Hitching Rides with Buddha: Travels in Search of Japan

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Do not take this as necessarily indicative of the quality of the publication. In the Sunlight of Sakurajima: More Reviews. Hitching Rides with Buddha: More Reviews. Best Review: Speaking as someone who loves Japan and has lived here almost 5 years myself, this book gets to the heart of the experience better than any other I know, and does a great job capturing the joy, delight, confusion and even occasional sorrow that comes when interacting with this amazing culture.

Inspired by this book, I sometimes take off on similar hitch hiking trips during breaks at the university I teach at, and even made the same trip from Kyushu to Hokkaido. Every trip is a different adventure, and I'm glad that someone as talented as Ferguson wrote about it.

(PDF) Hitching Rides With Buddha - Will Ferguson | Victor Christianto - wafisapaswi.ga

Worst Review: So much travel writing is a tedious checklist of places visited and experiences experienced, combined with trite observations about local customs and culture. Best Review: I've traveled to Japan over 20 times for business. I've read numerous books and articles about the country because I'm fascinated by their culture. This is the best I've read that captures all that is Japan and the Japanese people.

Books about Japan Recommended by Readers

I laughed out loud several times. Highly recommend if you have ever visited Japan. Worst Review: I don't know what book everyone else is reading, but I thought this one wasn't even good to use as scrap paper. The writer can't write and he doesn't have any good insights into Japan. Avoid this like the plague.

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J-Books Sponsors. Learning to Bow: Inside the Heart of Japan Tensaimon's JETpack In the Sunlight of Sakurajima Best Review: None yet. Worst Review: None yet. Mar 24, Hollowspine rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. This book is the answer I needed all those years in Japanese class when my fellow students seemed to idolize the Japanese as if they were some sort of super race that could do no wrong and had invented everything that was cool.

This book shows what a gaijin would face during their time in Japan. Like Will Ferguson they would have their share of adventures and meetings with really nice, helpful people and then they would have those times when they just wished they weren't treated as entertainment This book is the answer I needed all those years in Japanese class when my fellow students seemed to idolize the Japanese as if they were some sort of super race that could do no wrong and had invented everything that was cool.

Like Will Ferguson they would have their share of adventures and meetings with really nice, helpful people and then they would have those times when they just wished they weren't treated as entertainment and just accepted as a person. I was amazed at how many Japanese people told Ferguson that he would never find a ride hitch-hiking, yet he seemed to have little trouble finding willing or less willing travel mates.

I also found it interesting that often once he had been picked up the person who picked him up would invite him to join their journeys or would attempt to join him on his travel. I also loved how Ferguson didn't shy away from "debating" with some of the folks he hitched rides with. I loved the way he gave the racist Monkey expert some troubled moments and even though it was a bit mean, I couldn't help but laugh out loud about the complex he gave the man in the bar whose eyes "just looked Korean" The book was both a wake up call to people who would assume that Japanese people are always accommodating and accepting of foreigners and yet it still made me long to go to Japan.

Feb 28, Tasha Swinney rated it it was amazing Shelves: memoir , japan. I thought Ferguson's memoir was excellent and well-written. He provides really important insights and muses on what it's like to be a Westerner in Japanese culture. He's not a total Japanophile and he isn't particularly jaded, he has an average perspective and I think that's important.

Too many expats are at one end or the other of the extreme. I've been familiar with Japanese culture for years, but Ferguson had things to teach me as well, including insights into Buddhism and Shintoism, and the I thought Ferguson's memoir was excellent and well-written. I've been familiar with Japanese culture for years, but Ferguson had things to teach me as well, including insights into Buddhism and Shintoism, and the real business behind Ainu and Japan's burakumin. The other cool aspect of Ferguson's memoir is that it almost serves as a little informal travel guide highlighting the actually worth-seeing cities in Japan while calling others out on their shit.

I've always been interested in Kanazawa because I heard about how old it is and how beautiful the wooden houses are. But now I know that while it is indeed an old city, it's also a very new and expensive and built up city.

On the other hand, I'm also now interested in Hokkaido's Hokodate city, one of the only cities in Japan with a really Eastern European influence from the Russian traders who lived, and still live, there. Jul 23, Crystal rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , memoirs , travel. Will Ferguson reminds me of a more subdued, Canadian Bill Bryson! I really liked this hitchhiking memoir that Will took to travel across all of Japan.

Learning about how Japanese treat gaijins foreigners was the most interesting. The ending leaves you hanging, though This was written in , and it makes me wonder if people in Japan would still willingly pick up hitchhikers today, in This book was fun. As much as it was something it was such a fun and delightful read.


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And only while finishing it I realized that is was poetic and beautifully written as well. Sep 09, Candice Walsh rated it really liked it. Laugh out loud funny, as per usual with Ferguson. I must go to Japan. Mar 23, J. The purpose of the trip is ostensibly to chase the progress of the sakura or cherry blossoms traditionally a time of festivities and drinking of copious glasses of sake in the company of said cherry blossom trees. He decides to hitch hike for most of the journey as he believes that that is a more At the time of writing the book Will Ferguson was a Canadian EFL teacher working in Japan.

He decides to hitch hike for most of the journey as he believes that that is a more intimate way of getting to know people. He is aware of the tradition of spiritual travelers and discusses Matsuo Basho who set off solo in the late 15th century. I enjoyed the parts about the Rikishi sumo wrestlers and Chiyonofuji a small but muscular sumo wrestler who uses his larger opponents momentum against them. The origins of Shinto are intriguing to say the least, what the?!

Musings from a sex museum- Early pornographic prints show women as taking control and being dominant but in modern day Japan women are depicted as being passive. He is good on Sengoku Jidai the era of the Warring states, especially on castles he mentions one in particular Uwajima castle.

The story of Lord Asano and the story of the 47 samurai is interesting also. In terms of the people he meets on the road the one that stands out is his powerful meeting with Mr. Nakamura whose memories of war still haunt him. He also parties with a group of Japanese salary men. The Japanese have a hereditary lack of the liver enzyme that breaks down acetaldehyde. His summation of what it is like to be a foreigner or a Gaijin in Japan is interesting.

Books about Japan that I’ve Read and Enjoyed

But the image is false. These feelings do not alternate. They are inseparable. As inseparable as the scent of urine and incense on the same wind.

How to hitch

In terms of racism he mentions the indigenous Ainu people who were subjugated and had their language banned. They were officially recognised in by the government. There is also a caste system in Japan the victims of which are the Burakumin who were traditionally leather workers and butchers of cattle. Ultimately the book is tinged with melancholy, a long goodbye. A new start.

A game plan. But somehow, along the way, I had become a collector of trivia and souvenirs, writing postcards addressed to a future self who would- somehow — make sense of it all. Deferring judgment to a later date resolves nothing, and all you are left with is a box of jumbled slides and a collection of knickknacks and odds and ends.

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Here a face. This jumbled reading was the impression I was left with. For some reason this book seemed to take me ages to read. There is an inevitable comparison with Bill Bryson. Will Ferguson is not as funny or learned unfortunately. Bill Bryson has obviously researched his travels and arranged to meet some of the more interesting companions along the way and also has a structure in mind. I prefer width to depth, variety of experience to intensity of experience, quantity to quality. There are a few interesting snap shots of Japanese life but it is ultimately insubstantial and hasn't left a lasting impression on me.

Jun 07, Reina rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. This was such a fun read!


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  • I picked this up because I had read Happiness and enjoyed it very much. It's very witty, insightful, thoughtful and highly enjoyable! It definitely makes you want to book a ticket to Japan straight away:o This is one of the best travelogues I've read recently and would recommend it to anyone with an interes This was such a fun read! It definitely makes you want to book a ticket to Japan straight away:o This is one of the best travelogues I've read recently and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in foreign cultures in general and Japan in particular! View all 3 comments.

    Oct 18, Ashley rated it it was amazing. I loved this book so much, I deliberately savored it slowly over a month. Ferguson shares irreverent, hilarious anecdotes and wickedly incisive observations that many travel writers would fear to pen. It's a brutally honest book, and I found his truthfulness as sharp and refreshing as an autumn breeze.

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