American Fujiis a delightful novel that's part Japanese cultural guide, part fictionalized autobiography, part mystery, and part commentary on the state of American health care. American expat Gaby Stanton, inflicted with a 'shameful' chronic condition, stays in Japan for the health insurance coverage, working as a salesperson in a fantasy funeral company after having inexplicably lost her professorship at Shizuoka University. A forged invoice from her new company--"Gone with the Wind"--brings Alex Thorn into her life. Psychologist Alex Thorn comes to Japan on a book tour, but mainly to uncover the circumstances of his exchange student son Cody's death one year ago. With Gaby playing guide, both Alex and the reader get some perspective on the sometimes comical, quirky differences between American and Japanese culture. An entertaining cast of Japanese and gaijin characters populate their suspenseful efforts to get to the truth about Cody's death. Were the yakuza (Japanese mafia) involved? Ultimately, it's also a heartfelt novel about acceptance, and a fitting tribute to the time Sara Backer spent in Japan as a visiting English professor at Shizuoka University.
The intersecting stories of two Americans in Japan: one an expat academic forced to make a living selling tricked-out funerals, the other a grieving parent on a mission to discover how his son died. A little bit of mystery, a little bit of comedy, the potential for an odd romance, and a wonderfully wry view of everyday life in Japan.
An interesting take on the Japanese view of Americans. I really enjoyed reading this book.
Lots of good information about the differences an American finds in Japan. I enjoyed the easy learning through the story of both an American woman who wanted to be there, and an American man who didn't, and found himself completely helpless without the help of other Americans. A nice bit of romance with a realistic twist. All in all, a good read for anyone who is interested in different cultures but wants the information wrapped up in the familiar setting of a novel story.
I loved this book! One of the best I've read this year, it also slips in a lot about Japanese culture. Brought back fond memories of my three years in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Interesting! I liked learning a bit about Japanese culture while reading a pretty good mystery.
The author, being an American who lived in Japan for some years, provided some interesting details about routine things regarding daily life in Japan (paying your bus fare, hanging the futon over the balcony). These little things wouldn't be noteworthy to a Japanese native, but are the kind of tidbits a foreigner would notice when visiting the country.
There are many cultural differences that are identified throughout the story. I felt that they were presented very negatively, in a bitter tone that I couldn't help but think would offend Japanese people.
And if you are offended by details about ulcerative colitis, you wouldn't want to read this book. I have to assume this particular medical condition is included in the story in order to help fight the stigma surrounding it, as was mentioned several times while the character was suffering.
This book has mystery, suspense, a hint of romance, personal loss, and adventure. I would like to climb Mt. Fuji now!
Set in Japan, a story of two Americans. A novel that combines comedy, romance and mystery
This was a fun read. It was both a thriller and a romance of sorts and I really enjoyed it.
What a delightful book! An American professor living in Japan crosses paths with another American searching for answers on how and why his son died in Japan. The book gives you some insight into Japanese culture. A little bit of mystery, romance, and suspense all rolled into one.
I had a hard time putting this book down. Has made me want to read more books about the Japanese.
This is an excellent story about people from different walks of life that are drawn together over a few events that lead you, the reader, through coincidences and perceptions and misconceptions that bring the people closer. While language can be a barrier, one finds the meaning of friends, expect the unexpected and head in clouds, feet in ground. I didn't like the way it started, but the give the read a few pages and you will find it difficult to stop reading. As I read, I continued to discover things about Japan and how the people and their systems differ from Americans.
I really enjoyed this book. Even though it is a work of fiction the concepts of how Japan "is" ring true.