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A Ride in the Neon Sun: A Gaijin in Japan

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  175 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Fast paced and humorous, Josie Dew's sometimes absurd experiences riding through Japan are delightfully recorded in A ride in the Neon Sun. Cycle enthusiast or not, anyone considering a trip to Japan would do well to prepare themselves with this book. A Ride in the Neon Sun, informative and coupled with the author's social observations, provides the reader with a true pict ...more
Paperback, 689 pages
Published August 26th 2004 by Little, Brown Book Group (first published 1999)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I read it when I was going through a phase of being fascinated with Japanese culture, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone going through a similar phase. Josie Dew is honest and funny, and she has some really lovely stories to tell about her encounters with various people. If you're into Bill Bryson, or similar authors, I'd recommend Josie Dew, as she has a similar style of writing - educational, yet funny. ...more
Andrea Mules
Jul 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the more inspiring books I've read in recent years. Josie Dew has a great sense of the written word. She's funny, poignant, and weaves history and the clash and merge of cultures into her stories of travel and adventure. This book, of her ride around Japan, is wonderful. A must read for the traveler, the traveler at heart, Japanophiles, and bicycle lovers everywhere. ...more
Gabi Recknagel
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Josie Dew's travelogues are always immensely enjoyable to read, but this one I particularly appreciated for the unique insight into Japan. Partly owing to her small stature (she says so herself!) and partly to her (for the Japanese) unsual form of travel, the responses she brings out in people reveal quite a different side to Japan than we in the West are usually exposed to. Highly recommended! ...more
Ross-Barry Finlayson.
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kept
Delightful, just delightful. Josie makes the reader feel that they are with her.If you are wanting to get into this type of travel, this book will convince you.
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
A little difficult to get into, given what my sister calls "death by adjective". But in the end thoroughly "unputdownable". ...more
Jul 31, 2011 marked it as to-read
Tried to finish the book, but was not able to given the busy schedule :( nevertheless, hope to get the chance to borrow it again.
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This tough cookie gets tougher. Luvved what she did to the flasher at the end. hahahahahaha. walks her bike on very narrow paths through tunnels alongside GIANT lorries. scary. I feel her fear - but being afraid and scared are food&drink to Josie. Wonderful descriptions of the beautiful Japan. Outrage at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Insights into the Sumo mindset. She gets into the psyche of the inscrutable Japanese. Their generosity and their trust of this intrepid European woman is universal. Found ...more
Elsbeth Kwant
Quite a long read, for what is in essence a diary of a happy-go-lucky-lady in Japan - becoming frustrated by the utter niceness and generosity of the Japanese. Going to Japan (in stead of New Zealand) in the rainy season, followed by blistering sun, cycling through cityscapes and busy roads is not my idea of fun - but it has a certain je ne sais quoi...
Saskia Brouwer
Mar 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As an avid Japan-fan I loved this book. The small details like the hospitality of Japanese people and the rooms in minshukus and ryokans, of which I many recognize due to my own 8 times in Japan (but lazy, by train) are so wonderful, it's a great way of thinking back and dreaming about the next time (covid go away!). ...more
PJ Ebbrell
Aug 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nihon
Written in the 90s, when Japan was a different place. It is a doorstep of a book, but a fun travelogue on slow gears. What makes this book stand out is her trip to the southern islands of Okinawa and beyond. You don't usually get mention of the lesser islands. ...more
Aug 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: gave-up
Not for me. Starts off great (the first 100 pages or so). But by the time I'd got about 300 pages through this 600-something-page book, I realised Dew was simply rehashing the same jokes and observations over and over again:

1) Tunnels are awful
2) Japan is overcrowded
3) Boy, aren't the Japanese small and don't they talk funny
4) She is a big awkward foreigner
5) Her Japanese is terrible
6) She is a lone female cyclist and therefore an object of much fascination
7) It's hard to find a camping spot
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Japan
Read in Dutch several years ago. I really enjoyed Josie's interactions with the locals who insisted on giving her little presents all the time. It was particularly interesting to read about the cultural differences in different parts of Japan. It was really helpful having a map to refer to and I especially liked the glossary of Japanese words. I was going to read this and pass it on through BookCrossing, but ended up keeping it. It's become my go-to book when I want to look at a map of Japan or ...more
Japan-based Brit
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice adventure story based on the experiences of a Japan novice. Not all of the book is wonderfully accurate with preference given to over-reliance on stereotypes. But the situations described are those that a culturally-ignorant novice would realistically be expected to encounter. And she's a good writer too. ...more
Jun 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: keepers
Josie Dew writes amusing and informative travel books, peppered with personal anecdotes.

I enjoyed her insights into the Japanese culture and people and her writing style is comfortable and easy flowing. Recommended if you're thinking of visiting Japan.
Tucker Rowlinson
A wonderful travelogue from a perspective I haven't often seen in travel writing. Interesting characters abound, and a jovial look into the world of cultural and language barriers. ...more
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