This is my second Dave Barry tome this year (I read Dave Barry Turns 40 in March). Somehow, Dave Barry or someone convinced Random House to send Dave Barry and his family to Japan for three weeks to get a book about it. Really. It must have been something to be a humorist in that golden age. My employer here at the blog won’t even pay for my trips to the coffeepot.
The book comes at the height of Dave Barry’s popularity and the height of Japan’s economic power. A couple year later, Japan hits the economic skids and falls from the front rank of American citizens’ bugbears. To put it clearly: Instead of American sitcoms dealing with the zany antics of a fish-out-of-water American in a Japanese auto company (Gung Ho, and yes, I know it was a movie first, but it was later a sitcom), we get American sitcoms dealing with the zany antics of a fish-out-of-water American in an Indian call center (Outsourced, which was also based on a movie). No word on if someone is going to send Dave Barry to India for three weeks.
My point in the preceding, aside from having the sudden urge to compare Gung Ho to Outsourced, is that the book is a period artifact since it fits into the period genre of trying to understand the Japanese who were economic geniuses. It has Dave Barry’s amusing spin on it and has a travelogue thing going on, but it’s mostly Dave Barry being Dave Barry.
An amusing read.