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Interesting, odd, outrageous or informative quotes about Japan

Alan Booth- Quotes from The Roads to Sata

“The only other guest was a traveling salesman who… confessed himself astonished when I made a weekly telephone call to my wife.’Your wife? What ever for?”So she won’t worry.”That’s funny. In my case it’s exactly the opposite.I’m usually away from home about ten days a month, and if I phoned my wife she’d think there was something wrong with me.”The Roads to Sata pg 196

“I told him about the jellyfish.
‘That’s quite out of the question,’ he said with authority.
‘But I saw it. I can still feel the tingling on my face.’
The old man pointed across at a calendar.’You see,’ he said as though to a child, ‘the jellyfish season ended yesterday.'”

The Roads to Sata pg 171

 “the Mona Lisa had been exhibited at a Tokyo gallery and had attracted such throngs of art lovers that the time each was allowed to spend in front of it had to carefully rationed. The gallery owners decided eventually that the optimum time for viewing the Mona Lisa was seven seconds, and this was felt by most art lovers to be satisfactory.” The Roads to Sata pg 180

“moving abroad must have been such a wrench… There are so many Japanese things I’d miss. I’d miss the four seasons like anything. They don’t have four seasons abroad, do they?” A shopkeeper asking Alan Booth the bizarre and bizarrely common “four seasons question” The Roads to Sata pg 140
“a thirteeth-century Ian Paisley”

Nichiren, according to Alan Booth in “The Roads to Sata” pg 126″Sapporo was laid out in 1869 and has a street plan like New York’s… that was considered at the time of the city’s founding to be ‘modern’ and ‘Western.’ Ironically, the Japanese city that Sapporo most resembles in this respect is Kyoto, laid out on an exactly similar pattern in the year 794 in imitation of China’s three-thousand-year-old capital of Ch’ang-an” Alan Booth in The Roads to Sata pg 31

“The second film… climaxed in a scene where the prison superintendant chained one of the younger inmates to his bed and raped her while slashing her breasts with a broken bottle… it was encouraging to remember that, according to the Japan National Tourist Organisation, ‘Japanese cinema keeps in close touch with the the people in its attempts to graphically express their hearts’ desire” pg 24

“[A] loudspeaker van that was doing the rounds for the local elections, repeating the candidate’s name over and over again in the ritual that serves, in Japan, for campaigning: ‘My name is Kodama Kenji. Vote for me. My name is Kodama Kenji. Vote for me…” pg 21

“There was a small refrigerator in the ryokan room containing bottles of Coca-Cola and beer… The guest helps himself to whatever he needs, and in the morning the maid counts the empty bottles. It is an efficient arrangement that saves time and energy and reduces the pleasure of human contact to an absolute minimum.” Alan Booth, The Roads to Sata pg 42

“The Goddess of Mercy has a lot of problems to contend with, not the least of them having to do with gender. Kannon is actually one of the male attendants of Amida Buddha, but he is generally depicted with so tender an expression on his face that, in the Japanese imagination he has undergone a sex change.” pg 45

“Before I left he told me how the fishermen of Hokkaido exemplified the Japanese character. ‘Foreign fishermen,’ he explained, ‘will take only the fish they know they can sell and throw the rest back. But Japanese fishermen will keep fishing till their boats are full, even though it means they’ll have to sell their catch at half price. We Japanese are waakaahorikku (workaholics). We do everything with a vengeance.” Alan Booth in The Roads to Sata, pg 14

6 Comments»

  Ecstasy in bed Japanese-style « Quote Japan wrote @

[…] Alan Booth, The Roads to Sata pg 48 […]

[…] an expression on his face that, in the Japanese imagination, he has undergone a sex change” Alan Booth, The Roads to Sata pg […]

[…] A travelling salesman (hardly the most politically progressive in any country) quoted in The Roads to Sata by Alan Booth pg […]

  Being on time in Japan Quote of the Day « Quote Japan wrote @

[…] The Roads to Sata pg 171. Despite Alan Booth’s stated attempts not to make general comments about “The Japanese”, he certainly does manage to find comments that sum up some common attitudes. If you don’t believe such a conversation could be generally representative, try going to the same beach on the 31 Aug and 1 Sept… […]

  Japanese Myth of the Day « Japan Explained FASAQ wrote @

[…] The Roads to Sata pg 186 […]

[…] A shopkeeper asking Alan Booth the bizarre and bizarrely common “four seasons question” The Roads to Sata pg […]


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