Well, it's not the end of October and I've just finished writing my reviews for the books I read in August. As you can see, this month I am only featuring three titles because I only read three titles. But as I've mentioned before, when I read a book that's not written in my native language, it takes me quite a while to finish. This month's theme is travel and food, two of my favorite subjects! Enjoy.
世界のどこかで居候 by 中山茂・坂口霞 [Sekai no Dokokade Isourou] by Shigeo Nakayama and Katsumi Sakaguchi - “Isourou” – a difficult word to translate in English. I went through a number of dictionaries searching for a word that would closely describe the form of travel that that author Shigeo Nakayama and cameraman Katsumi Sakaguchi created. I also checked with a few online dictionaries as well and most of them gave the same answer – “to lodge” or “lodging” which is close to what the two were doing but not exactly. A closer approximation would be “home stay”, but “home stay” usually applies to students and these two are far beyond their university years. One online dictionary gave the exact definition of what they were doing – “lodger who pays nothing for room and board”, but the other definitions that followed were “freeloader” and “sponger”. So the closest translation of the book title would be “Lodging for Free Somewhere Around the World”. Four years! Eight countries! Nakayama and Sakaguchi traveled around the world between the years 2004 and 2008. They set a standard rule for lodging with strangers. They would stay for no more than a week. They would not schedule their trip to coincide with any events or festivals, and they would not ask for anything in return, only for the families to live their everyday lives as if they weren’t there. They would sleep in the same rooms, eat the same foods, and work in the fields with their hosts. And there would be no guide or interpreters during their stay.
和書なので、日本語の文章も頑張って書きたいと思いました。洋書と違って、和書は大体帯が付くものですね。そしてその帯に軽く本の内容が書かれてます。いつもじゃないですが、今回はそうゆう風になってます。大きいく書いてるあるのは「旅ではない。居候である。」自分の下手の日本語より、帯に書かれたことを借ります：「図々しくも世界のどこかのご家族に「おじゃまします！」。一泊二泊ではお客さん、三日を過ぎて「いてもいなくてもどっちでもいい」と思われて初めて居候。モンゴル、イエメン、パプアニューギニア、インド、モロッコ、ネパール、カンボジア － リイター＆カメラマンの「居候」コンビが覗いた、世界のどこだのふつうの人のふつうの暮らし。」この本も漢字が多くて、ふりがなも無いので、苦労して読みました。自分の母国語以外で本を読むのはどれだけ大変だったか、言葉に説明出来ない。自分の叔父さん尊敬するは。日本人で英語やロシャ語の本良く読んでましたな。凄い。
You can read a more detailed review of this particular book on the “Asia by the Book” blog at http://www.asiabythebook.thingsasian.com/
THE LUNATIC EXPRESS : DISCOVERING THE WORLD…VIA ITS MOST DANGEROUS BUSES, BOATS, TRAINS, AND PLANES by Carl Hoffman – [Indonesian Ferry Sinks. Peruvian Bus Plunges Off Cliff. Kenyan Train Attacked by Mobs. Whenever he picked up a newspaper, journalist and award-winning travel writer Carl Hoffman noticed these news bulletins and was struck by how far removed the idea of tourism – travel as the pursuit of pleasure – is from the reality of most people’s experience.] If that doesn’t capture your attention, I don’t know what will. We’ve all read the same headlines. We probably all have the same bias towards transportation in the developing world. Heck, you know we’d rather drive our own car to the local supermarket than take the local bus to anywhere. And yet, thousands of people do not have a choice in their mode of transport. So Hoffman decided to take a trip around the world using “the most perilous means of transportation: the statistically most dangerous airlines, the most crowded ferries, the slowest buses, and deadliest trains.” His trip would start from his home in Washington, D.C. and take him around the world – but he would take only the most suspect of vehicles: “from Havana to Bogota on the notorious Cubana Airlines; across Bangladesh on overloaded ferries, which are responsible for the deaths of 1000 passengers a year; from Lima to the Amazon on packed night buses despite washed-out roads; through the urban morass of Nairobi by minibus; in Mumbai on commuter trains so jam-packed that hundreds perish daily; through Afghanistan as the Taliban closes in; and finally, scariest of all on his return home – Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. – by Greyhound.” This isn’t Theroux reliving his “Great Railway Bazaar” which is rather tame in comparison, but that was a different kind of trip to begin with. But don’t let the book put you off from traveling on local transportation as it’s the best way to get to know people in the country you’re visiting, and besides, Hoffman did return home in one piece!
ザ・バーガーマップ by 松原好秀 [The Burger Map] by Yoshihide Matsubara – How can I not buy this book. When I first came to Tokyo, aside from the regular chains of McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s (which pulled out of Japan earlier this year), I discovered local chains such as Mos Burger, Freshness Burger, and Lotteria. But if you wanted to upgrade to a premium burger, you would either have to go to Johnny Rockets in Roppongi (also no longer in business) or the Hard Rock Café. I’m sure there were a few other burger shops that I just didn’t know about yet. But in the late ‘90s early 2000s, the boom in gourmet burger shops has grown exponentially. Now, if I crave a burger, I don’t settle for McDonald’s, I treat myself to a gourmet burger. As you can surmise from the title, this is a guide book to some of the best gourmet burger shops Tokyo has to offer. This book features 38 shops in Tokyo, another 9 shops in Kanagawa Prefecture, and another 9 shops in Saitama Prefecture. Of all the shops represented, I have eaten at 9 in Tokyo and had at least 2 burgers from a couple of the Kanagawa shops that had a food booth at a Curry Festival I went to in Yokosuka a couple of months ago. For the curious, these are some of the shops that were featured: Fire House, 7025 Franklin Ave., Sunny Diner, Homeworks, AS Classics, Fellows, Brozers’, Trust Saloon, Zats Burger Café, Fungo just to name a few (and representing the ones I’ve actually been to). Two of my favorites may not have been represented, Eric’s Burger in Sangenjaya and Hawaii’s own Kua Aina (which is probably considered a chain now with all the shops they’ve opened in Japan), but that’s okay. Bon Appetit!