Of rice and yen

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Of rice and yen
An Englishman's look at the best and worst of Japan: the pleasures and pains, the gems and the jaw-droppers

Dave Mosley

Of Rice and Yen
An Englishman’s look at the best and worst of Japan; the pleasures and pains, the gems and the jaw-droppers

Dave Mosley

Dave Mosley lived in Japan for more than ten years whilst working as a translator. He returned to the UK in2001 but has been back many times since. He now lives in Hertfordshire, England with his Japanese wife and two children.

Of Rice and Yen An Englishman’s look at the best and worst of Japan; the pleasures and pains, the gems and the jaw-droppers by Dave Mosley

Copyright © 2009

To Kouhei and Emma This is for you.

I am indebted to my wife and children for their comments,understanding, ideas, and encouragement whilst writing this book. I would also like to express my most sincere thanks to Steve Lomas, Guy Purchon, Paul Schimmel for generously giving up valuable time to review and thoroughly edit the initial manuscript. Thank you.

Request from the Author
When you've read the book please let me know what you think. If you enjoyed it or found it at all usefulplease tell me; a simple mail would make the long months I spent writing it well worth the effort. Likewise, if it wasn't to your taste, if you have conflicting experiences, or if you picked up on inaccuracies, I'd be equally delighted to hear from you. All and any comments would be very gratefully received at davemosley_books@ymail.com. My goal in providing this book for free is to make itavailable to as many people as possible. If you know of any other person or reputable organization who may find it interesting, entertaining, or useful, please pass on the PDF file or download link. Many thanks and happy reading.

A number of different systems can be used to render Japanese words into an alphabetic form suitable for the non-Japanese reader; a process known asromanization. Of Rice and Yen sticks largely to the Hepburn system, but denotes long vowel sounds and chouonfugou using double vowel spellings rather than macrons with which the reader may be unfamiliar. All such romanizations of Japanese words are also shown in italics. Conventional Western spellings have been maintained for place names with which the reader will already be familiar (e.g., Tokyo, Osaka).Japanese names, where used in this book, have been written in the conventional Japanese order of family name first followed by given name.

o get a real understanding of any country, other than one's own, is a difficult and at times seemingly insurmountable task. The superficial outer layers can of course be easily stripped back; statistics on a country's location and topography, itsclimate and population, government and history can today all be found with almost instant availability. Yet try to delve a little deeper and the knowledge pool quickly runs shallow. Information on any country's unique intricacies and peculiarities, its failings as well as its strengths is far harder to acquire. Yet for anyone wanting to gain a real feel for the land, these are surely the things thatare not only interesting and memorable, but also of paramount importance in bringing the dry statistics to life. For the Western observer at least, gaining any meaningful insight into Japan is probably a challenge far harder than for most other countries. The sheer breadth and depth of deviation from the familiar adds an extra hurdle to overcome before accessing the core veracity. Language,etiquette, social hierarchies, business practices, and even perceived notions of common sense are all so very different to our own norms as to often render them almost unrecognizable, and even aspects of life that may initially seem comfortingly similar can be strangely, and at times annoyingly, deceptive. When I first went to Japan in the pre-internet days of 1990, useful information of any kind was...
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