Andrew Horvat - Japanese Beyond Words (2)
It's always hard to get a feeling for a foreign culture without being immersed in it, and it's probably even more difficult when the gap is as large as it is sure to be between so called western countries and Japan. I find the insistence of most introductions to stress the quaintness and formality of Japanese customs a bit irritating, for the blind eye it turns on equivalent behaviours in the reader's home culture. Generally, a big deal is made for instance of the different distinct levels of politeness or about set phrases for different social situations, as though neither of these existed in other cultures. While this issue crops up in this book as well, much of the specific information in it is really helpful, and it is a nice read to boot.