know what Buddhists believe, except that at one point Kunio said 'If you do bad things, you will be reborn as an ox.'

This makes as much sense to me as anything I ever heard from, for example, the Reverend Pat Robertson.”
397 likes
“Despite the gulf, physical and cultural, between the United States and Japan, both societies are, in the end, made up of people, and people everywhere – when you strip away their superficial differences – are crazy.” 5 likes
More quotes…