cover image Shalom Japan: A Sabra's Five Years in the Land of the Rising Sun

Shalom Japan: A Sabra's Five Years in the Land of the Rising Sun

Shifra Horn, Author, Horn Shifra, Author, Ora Cummings, Translator Kensington Publishing Corporation $22 (313p) ISBN 978-1-57566-111-7

It's hardly common knowledge that the Japanese have the most advanced bathroom plumbing on earth: electrically heated toilet seats with an array of buttons to control temperature, produce sprays of cleansing water, stereophonic music and automatically close and open the seat. Already available are sensors to analyze your urine and alert you to illness. In Japan, household movers will not only fumigate and neatly package everything you own (including your garbage) but will also transport you in a comfortably furnished cubicle. The aversion to bodily uncleanliness creates a thriving surgical specialty in the total removal of sweat glands. Horn, who spent five years in Tokyo as the wife of an Israeli diplomat, also tells us that the most lurid pornography, including graphic depictions of rape, defecation, sodomy, etc., is not only enjoyed by children and adults alike, but that the only prohibition against it is the showing of pubic hair; that birth control pills, considered too dangerous, are unavailable and IUDs are not favored, but safe abortions are as easy to get as a dentist's appointment; that the Japanese are encouraged to believe they have longer intestinal yardage and unique brain structures that make them superior to everyone else in the world. All of these not-so-homely tidbits--and more--are embedded in Horn's wicked and freshly revealing report on domestic details of Japanese life, which also provides insights into a society where the preponderance of men gives women an upper hand in marital choices, where the Mafia and the police work together on many matters, and where, parallel to the existence of considerable anti-Semitism, there are those who believe that the Japanese themselves are one of the lost tribes of Israel. (Nov.)