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  • Sarah McKnight

Canned Coffee and Kimonos

Canned Coffee and Kimonos by Tom Fitzmaurice was one of those books I knew I had to open the moment I saw it. Having lived in Japan myself, also teaching English, I knew the book would be relatable and entertaining as the author recalled the blunders he experienced as a foreigner living in a very different country than he was used to.

The author and I had very different experiences. He worked for an eikaiwa (English conversation school) in Tokyo while I worked in a junior high school in rural Shimane prefecture. (I was delighted, however, to read about the author's own trip to Shimane, even if it was brief). Despite different jobs and locations, we definitely experienced similarities in navigating a new culture, and reading the book felt like having a long conversation with Tom. While reading, I would often think "Oh, me too!", and it would bring up forgotten memories of my own time living in the land of the rising sun.

I'm not normally one for memoir, but I thoroughly enjoyed this, especially because of the personal connection. I'd recommend this one to anyone interested in Japan, anyone considering going to Japan, or anyone who is thinking about working in Japan. You will learn a lot. I did, even after living there myself. A fantastic read!

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