Book Review: Memoirs of a Gaijin: Emails from Japan

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RATING

Memoirs Of A Gaijin: Emails From Japan by Benjamin Hesse
Genre: Memoir/Biography
ISBN: 978-0595448692
Published: May 16, 2007
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.
Pages: 276
 

Synopsis

Hello from Japan.

Not much new here. My four-year-olds attacked me, my crazy female stalkers jumped on the desk and professed their love for me, my depressed coworkers fist-fought each other at the all-you-can-drink karaoke bar, and I have no idea what I ate yesterday but it was uncooked and squishy. Pretty much the usual. What’s new from home?

Ben took the teaching job in Japan because he wasn’t quite ready to figure out what he wanted to do with his life. Instead, his efforts were put towards figuring out his new students, coworkers, and dinner. He is a “gaijin,” the Japanese word for “foreigner.” From festivals and temples to bicycles and cleaning supplies, Memoirs of a Gaijin: Emails from Japan is the one-year collection of emails and journals that chronicle Ben’s experiences in the comedic and confusing country of Japan. Hello from Japan.

Not much new here. My four-year-olds attacked me, my crazy female stalkers jumped on the desk and professed their love for me, my depressed coworkers fist-fought each other at the all-you-can-drink karaoke bar, and I have no idea what I ate yesterday but it was uncooked and squishy. Pretty much the usual. What’s new from home?

Ben took the teaching job in Japan because he wasn’t quite ready to figure out what he wanted to do with his life. Instead, his efforts were put towards figuring out his new students, coworkers, and dinner. He is a “gaijin,” the Japanese word for “foreigner.” From festivals and temples to bicycles and cleaning supplies, Memoirs of a Gaijin: Emails from Japan is the one-year collection of emails and journals that chronicle Ben’s experiences in the comedic and confusing country of Japan.

My Thoughts

I am really glad I decided to choose this book. I have been interested in reading about Japan through others experiences and so far this one really stands out beyond the others I’ve read thus far.

I am not sure if it is Ben or all the Japanese people or a combination of both that made this book a laugh out loud experience. There was a lot going on for him in the year he lived in Japan. It all started with his roommates and his issues with snoring and needing to move out.

Ben moved to Japan to teach English with the company Nova to Japanese people, of all ages, from children to people in their 80’s. Ben shared some incredibly interesting stories of some of the women he was teaching English to, sounds like all the ladies loved him & by ladies I mean the “older” ladies. He received gifts and food, clothes and hair bows.

What I also enjoyed about this book was that Ben traveled around Japan and he talked about it in the emails he sent to family and friends. He was specific about where he went, things he saw and experienced. You could tell how much he enjoyed the traveling.

Sadly the company he worked for did not seem to well put together and apparently people were not happy with them, not the customers but the staff. He did connect with some and they had lots of parties with drinking and of course you can not be in Japan and not do Karaoke…There was a lot of that.

He made some friends, family visited him while he was there but you could tell he just enjoyed seeing what Japan had to offer. I was surprised that he decided to only stay 1 year and not go back, I believe it was due to the company that he decided to move back to the states.

This was a great book and I highly recommend it if you might be traveling to Japan or like to read memoirs/biographies. The only downside to the book was many errors that should have been edited.

 

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1 Comment so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. empress bee (of the high sea) March 10, 2011 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    sounds like a good one… i haven’t finished the book yet, sorry. i will, i have just had too many irons on the fire it seems! ha ha

    smiles, bee
    xoxoxooxox
    empress bee (of the high sea) recently posted..Thursday stuff and other stuffMy Profile

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