Thursday, 31 October 2013

Book Review: Precarious Japan by Anne Allison

The only reason that I didn't burst into tears while reading this book is because of extreme self-control. And considering this is a non-fiction book, that is definitely a huge statement that I'm making about this book. If you need me to write it down, here it is: this book is that moving that it will make you want to cry. Repeatedly. It will rip your heart out and make you feel guilt for taking money from the Japanese government.

For such a gut-wrenching book, the subject matter is curiously simple. Japan is balanced on the edge - i.e. it's in a precarious position. The book aims to explore the ways that Japanese people experience instability in their lives, and how it's affecting Japanese society.

To be honest, this book was a real eye-opener. All, if not most, of my friends are 'normal'. Normal in the sense that their families are stable and that they have hopes and dreams that are quite conventional. But after reading this book, I can't help thinking that this version of typical may not be so typical after all.

I mean, if we think about it, we're so privileged to be given money to study and live here. When you read of people who can't even get married because they don't have enough money, I don't know, my heart broke. And if you love your family, well, reading about Japan's aging society and how some elderly have resorted to renting a family just to fill their emotional needs, I wanted to run out and start helping. It reminds me of the poor in one-room flats in Singapore. I used to volunteer at an organisation that helps them, and every time I saw their flats, I'd want to cry.

The only thing that annoyed me was the overuse of romaji (but I also do that on this blog, so I guess I'm guilty of the same thing). Plus, I think some of them were written wrongly. But the main problem was that it interrupted the flow and I started trying to mentally soundout the words in my mind.

Read this book. I mean it. Read it, and realise how lucky you are. Then next time, when a volunteer opportunity (or really just an opportunity to help someone) comes up, grab it. Or even if it doesn't come up, remember to call your family and tell them how much you love them.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

P.s. If you want to read more of my book reviews, head over to my other blog - Inside the mind of a Bibliophile!

Pssst, if you want to buy this book and support me at the same time, do click this affliate link to buy from Amazon. I get a small cut, but you don't get a price increase. Buy "Precarious Japan" from Amazon.com