Book Review – Japanese Made Funny

Japanese Made FunnyAs many of you may know, I live in Japan, and I’m often looking for books to help me study Japanese.  Studying Japanese is a tough thing, as the grammar and writing systems are completely different than English.  It’s quite easy to make mistakes.  I then came across “Japanese Made Funny: Gaijin Bloops in Nihongo” written by Tom Dillon.  I love humour, and though this would be a good book to pick up.

I read more than half of the book before I got home from the bookstore, it was that hard to put away.  It’s more than 200 pages long, but half of it is in English and half in Japanese.  It’s a bilingual book, and is therefore a bit short.  However, I spent my time riding the train trying to keep myself from laughing.  I didn’t need all the people staring at me, the strange laughing foreigner.  But I just couldn’t stop reading it.  It was hilarious.  I still read it again from time to time, and I’m always sharing some of the stories with friends and coworkers.

This book shares many short stories about people’s mistakes while learning Japanese.  It’s quite easy to mistake one word for another, but quite often, the wrong word results in some confusing, yet hilarious conversations.  There are a lot of stories with innocent mistakes that will make the average person laugh, but there are also some extremely embarrassing incidents involving words for bodily functions and body parts.  It’s not a book for young people, since there is a nude illustration, but it’s related to a story.

There’s no need for a plot or characters in this book, as it doesn’t share a single story, but many very brief anecdotes.  The author of this book appears to be bilingual, since it seems that he wrote the Japanese portion.  I’ve been told by a couple Japanese people that the Japanese language used in the book is a bit awkward and unnatural.  But for an English speaker, that doesn’t matter at all.

“Japanese Made Funny” is the perfect book for the Japanese language learner who needs something to lighten up their mood.  It’s also great for anyone who loves a good laugh.  What I also like about this book is that it has helped me remember some words.  I know I’ve made my own mistakes, but nothing as embarrassing as some of these stories.  Highly recommended.

I give this a full 5 out of 5.

3 thoughts on “Book Review – Japanese Made Funny”

  1. I haven’t heard about this book so far, but it sounds really interesting. Such stories about common mistakes are rather rare, but a great help to avoid such mistakes.

    I should try to get my hands on it.

    1. I was lucky to pick this up. Living in Japan, it probably wasn’t so hard to find. I’ve seen it in several major bookstores that have a large foreign language section. I hope you won’t be disappointed. It’s quite funny.

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