Land of 1000 Earthquakes and Many Futons, Ben Stevens Gaijin Guide to Japan

Japan like any country has its quirks, charms and oddities as I have learned in more than 3 years of writing my Tokyo Thursdays.

Amongst the quirks, navigating Tokyo takes some effort since in many cases there are no street addresses as we know them in Europe or the US. Your best bet is to ask a policeman when you exit subway station closest to your destination.

The latest 10 Do's and Don'ts I published was a Native View of Life in Tokyo by Eisei Saito.

I thought it would be nice to read a contrasting view, that of Ben Stevens in A Gaijin's Guide to Japan published in 2009 by Harper Collins.


It does not pretend to be a scholarly study rather an entertaining introduction to Japan's life, history and culture through the eyes of a foreigner.

Following the alphabet, Ben Stevens notes under the letter E that Japan counts more than 1000 earthquakes a year most of which don't register on the richter scale.

Under F, he suggests that a traveler arriving at Narita Airport and 'transfering by coach to their hotel will notice thousands of futon on balconies.'

I see no mention of Kansha (under K) maybe he does not care for culinary traditions.

He saves 2 and a half pages to cover funeral rituals with Soshiki (under letter S).

A Kindle Edition is available for around $3 and might prove useful when you land in Japan.

(* Thanks to Friday Project imprint for sending me a copy of the book)

Japan as Alphabet for Tokyo Thursdays # 179

Previously: Shinto Blessing for Reopening of Seattle Japanese Garden on February 13

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