Humorous Quotes from
Dave Barry Does Japan
By Dave Barry
- There are a number of people without whom I could not have written this book, but I hope you don’t hold that against them. They are all fine people, and they had no idea how it would turn out.
- Real cars were made here in America: Fords, Chevys, Plymouths. These were large chunks of Detroit iron – cars that had the size, weight, and handling characteristics of aircraft carriers but worse fuel efficiency.
- Every year the manufacturers would come out with new models featuring more chrome and bigger fins in a fierce competition to see who could produce the ugliest car.
- It (A Honda motorcycle purchased in the US in the sixties) had a hilarious, incomprehensible owner’s manual that appeared to have been translated from Japanese to English by somebody who spoke only Swahili.
- At first the American auto manufacturers resisted making small cars for aesthetic reasons: Smaller cars sell for less money.
- Despite the gulf, physical and cultural, between the United States and Japan, both societies are, in the end, made up of people, and people everywhere – when you strip away their superficial differences – are crazy.
- The method (of learning Japanese) recommended by experts is to be born as a Japanese baby and raised by a Japanese family, in Japan. And even then it's not easy.
- Flying from the United States to Tokyo takes approximately as long as law school.
- The Japanese tend to communicate via nuance and euphemism, often leaving important things unsaid; whereas Americans tend to think they’re being subtle when they refrain from grabbing the listener by the shirt.
- I have read that, on the average, the Japanese are getting taller, but at the moment they seem to be about the same height as American junior-high-school students, only with fewer guns.
- One night in Tokyo we watched two Japanese businessmen saying good-night to each other after what had clearly been a long night of drinking, a major participant sport in Japan. These men were totally snockered, having reached the stage of inebriation wherein every air molecule that struck caused them to wobble slightly, but they still managed to behave more formally than Americans do at funerals.
- Many times I've been in American stores, especially large ones, attempting to give somebody some money in exchange for merchandise – which I always thought was the whole point of stores – but was unable to do so because the store employees were too busy with other, higher-priority activities, such as talking or staring into space.
- Over the years there have been so many long, scholarly articles and books seeking to explain how come the Japanese have been kicking our economic butts all over the world, and the answer seems obvious as hell once you get there: They work harder.
- Tokyo is huge. Something like 15 million people live there, and my estimate is that at any given moment, 14.7 million of them are lost.
- A map of Tokyo looks like a tub of hyperactive bait. There is virtually no street that goes directly from anywhere to anywhere.
- The Japanese tend to be far more co-operative and docile and group-oriented. It would be easier to get the entire population of Tokyo to wear matching outfits than to get any two randomly selected Americans to agree on pizza toppings.
- Japan has a low crime rate, unless you count the fact that approximately every fifteen minutes the entire Cabinet gets indicted for taking bribes.
- I'm probably just revealing my own intellectual limitations and cultural myopia when I tell you that Kabuki is the silliest think I have ever seen onstage, and I have seen a man juggle two rubber chickens and a birthday cake.
- ... the famous trip that President George Bush made to Japan in early 1992, the one where he led a delegation of high-level Detroit auto executives, who had to be flown over in giant military cargo jets because ordinary planes would have been unable to lift their wallets.
- If the Japanese don’t like it, they can sue us. They might have robots, but we have way more lawyers.
- After a few more performers had appeared, my group decided that karoke was the stupidest, most pathetic excuse for entertainment we had ever seen, and we wanted to become part of it.
- The scene in Harajuku served as heartwarming proof that rock music is indeed the universal language of the young, and the Japanese young cannot speak it worth squat.
- I hate rap music, which to me sounds like a bunch of angry men shouting, possibly because the person who was supposed to provide them with a melody never showed up.
- Japan clearly is still a long way from developing the kinds of sophisticated humor mechanisms that we Americans enjoy, such as rim shots, booger jokes, and the House of Representatives.
- The Japanese eat, sleep, and breathe golf; the only thing they don’t do is actually play it, because to get on a course, you have to make a reservation roughly 137 years in advance, which means that by the time you actually get to the first tee you are deceased. Of course, in golf this is not really a handicap.
- A round of golf offers essentially the same degree of action and excitement as trying to find your car in an airport parking lot, except that golf is physically less demanding inasmuch as you ride in a little cart.
- We were feeling down. I realize that this was our fault, for being too stuck in our American ways to be able to adapt to another culture, but I bet there were times when even a great traveler like Marco Polo just wanted to find a cheeseburger and a Holiday Inn, and this was one of those times for us.
- My feeling about temples is pretty much the same as my feeling about important cathedrals in Europe, which is that after you’ve seen a representative sample of them – say, two-it’s time to move on to other major tourism activities such as lunch.
- In one Tokyo temple, I bought a charm for Traffic Safety; I figured this would be useful in Miami, where there are drivers who will attempt to pass you inside a car wash.
- For the benefit of those of you who live on Mars without children, I should explain that Nintendo is an extremely popular video game that modern youth learn how to play while still in the womb.
- I'm so bad at Nintendo that my character, when he realizes who’s controlling him, will sometimes pull out a cartoon razor blade and slash his own wrists.
- Japan had nothing to do with creating our monster national debt, or wrecking our cities, or dumbing down our schools, or making so many of us hate and fear each other. We don’t need any outside threats to mess up this country; we’re doing fine on our own.
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