A year that has been mentally and physically demanding, having to learn to live with a tiny human, is drawing to a close. Not surprisingly, I turned to humor to lighten my mind by picking up Dave Barry Does Japan.
Barry visited Japan with his wife and son for a few weeks way back in 1991, the Bush Senior years, if that helps jog your memory. This book is an observation of the differences between American and Japanese cultures from his point of view. Almost everything imaginable is covered from language to food to sports to society. I was snickering and laughing on every page, with the chapter on Kabuki theater having me in the biggest splits.
Barry is the funniest contemporary writer I have come across and this book does not disappoint. I am amazed how he can see what we see and yet give that examination such a fun innovative spin and generate such excellent wordplay that leaves one chuckling and laughing. In my book, that is just as impressive a skill as the serious writing that wins those serious literature awards. I can easily recommend this book to lighten your spirits anytime. If there is one complaint, it is that this book is way too short compared to his other books and he could have covered way more Japanese idiosyncrasies in far more detail. If this year is any indicator of how 2017 will be, I will surely be hitting the humor shelves more often in the coming months.