Maido (my-dough, not to be confused with that childhood favorite, Play-Doh) describes the most common Japanese gestures and defines their meanings and the cultural contexts that surround them. Japanese gestures are a world of their own, much the way the language and country are. In the Kansai region of Japan, people often use the term Maido as a greeting in business and sales, and as a send-off to a business s best customers as if to say, come again or thank you. In this case, Maido is welcoming you to a world in which you don t offend every Japanese person you meet. By learning a few simple gestures you can avoid making intercultural slip-ups and win the respect of locals. And who knows maybe the next time you walk into the local izakaya (watering hole), you may be lucky enough to hear someone saying, Maido! Maido! to you."
Rating: 5 Stars
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
When I was in high school I became interested in anime, which was my introduction into Japanese culture. It might not have been the best introduction, but I had to start somewhere. The actions in anime, as far as I can tell, are overacted and not entirely culturally acted. It did interest me in finding out more about Japan, though, historically, culturally, etc.
Maido: A Gaijin's Guide to Japanese Gestures and Culture is a good working guide to gestures which, to compare them to American ones for a moment, we might take for granted. I was familiar with a couple of the ones mentioned in this book, having seen them demonstrated in film and television shows, but here I was given a bit more information on exactly what they meant and how they might be similar to other gestures if done in a slightly different way.
The photographs were very well done. As well as demonstrating the gestures that were being talked about, the fashions were really cool. I almost wish this book had had a section to talk about what the models were wearing as well because some of the outfits were very unique.
Ms. Hasegawa, the author, did a good job at getting her point across without pontificating for which I was thankful. She didn't let her writing get dry either, injecting some points of humor into the paragraphs about the various gestures.
While I'm sure this book didn't cover all the gestures that one would ever need when visiting Japan, and caution should still be exercised unless you're 100% you're using a gesture correctly, it gave a good overview with the ones that might be needed the most. It certainly gave the ones that, I think, would be used the most, such as gestures used for politeness' sake (thank you, I'm sorry), in restaurants, and what to avoid when at all possible to avoid rudeness (insinuating someone's a gang member). I'd like to read more from Ms. Hasegawa, as she tackled the brief subject of gestures and culture well; I think she'd have a good handle on a variety of other subjects, maybe even books more in-depth on Japanese culture.
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