DAVE BARRY DOES JAPAN by Dave Barry

DAVE BARRY DOES JAPAN

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Barry (Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need, 1991, etc.), syndicated humorist and author of a lot of funny books (most with his name in the title--as if there's a lot of shoddy imitation), does it again. This time he does it to the Land of the Rising Sun. The current offering beats making the trip. As Barry notes, ``flying from the United States to Japan takes approximately as long as law school.'' And the book is cheaper. This volume is full of insight into ethnic differences (it would be simpler, for example, ``to get the entire population of Tokyo to wear matching outfits than to get any two randomly selected Americans to agree on pizza toppings'') and technical similarities (``Japanese telephones work pretty much like ours, except that the person on the other end doesn't understand you''). The always cosmopolitan author, with spouse and ten-year-old son, goes to a mannerly baseball game, sits through a bit of Kabuki, attends a puzzling comedy club, gapes at sumo wrestlers, nearly views Mt. Fuji, worries about the eel shortage, sings karaoke with the worst of them, experiences almost terminal tranquility at a traditional inn, and takes a traditional bath with his traditional yakuta tied wrong. Don't confuse the first-class clowning with contemporary Japan-bashing. Barry sees things quite clearly. And, inspired by a visit to Hiroshima, there's a new, thoughtful touch of maturity. Throughout, though, Barry seeks to avoid the very real dangers of mutual understanding between nations. He succeeds admirably, with his accustomed slapstick ease. A droll, light companion to all those heavy texts that offer dreary, detailed analyses of Nippon and its people; and if your yakuta is tied wrong, the hell with it. (Line drawings by Barry throughout.)

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1992
ISBN: 0-679-40485-6
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1992




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