Honestly, I would not be nearly as interested if this book were to be based in, say, Finland or something no offense whatsoever to the Finnish I m just making a point that you re not Japan , but because this book was based in Japan, and it often traversed the topic of recycling and being eco friendly as Japan is known for being , this book has earned a special place in my heart.
Nori Tanaka Is Thrilled To Be Studying Abroad In Tokyo, Japan, But It Isn T Exactly What She Had Imagined She Expected Tranquil Gardens And Swoopy Roofed Houses, Not Concrete And Neon And Everyone Assumes That, With Her Traditional Japanese Features, She S A Native Instead Of The Na Ve Japanese American That She Really Is Even Erik, A Gorgeous German Student, Mistakes Nori For Japanese, And Treats Her Like A Personal Tour Guide Nori Is Sure That He Ll Like Her For Who She Is Once He Gets To Know Her, So What Harm Can Come Of Temporarily Pretending To Be Japanese It Doesn T Take Long To Realize That She Has A Lot To Learn About Japan, And About Herself, Before She Can Pass For A Native But After Exploring The Karaoke Clubs In Tokyo, The Peaceful Temples In Kyoto, And The Tranquil Heights Of Mt Fuji, Nori Knows She Has A Good Chance Of Finding The Hidden Japanese Spirit And Zen Mindset Within Herself Nori Tanaka is getting away from her feuding parents and going to Japan on an exchange program She didn t particularly want to go to Japan, she just wanted to go SOMEWHERE to get away from her parents Now that she s in Japan, she wants nothingthan to forget about their impending divorce And once she spies the uber hottie Erik from Germany, she thinks she s got the perfect distraction.
There s just one problem with being in Japan Because she s Japanese American, the foreigners all assume she s local And the locals all know she s foreign When Erik mistakes her for a Japanese girl, she doesn t correct him right away because she wants him to like her And the longer the deception goes on, the harder it is to fess up The worst part is that Nori is taking advantage of her new Japanese friend Atsushi How did Nori ever get into this mess And can she come clean with everyone and fix her mistakes before it s time to head home I found this book in the Students Across the Seven Seas series to be a bit harder to get into than Heart and Salsa, mainly because Nori wasn t a very likable character at the beginning of the book True, she was dealing with a lot of confusion and anger about her parents, but she was rude to everyone and got caught up in a bunch of lies By the end of the trip, though, Nori had figured some things out and wasprepared to deal with her parents and life in general Like Heart and Salsa, I found the descriptions of the surroundings to be one of the most appealing elements of the book A light read for those who love travel.
This was an amazing story about a Japanese American student studying abroad in Japan I enjoyed this book a lot because reading about assimilation and culture really interests me and it was also a coming of age story as the main character is young and escaping problems from home Also, I love reading about Japan and its rich culture.
75 stars, but for my sentimental reasons, I m bumping it up to a 4.
This was my second reread in this series, and I was a littledrawn to this book I cringed at the recurring scenario of having to get away from the parents, but was able to ignore that for the most part Loved when Nori stayed with her family in Kyoto it was probably the sweetest and most heartfelt part of the book, and really made me feelconnected to the story So many great characters, specifically Amberly and the great aunt and uncle, and am glad I picked it up again Easy, enjoyable read.
Full review on Now and Zen is a nice reading for all the ages It might be full of common topics, regular struggles, and regular teachings but its is so wonderfully reading and the experience that creates on the reader is amazing Gerber take us to a millennial trip from the Hachiko Station to the NiJo Castle and its nightingale floor Her own experience is clearly seen and the narration and style take us to those mesmerizing landscapes We climb not only the Tokyo Tower and we see all the amazing lights of the sleepiness city of Tokyo, but also we are witnesses of the first sunrise of the world at the top of the amazing Fuji san.
It s my first read book in the holiday before term 4 Life is quite light with such a book At first, I just pick the book because my friend was going to have a trip in Japan for 2 weeks By reading this book, I feel like I m travelling with them, P Her hesitance is similar to what I feel when go to other new places Lesson from the book Love at the first sight is not always true.
I ve previously read The Great Call of China by Cynthea Liu in the SASS Students Across the Seven Seas series and found that book to appeal to various demographics e.
g age, genders, and racial backgrounds Liu offered an engaging story that combined romance, family values, with Asian culture Unfortunately, Now and Zen by Lisa Gerber seems to do everything opposite the Liu book For example, there is inconsistent pacing, a female lead that doesn t mature or grow by the end of the book, no charismatic or appealing Asian male characters, and for the most part uninteresting supporting characters.
Gerber seems to have her Asian female lead Nori Tanaka surrounded by primarily Caucasians and seems to push the idea that European standards of beauty should be admired, especially by this Asian female Early in the novel, Nori calls a group of Caucasian males hotties particularly one who is blonde American media tends to push the white male Asian female relationships as normal and have other relationships e.
g usually a black individual opposite a non black individual as controversial or a time to discuss race It s interesting on Nori s trip to Japan, she doesn t notice any Asian males or any other men of color Granted, she can have a liking for white males, but we are not told why As aforementioned, if the lead was a black female rather than Asian, there probably would have been a chapter devoted to discussing the why s and how s that hypothetical black female lead liked a non black man a long discussion of race Hence, Gerber perpetuates the racial double standards for Asians and other non whites, particularly black people Gerber perpetuates the stereotypical focus on Asians as the safe minorities or the model minorities Nori s roommate, Amberly Bryson, is Caucasian and blonde as well Only she is female Amberly Bryson is as looking like a Barbie doll, and she is depicted as a bimbo Yet, she turns out to be a voice of reason towards the end of the novel It comes off as awkward based on her characterization for most of the novel.
The moment when Nori is supposed to grow or find some sort of life enlightenment is when she meets an aunt and uncle while on her Japan trip This is when the book slowed down for me This is also when I felt the author didn t fully immerse me in the surroundings or the relevance of said aunt and uncle If the aunt and uncle didn t add much relevance to Nori s growth of a person, her overall experiences didn t teach her anything Erik, a blonde German boy she is infatuated with refers to her as a geisha towards the end of the novel Even though she tells him to stop and is depicted as uncomfortable, she still has a liking for him Now, this can be attributed to her being a teenage girl, but this not only comes off as na ve but dumb on her part Is the author trying to say something about bad boys and the girls who go after them Or is the author trying to comment on Asian female white male relationships Erik turning villainous towards the end comes off as anticlimactic For most of the novel, he is so wonderful, so handsome, but suddenly he verbally disrespects Nori There is no buildup to his evilness and there is no follow up to tell us why he turned evil or if he was always like that He just comes off as a stereotypical white guy who feels entitled to Asian women.
There are a few characters in the novel that could have been jettisoned for better focus For example there is Kiah, a tall white Australian girl with fiery red hair who is depicted as down to Earth and reasonable She probably could have been a better alternative to the Amberly character since I wanted to knowabout Kiah However, the Australian seems shoehorned in she shows up in the beginning and the end, and doesn t really affect the overall story.
Another character that could have been jettisoned is Michiko, a Japan born girl Nori meets in Japan Michiko seemed to only exist to tell Nori she s not Japanese enough since Nori was grew up in America, and nothing else is made on that claim Nori doesn t really seem to be affected by Michiko, and the author doesn t really go into what it means to be Japanese The only relevance Michiko has is when she calls out Erik for calling her a geisha something that should have gone to Nori for character growth Interestingly, Michiko is not depicted as having a life outside disliking Nori and complaining a nonsensical character.
Atsushi is a Japanese boy Nori meets during her trip in Japan, and another that probably could have been jettisoned Even though Atsushi has a liking for Nori, he is depicted as being in the friend zone she is too enad with Erik Even towards the end when Nori supposedly has a romantic feeling for Atsushi, it seems like a temporary interest a friendship rather than an actual romance Even towards the end after Erik and Nori break up their romance friendship, and Atsushi gains Nori s attention, Nori still has feelings for Erik despite how she was treated.
Nori definitely isn t written as a strong heroine.
Overall, this book could have been developedwith stronger characters and not clich s or stereotypes Characters that didn t move the plot along could have been left out The goals of the story, the goals of the heroine i.
e what is she trying to achieve could have been made clearer.