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Book recommendations? 2014/5/4 14:52
Hi all,

I am going to travel to Japan as part of a grad-level class. For this class, we have to select and report on two books: one about Japanese business practices and/or economy, and one about our topic of choice, perhaps something to do with Japanese art, culture, etc.

I am not a business student, but the class is through the business school within the university. I am in the Human Factors program, studying things like design and human-computer interaction.

Could anyone recommend either one or both types of books? I'm somewhat at a loss.

Thank you!!

by lislok (guest)  

Re: Book recommendations? 2014/5/5 09:01
For something very different, read; "The True Story of Gomichan, the abandoned kitten of Sado Island" by Daniel Burnham. A story about the search for ancient coins that leads to a greater discovery buried inside your heart.

You can find it by pasting the title into Google.

by Fun on the Ice rate this post as useful

Re: Book recommendations? 2014/5/5 12:51
Suggestion: Perhaps consult your class seniors or classmates?

Some books that may be of interest
(+) A Geek in Japan : Discovering the Land of Manga.....by Hector Garcia
(Tuttle Shokai 2011)

(2) Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan by Christopher Hood
(Routledge UK 2006)
by epsilon8 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Book recommendations? 2014/5/5 14:59
Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus was one of the most evocative books I've read in my life.

It's an English children's book (written by a white American woman) based on the real events of John Manjiro, the first Japanese to have lived in the U.S. and returned to Japan to be a successful translator.

The thing that may interest you is that the book is illustrated, by actual drawings made by this then teen Manjiro, which truly brings the old American culture and business to life and to Japan.

The other interesting thing is that the book mainly focuses on whaling. It tells us both the good parts and bad parts of both Japanese whaling and American whaling, and it doesn't tell you what you should do about it. Not many writers have done this before, certainly as far as Americans are concerned.

The book is a great material to get you started on true cultural exchange. If you like this book, or any other book that can be easy on you for that matter, you might want to find another one slightly related to that topic, such as old drawings, communication, whaling or education business.

My art teacher back in (Japanese) junior high school used to tell us to understand Picasso and to, at the same time, complete your assignments no matter how bad the quality may be. I think he was telling us that appreciating art and getting your job done to earn money is to be discussed on the same level. The same thing can probably be said about your assignment.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Book recommendations? 2014/5/7 22:46
Ian Buruma writes business-focused books on Japan. One I read a while ago which was good was "Inventing Japan" (if I recall correctly).

Might be worth a look?
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Book recommendations? 2014/5/7 22:53
Or, for a novel set in a Japanese business, how about Fear and Trembling by Amelie Nothomb?

It won a prestigious French literary prize on publication, if I recall correctly, so it should be of a decent standard for your course. It deals with life and politics in a Japanese office, from the point of view of a European who's employed there as a new hire.
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Book recommendations? 2014/5/7 23:58
For a great novel, set at least partly in Japan, try The One Thousand Summers of Jacob de Zout by David Mitchell.

Set in Dejima (the trading post at Nagasaki), written from the point of a Dutch trader. Interesting lead-in to a discussion of the VOC's attitude to trading with Asia, perhaps?
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

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