Too Late for the Festival: An American Salary Woman in Japan

Rhiannon Paine, Author
Rhiannon Paine, Author Academy Chicago Publishers $22.5 (200p) ISBN 978-0-89733-471-6
Reviewed on: 08/29/2005
Release date: 08/01/2005
Hardcover - 241 pages - 978-0-89733-994-0
Open Ebook - 241 pages - 978-1-322-14384-2
Paperback - 239 pages - 978-0-89733-617-8
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In 1985, Paine, then a 37-year-old technical writer, accepted an offer from her former boss at Hewlett-Packard to work for a year at that company's Japan office in Takaido as a foreign service employee. Intended to be a lighthearted memoir of an American in Japan, Paine's story reads more like one long homesick whine. Although she was apparently paid an enormous sum of money to do very little, she detested her job and was annoyed by her Japanese colleagues, who arrived on time, wore business clothes rather than jeans to the office and did not eat at their desks. To add to her pique, a feud (never fully explained) among three of her fellow foreign workers prevented her from socializing with them as she had envisioned. She hated Japanese food, disliked the noise, crowds and traffic in Tokyo and found the language impossible to learn. Paine does express some appreciation for Japan's lack of crime as well as for the many kindnesses the Japanese showed her. It is clear, however, that she was unable to bridge the culture gap; her attempts to point out the humorous differences between Japan and the U.S. fall flat. Anyone contemplating a visit to Japan will learn little from this myopic account. (July)
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