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The Only Gaijin in the Village Reader Reviews

The Only Gaijin in the Village

Jane Brown

An amusing adventure great title makes me think of Little Britain, an interesting story of moving to the other end of the Earth and the huge cultural differences with good old scots humour and observation along the way.

I wanted to read this book as I loved Stef Smulders' book Living in Italy. This is the story of Iain and his Japanese wife who have moved from Scotland to Japan - as a fellow Scot, moving away can be a culture shock although personally moving to the South-west of England was the best move for me. But to move to a remote village with different cultures and a different language - my heart went out to him.

As a fellow Scot, I did find myself chuckling and remembered Scotland again from a different stance.

How I would have survived in a different culture I do not know and take my hat off to this very talented author who explores lots of issues in this book - death as he begins this story, WWII, to the shocking price of rice and it is grown there!
I am now going to seek out this author's other books. A recommended book and just published so give it a whirl.

Evelyn Love- Gajardo

It's a fascinating book for anyone interested in Japan which I enjoyed enormously.

I admit I was expecting another version of the 'naive British person abroad' genre but it's actually a lot more than that.

Iain Maloney is a Scot married to a Japanese woman and he has lived in Japan for a number of years, but it's not the stereotypical Japan of big cities, technology and sushi bars that he writes about. He and his wife live in a small village near a larger town where he teaches at the university.

He writes about everyday life in this small village and the people he encounters there as neighbours and his wife's family members. Some of the book is very funny but it's also very interesting and thought-provoking as he writes of coming to terms with the idea that he will spend his life in Japan and his feelings about living as an immigrant to Japan, getting to grips with the language and customs and coping with everyday problems. I would love to go to Japan and I was fascinated by the descriptions of life here-things like living with the expectation of an earthquake or volcanic eruption, as well as the sense of order and community spirit which was lovely to read about.

The chapters were originally written as blog posts so they vary in length and as each deals with a different topic, they could be read in any order. It's a fascinating book for anyone interested in Japan which I enjoyed enormously.

Ann Peet

Engaging story of young Scottish man trying to fit into Japanese village life.

This is a refreshingly different take on the “Brit moves abroad and tries to fit in with the local community” type of book. For a start, it is about Japan. And not city life but about a young man buying a house in a village in the country and trying to fit into a rural community where most people are retired.

I liked how he describes the culture shock in an amusing way but without making fun of the locals. Indeed, the humour is self-deprecating usually arising from the author’s attempts at gardening and decorating. The explanation of attitudes towards weddings, religion, ownership of property were interesting and I would have liked more of this – and more about his delightfully sceptical Japanese wife – and not quite so much about the author’s background, various phobias and laddish pranks.

It’s a warm and funny read. The vocabulary and cultural references are aimed more at readers a bit younger than me (I’m retired) but entertaining and informative nevertheless.

Book Information

ISBN: 9781788852593
Publication date: 5th March 2020
Author: Iain Maloney
Publisher: Polygon
Format: Paperback
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Books of the Month, Humour, Travel,