By Jake Adelstein
You wouldn’t expect The Japan Travel Bureau to put out the finest sociological treatise about the pathology and isolation of modern life in Japan, but here it is. It’s a hilarious and disturbingly accurate read about the daily life of Japan’s favorite workhorse — the company man.
The book has gone through several editions and each one reflects the time period in which it was written. The ever-updated, ever-relevant Japanese version of The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit.
Though you can find a thousand dry, ponderous tomes that try to explain the why behind the fact that many Japanese workers’ lives are confined, boring, and oppressive, few will just tell you the way that it is.
Who cares about the why? It’s the how and the now that are interesting.
In any case, explanations would take away from the space alloted for the amazing illustrations. Don’t waste your time taking Japanese studies at Harvard, just buy this book — in the space of an hour, you’ll be a Japan expert!