Japan – Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs Culture by Paul Norbury – Non-Fiction Book Review

A huge thank you to  http://www.culturesmartbooks.co.uk/ and Paul Newbury for a copy of this guide in return for an honest and unbiased review.


The exquisite art forms, elegant culture, military prowess, and technological precision of the Japanese have long been the envy of friend and foe alike. Even as Japan adapts to a rapidly changing world, its traditional culture and consensus-based philosophy have proved resilient. Culture Smart! Japan will broaden your perception and understanding of this complex, rich, and dynamic society. 

My Thoughts

If you know me, you’ll know that I love Japanese culture.  I have been fortunate enough to visit Tokyo and surrounding areas twice and it is such a smorgasbord of traditional and modern culture and customs from one street to the next.  I am by no means an expert but I think the more knowledge you know before you visit Japan, the more immersed you can become in the experience.

What I love about the Culture Smart guides is how they differ from most.  Rather than telling you about places to visit, eat and spend time it gives you a more in-depth but easy to reference guide to the customs and cultures that you will likely come across when visiting Japan, or may just be curious about. Japanese culture are very big on etiquette in some areas and it’s important to know little things such as removing shoes on entry to a lot of homes and restaurants, or how to display your chopsticks during a meal without being rude. 

The chapters include; Land and People, values and Attitudes, Religion, Customs and Traditions, The Japanese at Home, Time Out, gift Giving, Food and Drink, Living in Japan, Business Briefing and Language and Communications.

I love the layout which is a mix of information, photographs and easy to reference bullet points/charts.  It’s easy to find the information you need using the contents/index and the information is written in an informative and easy to read way without being overwhelming or too wordy.

This is a great guide to read before travelling to Japan or if you have an interest in the customs and traditions of Japan.      


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