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Turning Japanese

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  171 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
The Devil Wears Prada meets Lost in Translation in this irresistible new novel from L. A. Woman author Cathy Yardley

Meet Lisa Falloya, an aspiring half-Japanese, half-Italian American manga artist who follows her bliss by moving to Tokyo to draw the Japanese-style comics she's been reading for years. Leaving behind the comforts of a humdrum desk job and her workaholic fian
Paperback, 310 pages
Published April 14th 2009 by St. Martins Press-3pl
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Chick lit goes to Japan in this frothy novel about a young woman who wins a one-year internship in Tokyo at a manga publishing company. Many things about this book bothered me...the main character, Lisa, enters and wins a contest to go to Tokyo for a year, but then doesn't want to go until her friends bully her into going. She is half Japanese and is supposedly near-fluent in Japanese, yet she's nearly completely clueless about the culture. (Although later in the book she speaks Japanese with he ...more
May 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: japan-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
The go-pursue-your-non-English-teacher-career-in-Tokyo concept is the dream of many Japan lovers. Lisa is half-Japanese, so we don’t have the language barrier, but she’s still an outsider foreigner. And who doesn’t want a fictional insider’s view of a manga studio?
Lisa won a manga contest, so this year long internship in Tokyo is a dream come true. But of course, now that she’s on the bottom rung of the group, life is not all genki maids and mecha guys. She traces lines all day, nothing that r
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
There were a few moments that were frankly unbelievable to me - a rabid manga reader doesn't know about white day? really? - but enjoyable, quick read. Too tidy of an ending for my tastes, as well.
Jan 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: japan
I thought this one was going to be a little quirkier, but it was mostly "chick Lit", which I just can't get into.
Lindsay Heller
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, 2012
I'll be honest. I did not want to read this book. A co-worker gave it to me, as she sometimes does for reasons that I don't know. Just looking at the cover made me want to roll my eyes. It's pink and there's a little anime girl hanging out on the bottom with bubble hearts. I was pretty sure that it wasn't for me. But, since I haven't read a single one of the books she's ever given me (I still intend to!) I thought I should probably pick it up. It's chick lit, I couldn't possibly take that long. ...more
Romance Novel TV
May 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Review of Turning Japanese by Cathy Yardley
4.75 Star
Reviewed by Stacey Agdern

At its core, Chick Lit is a genre of stories about young women and their ups and downs, told in a witty and brilliant first person voice. They are both fun and thought provoking in equal parts. The same goes for the best of shoujo manga. They can be romantic stories, but they’re stories of dreamers and fighters, who happen to be young women. So when I got the chance to review a book that promised to mix the two of them,
May 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: manga lovers, rocky romance lovers
I liked this book waaaaay more than I thought I would. I thought this would be a little summer stop-gap of reading that wasn't really romance based but covered a story based in an industry I find interesting (manga in Japan). But I was really pleasantly surprised by how much deeper this book went.

This is really a story about change and becoming someone new and what it means to the people around you. The protagonist of the story is a shy, quiet woman named Lisa. She's on the track to marrying her
I actually... liked this book. I'm completely surprised.

I lived in Japan for five years, so I've experienced a good deal of the culture and mannerisms. Most books in this vein are written by people who have a passing knowledge and warp it around, idealizing some things and weirdifying others. But I actually felt like Yardley knew a good deal about the way the Japanese interact, their business culture, and their friend culture. The characters seemed true-to-life, to me.

Not that Yardley didn't get
Apr 08, 2009 rated it liked it
This is sort of the Devil Wears Prada with less angst and drama, set
in Japan: Girl takes internship in publishing field with hard to get
along with boss, conflict with boyfriend and family ensue.

Italian/Japanese American Lisa hates to travel and dislikes change, but it doesn't stop her from entering a manga drawing contest where the first prize is a one-year internship in Japan with a manga publishing house. At first she just erases pencil lines, then conspires to help another editor and unknown
Sep 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, 2008
Anyone who wants to become a manga artist knows the score. First they have to move to Tokyo (perhaps the most expensive city in the world), learn to read and write Japanese (perhaps the most difficult language in the world), live in an apartment the size of a closet, draw twenty pages of comics per week, never sleep, and eat natto for the rest of their life. Despite these road bumps, millions of kids around the world continue to dream the mangaka dream. God bless 'em.

And so it is with Lisa Fall
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Turning Japanese is a fun, entertaining and quick read. I enjoyed how Lisa (the main character) is able to embrace both her American and Japanese cultures and use her diverse background to acquire a dream career.

The story begins with Lisa winning an internship in Japan for her entry into a manga contest. In the beginning, she hesitates to accept the prize as it requires her to move to Japan for a year and leave her friends and B-school boyfriend behind. After significant nudging from friends and
Yvonne Mendez
Jun 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a cool chick-lit book, I've been to Japan, worked in Japanese companies based in the U.S. and also studied Japanese in University. So it was very nice to read along, remember my times in Tokyo, the food and so on. I think it needed a better job in editing, since some of the italicized Japanese words were incorrectly spelled. The plot was predictable, no big surprises, but it still kept me hooked until the end. Overall I enjoyed the book.
Aug 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is gold! It is surprising engaging and poignant in its accuracy of the Japanese work environment and American expectations. True, true gold.

The most hilarious thing is how its underlying arc parallels Troublesome Minds by Dave Galanter, a Star Trek novel I finished the day before. Both raise and resolve an interesting issue: Do you have a choice in your future? Is your will your own?

This book, I highly recommend.
May 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kevin Michael Dela Paz
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
First ever chick lit I've read. It was good, a breath of fresh air from the usual action-adventure I usually read.

An anime-manga enthusiast wins a manga-writing contest and goes to Japan for an internship, with troubles and triumphs along the way. Japanese culture and issues play a big part in the story, so if that is interesting to you, consider reading this.
May 01, 2012 rated it liked it
It was slow at the start, but it was an easy read. It read more like a travel narrative. It was intriguing to see what she included and what she left out from the story. I really liked the ending because it was realistic and human. I haven't finished a long novel in awhile and I finished this one in like 2 weeks. It was a good reading experience.
Nov 12, 2012 added it
Shelves: finished
ok but the character went from knowing little Japanese as a child to being fluent and didn't seem believable. It did have interesting cultural insights and details of Japan that made the story interesting.
Lydia Smedry
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Something I should point out to you peoples who don't know about Japanese culture: Lisa always answers the phone mushi-mushi. Its supposed to be moshi-moshi. I've learned this recently from my Japanese friend. Other then that, awesome book!
May 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was a really fun story. Lots of laughs, but also depth. Explores the idea of realizing a dream and how that changes you and affects the people around you. Read it with my husband, who enjoyed it despite the very feminine cover. :)
Jan 17, 2016 rated it liked it
novel about a young woman in NY who wins an internship in Tokyo with famous Japanese manga comic company; she doesn't really want to go so far away and break out of the familiar, but once she gets into it, she goes all out.
Oct 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Delightful fluff, thouroughly enjoyable.
Laurel Benson
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book and learning more about the Japanese culture. The workplace in Japan would not be one I would work well in :)
Sep 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Very compelling chick lit, at least for me. Like "The Devil Wears Prada" in a Japanese manga publishing office!
Nov 05, 2009 rated it liked it
She moved back to Japan since we've been there, but not near as humorous as advertised. It's FUNNY to live in Tokyo. . .
May 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I found this to be an amusing way to spend a lazy day.
Tiffany Walker
Aug 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chick-lit
I really enjoyed this book and I would definitely read it again.
Dec 22, 2014 rated it liked it
This is probably my favorite of the books I have read by Cathy Yardley. I thought it was a good, original story and it was enjoyable to read.
Jun 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: asian
I enjoyed reading this because of how the character reacted and adjusted to life in Japan. I did find myself skimming for those parts in the book. It was fun for me.
Shawntelle Madison
Mar 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I saw it in the Penguin catalog and read it. So glad I did.
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A few random facts about me:

I am a fiction addict.

I love J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts, Jim Butcher, J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood, Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter, Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series, Stephen King, Jennifer Crusie, Marian Keyes, J.K. Rowling, and a slew of other authors.

I have been known to stay up all night to finish a new novel. I don't so much read as devour.

I am an out of
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