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Learning to Bow: Inside the Heart of Japan…

Learning to Bow: Inside the Heart of Japan (1991)

by Bruce Feiler

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4641335,907 (3.82)35
Learning to Bow has been heralded as one of the funniest, liveliest, and most insightful books ever written about the clash of cultures between America and Japan. With warmth and candor, Bruce Feiler recounts the year he spent as a teacher in a small rural town. Beginning with a ritual outdoor bath and culminating in an all-night trek to the top of Mt. Fuji, Feiler teaches his students about American culture, while they teach him everything from how to properly address an envelope to how to date a Japanese girl.… (more)
  1. 00
    Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China by Rachel DeWoskin (Literate.Ninja)
    Literate.Ninja: Both works are clever and friendly autobiographical accounts of westerners trying to live and work in Asia.
  2. 00
    Thank You and Okay: An American Zen Failure in Japan by David Chadwick (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Another memoir of an American in Japan. This one is a zen student and English tutor.

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Explores the cultural differences and different facets of culture shock of an American teaching ESL in Japan. Central among these is the independence of the West versus the dependence of the East. Feiler talks about his experiences with sensitivity and humor. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
This book encompasses a year in Japan spent teaching English by an American teacher. The differences between the Japanese and the Americans and between their two ways of teaching was the focus of the book. For instance, the Japanese tended to assume that he could not tolerate their food or customs, neither of which was true. In their schools, the teachers and the students are expected to be model citizens, both in and out of the school. When Bruce would run red lights on his bicycle because there was no one at the intersection at that early hour, others noticed and reported it to his school. When students were caught outside the school riding their bicycles they were disciplined by a passing teacher. Every morning the classes would greet the teacher with a bow and say "Please teach us today." (How my mother would have loved that!) However, their class structure is extremely rigid and formuliac. When Bruce tried to break it up in order to get his students to truly learn conversational English they were shocked and initially withdrew. There were many other fascinating and surprising things I learned about Japan from this book, and reading it was an enjoyable way to get some knowledge of that country. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Jun 14, 2014 |
The author spent a year teaching American culture and English in Japan. In this book, he relates his experiences both as a teacher and as a foreigner trying to understand Japanese culture. Well written and often funny, this is an honest account of living abroad.

The author also examines the strengths and weaknesses of the Japanese education system. He explores aspects of the culture such as dating, marriage and work place rituals. Most interesting, to me, was his his discussion on cultural homogeneity vs diversity and what it means to fit in and to belong. ( )
  LynnB | May 4, 2014 |
American teaching in Japan. Fascinating. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
This book was a gift from David and Lynda Sullivan. This was the third book I've read by Mr. Feiler, all of them were good reads. This one is an account of a year he spent in Japan teaching English. ( )
  MrDickie | Feb 28, 2013 |
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Oshieru wa manabu no nakaba nari.
Half of teaching is learning.
-- A Japanese proverb
For my parents Jane and Ed Feiler, above and beyond the commas
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I dropped my pants and felt a rush of cool wind against my legs.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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