>no self control
How do I escape this hell? I don't want to be a NEET anymore.
>I do not give out one-star ratings lightly. I read several books a week, rate them all on GoodReads, and this is the first one-star rating I've given out.
>The author seems to know a little bit about about a lot, but not a lot about even a little bit. Instead, he seems to have formed a bunch of opinions/stereotypes about Japan and everything he, the wise Occidental, finds wrong with it. Then, toss in a few carefully chosen quotes from authors whom he treats like objective sources (for example, Frances Fukuyama, a darling of the far right), and suddenly his view is not actually an opinion--it is a medical diagnosis.
>Zielenziger also constantly confuses correlation with causation, itself not a crime, except where you make it your goal of the book (seemingly) to determine the cause of the hikikomori issue. Instead, the book turns into a long rant about Japan and everything it is doing wrong, because it is not doing everything that the United States is doing.
>Some choice quotes:
>(Referring negatively to the U.S. leaving many war criminals in political positions post-WWII): "This is just the opposite of our current policy in vanquished Iraq, where the Americans summarily fired all Sunni Baathists loyal to the regime of Saddam Hussein."
>Wrong. They fired ALL Sunni Baathists, regardless of loyalty to Saddam Hussein's regime. And, while Zeilenziger thinks that this was an objectively good decision, pretty much every single knowledgeable speaker on the Iraq War has universally condemned this move as short-sighted and poorly planned.
>"For just as an isolated child needs a parent's protection, Japan can survive in its course of renewed isolation only if we Americans agree to act as the guardian who gallantly commands Japan's national defense while allowing Japan's export industries unfettered access to U.S. markets."
>Where to begin? First, this is possibly the most arrogant, condescending attitude an American can take towards Japan, apparently our supplicant child. I met many foreigners in Japan (primarily, Americans, but just as often, Germans) who took this attitude towards Japan, apparently oblivious to the utter condescension of it. Japan is not a slave to the United States, its benevolent father. Japanese companies make plenty of money selling domestically, to China, India, Mexico, South America, etc. Zielenziger's utter lack of business knowledge is most apparent here, as he seems to think that only 4 Japanese companies sell products outside of the U.S., probably because those are the only companies whose products he has bought.
>What about the major role Japanese companies play in the automotive industry, including the components industry? Pharmaceutical industry? Technology sector? Medical devices? It would be nice if Zielenziger could pay lip service to more than just the few companies he has apparently heard of, in an effort to bolster his very odd theory.
>As you can probably tell from the review, I absolutely hated this book. The condescending tone, its being a political tract disguised as a well-researched tome, and the plain ignorance of its author (I doubt he speaks Japanese, since he points out with every source how good their English is--while at the same time criticizing Japan for having nobody who can communicate in English) add up to a giant mess that, unfortunately, will fool many into thinking it is more than just a giant, long-winded rant. It isn't.
>Foreigners have criticized Asian nations for not mirroring the West since the King and I, but just with that flimsy musical, Zielenziger's horrible book actually demonstrates that the author himself doesn't seem able to turn the mirror on himself or his own country. A very Western thing, indeed.
>The way the author describes Japan, you'd think that it was a third-world country. Relentlessly negative, he often contradicts himself, ranting about the loss of Japan's traditional beauty amidst all the vending machines and souvenir shops and yet in the next paragraph criticizing ryokan (Japanese inns) for not offering more choices for breakfast! (143-144) Often relying too much on stereotypes, the author's description of life doesn't account for the experiences of tourists who flock to the country to enjoy its many charms as well as those who have spent serious time in the country and actively participated in a a variety of communities. Certainly Japan has its problems--and many of Zielenziger's observations are accurate. But he comes off sounding like a clueless foreigner at times who wasn't able to grasp and appreciate the nuances of Japanese culture.
Hmm, that last name...
I wonder who could be behind this book?