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A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony

(Geek in)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  2,132 ratings  ·  245 reviews
For every fan of manga, anime, J-pop, or Zen, A Geek in Japan is a hip, smart and concise guide to the land that is their source.

Comprehensive and well informed, it covers a wide array of topics in short articles accompanied by sidebars and numerous photographs, providing a lively digest of the society and culture of Japan. Designed to appeal to the generations of Westerne
Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 10th 2011 by Tuttle Publishing
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,132 ratings  ·  245 reviews

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Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This would probably have been more helpful if I was actually going to Japan. I'm not anytime soon so......yeah. Some of the passages were very repetitive. I got a weird sense of deja vu about 20 times throughout reading this because some sentences were repeated more than once.

It provided a very broad, very brief overview to the complete history and culture of Japan. Pretty much everything you can think of is covered, even including brief tourist guides and recommended walks. However, I felt at
Nadia King
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Comprehensive, brilliant book about Japan - her culture, her history, her geography, and her people. Love this book which I can't seem to shift from my coffee table to the bookshelves because I love it so much. ...more
Like a geek, I spent my whole weekend reading this wonderful book. And I feel like I have been in Japan over the weekend, walking around Tokyo, the stores, the gardens.

People who are interested in Japan must read this book. I learnt so much. It has subjects about everything: Japanese customs, a bit of history, places that we must visit; manga and anime and so many others. There are things that I've already known because of manga, doramas; like stuffs about their school system, food, etc. Other t
Daniel Doughty
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
A series of short snippets and mundane anecdotes about Japan. Informative if you know little about Japan, yet often repetitive. A non essential component to visiting the country.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Perfect book to read before traveling to Japan.
After reading it I feel fully prepared for my trip. Book includes a lot of general information written in engaging and concise way which makes it a page-turner. Book includes chapters about history, traditional arts, Japanese culture and mindset, food, music, anime and manga and way more - basically everything there is to know about this fascinating country :) Last two chapters are aimed specifically at tourist planning their trip, they are packed
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
p26. "During the Edo Period, when Japan received almost no influence from foreign cultures, a number of unique arts or disciplines were developed. For instance, kabuki theater appeared as a consequence of the need to entertain an increasingly flourishing society with more and more free time."

So much for diversity being a strength...

p144 is the start of a chapter on Odaiba, one of Japans many small islands. In the top left corner there is a picture of the Statue Of Liberty. This confused me at fi
Tanya Tosheva
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This will not be so much a review of the book as my attempt to remember a gazillion facts and new Japanese words, which overwhelmed me despite already knowing some from anime and manga and being used to the sound of the language.

Almost everything below is a quote.

History of Japan
(view spoiler)
Sam Still Reading
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people wishing to know more about Japan
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: saw it on the bookshop shelf
A Geek in Japan is one of those books I saw on the shelf at my local bookstore and just had to have. I love Japan and I love to learn more about it. A Geek in Japan is deceiving though, in that it contains much more information than you think at first glance. Hector Garcia has obviously put a lot of time and effort into researching this book, which delves into many aspects of Japan. It includes history, social structures (I learned more from this book than I did from six years of Japanese), cult ...more
Jason Keenan
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan
A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony is such a great introduction to Japanese culture — and the modern cool Japan we are coming to know as well as the historic Japan.

The book is a fun read and may even surprise readers familiar with Japan with a few new explanations of culture and history.

Don't let the title fool you -- A Geek in Japan really offers up a whole lot of quick highlights of what makes up life in Japan. It touches on broad topics like tradi
This was very boring.

However, I did enjoy seeing all the pictures that were throughout the book but I felt like I would have been better off just searching online and reading general information instead of reading this. Because most of this just feels like internet research instead of feeling like a first hand account from someone who was living there.
Niki Ganong
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
A Geek in Japan is a great, cursory cultural guide to the country. It's not going to be of any use to a traveler, but it is interesting. ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, nonfiction
Comprehensive text of what to do or not to do in Japanese society for confused foreigner.
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony by Hector Garcia Puigcerver was a delightful surprise for me. I initially saw the title and wrongfully assumed it was something that would appeal to gamers and hardcore Manga and Anime fans. It turned out to be a well-written description and analysis of what makes Japan what it is from the history, people, culture, food, as well as the Manga and Anime in the title. Having lived in Japan for three years in 1969-1972 ...more
Jaymes Dunlap
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those seeking understanding of Japanese culture
I was impressed by this brief introduction. Although I have fragmentary knowledge and some introductory understanding of Japanese culture, this book consolidates core facts that are both comprehensive and entertaining. It also included much I did not know, such as the cultural use of the word "chotto." Once making it to the section on Japanese economy and work, I expected this to be the most boring part of the book; but it was absolutely fascinating learning about their economy and work culture. ...more
Bhagya Shree
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very detailed book that explores the state, heart and culture of Japan. The author has done a great job in explaining essential Japanese terms, ideals and essence of Japan. As evident from the title, the author talks about everything about Japan that we hear or see in popular culture- Geisha, tea ceremony, Zen, Work culture, Manga, anime etc. The majority of the chapters can be read as a non-fiction book and final chapters can be used as a tourist guide book when you are travelling to ...more
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great insights on Japan's unique culture

This book was a godsend when we travelled Japan. Mainly for the distilled cultural insights which would have required several years living there as an expat. I often found myself reading a section (on a train) then chuckling to myself as I realized I had noted that exact same peculiarity but had no idea of the meaning or had simply passed it off as a trivial thought.
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A must read book for the people who are fascinated by Japanese culture. You will come to know all about the history of Japan, their culture, their festivals, their religions and philosophies. The language formation of Japan and the various symbols that are use used there. Right from the Martial arts to the Tea Ceremonies. You can get the overview of almost everything related to the Japanese.

When I read the book, I realized that I had many misconceptions regarding this wonderful country. The code
May 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, japan
A decent read for an overall view of modern Japanese culture with an emphasis on Tokyo. Based on the title, I was hoping for more about otaku culture. It would be a nice first read on modern Japan and would make a good supplement to a guide book if you're going to the Tokyo region. ...more
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A geek in Japan is packed with information, personal anecdotes and pictures, which makes it a great starting point for learning about lots of Nihon-related topics, with the final two chapters handing out travel advice - which may be a bit dated, but are interesting to read
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great book for an overall view of the history of Japan. It also includes tips for travels.
Highly recommed🙏🏼
Feb 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-books
This book is really informative, but it does suffer from a bit of an identity crisis. The title and subtitle just don't fit the subject matter very well. What you get is a quick-hitting guide to Japanese history, the stark cultural differences, and daily life, particularly in Tokyo. Late in the book there are a couple of sections with general travel tips and recommended places to visit.

Notice that there's nothing particularly "geeky" or "nerdy" in the above synopsis. There are a huge number of a
Michael Scott
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
+++ Simply the best book I've read about contemporary Japan. Way better than the books of Patrick Galbraith (Otaku Spaces and The Otaku Encyclopedia), or the topical Kawaii!: Japan's Culture of Cute.
+++ Excellent summaries on otaku, manga, anime, games, and music.
+++/- Very interesting, if by and large generalizing and stereotyping, analysis of the Japanese contemporary life. Fascinating details about the life of a family, of an otaku, of a student, of a career woman/salary man, and of var
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan
I got this book as a present and I love it to bits. It's a no-nonsense great first look at Japan and its popular culture, with many pictures and short texts - it's a bit like a manga and each chapter is broken down into 2 page sections, so you can read it on the go as well.

Garcia apparently has a blog and this book is a collection of his thoughts. He lives in Japan and he likes the place and its people. He is very open-minded and interested and that comes through in this book.

Rather than many ot
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
two random stories. "Hector Garcia", of course, are merely the first two names of a Scandinavian guy who's into Japan. the name choice, obviously, is an attempt to capture readership from fans of Oscar Wao. intertextuality rules the universe!

second, I think I may have written one of the entries in this book. a guy in a Tokyo bar once, finding out that I've done cultural studies in the country, began picking my brain-- it's not an absolute certainly, but it might have been the author, as some of
Ashita Thakur
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
When i read the description of A Geek in Japan as a collection of a guy's blog posts, I didn't predict the extent to which this was like a long 350+ page collection of blogs.
I imagine that parts of why I didn't enjoy this book are:
A. It doesn't delve into anything specific, it just grazes over the various things that make Japan what it is.
B. It is practically an intro for someone who isn't really exposed to Japanese culture and who would be amazed by reading about their tea ceremonies and manga
Tanner Jewett
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A clear and friendly but objective tour of Japanese culture. The thing I respected the most was also what I found the most frustrating at times; it focused it's time and attention on giving a concise, fundamental understanding of the history and viewpoints of Japanese culture. In doing so, it the stage in my mind for the society the Japanese live in, and the problems they face because of it. But, sometimes at the cost of depth. Still, the places where he only tickled my curiousity, he also point ...more
Sep 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to Zedsdead by: Gift from Robert and April.
A light Japanese cultural guide that doesn't get particularly geeky until the final third of the book.

I don't do much non-fiction but this was surprisingly interesting. Full of 1-2 page summaries of Japanese historical and cultural points: the gals movement, the salaryman lifestyle, martial arts, the Edo period and its long-term influence, Japanese alphabets (plural!), shinto, Buddhism, longevity, formality, the country's elevated suicide rates and methods, the causes of yakuza and workaholism.

Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
If you know anything at all about Japan and its culture, you're going to find this book somewhat simple and sterile. There's no character in the writing, and half the book is generic and ultimately shallow information you could likely find on Wikipedia. The Japan lonely planet would likely make for a more interesting read. ...more
Amanda [Novel Addiction]
Jan 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a great quick look at Japanese culture and history. It just makes me want to visit Japan even more.
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Perfect for Japanese culture geeks like me. :) Got to read this for a second time (in hard copy this time). Thanks, Khonie! :)
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I'm the author of several Japanese culture books: The Magic of Japan, Ikigai the Japanese Secret for a Long and Happy Life, The Book of Ichigo Ichie, Shinrinyoku, The Ikigai Journey and A Geek in Japan.

I LOVE reading and writing.

Autor de los libros sobre cultura japonesa: La Magia de Japón, Ikigai, Ichigo Ichie, Shinrinyoku, Un Geek en Japón.

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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
156 likes · 58 comments
“When you give a present, you are giving part of your spirit to the other person. That’s why presents in Japan are so very important, even if they’re small presents of no real value. This belief also has significance when you buy something secondhand. The Japanese are reluctant to purchase things that have belonged to someone else, maybe because the previous owner’s spirit still lingers inside them. One of the advantages of this belief is that thefts in Japan are almost nonexistent: stealing something from someone would be like stealing part of their spirit.” 1 likes
“when you arrive in Japan, you realize that sake means “alcoholic drink” in general. Thus, if you drink a beer, you are drinking sake; if you drink whiskey, you are drinking sake; and if you drink rum, you are drinking sake. So, when we order sake in a Japanese restaurant outside Japan, what is the specific name for the drink they serve us? It will probably be nihonshu, which is the Japanese word used to refer to the alcoholic beverage obtained from rice.” 1 likes
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