Book Review: My Awesome Japan Adventure by Rebecca Otowa
Have you ever been to Japan? What do you know about this island country in the Pacific Ocean off the east coast of China and Korea? Japan is called the “Land of the Rising Sun” because it is situated at the most eastern part of Asia. The Japanese call their country “Nippon,” which literally means in Japanese “the origin of the sun.”
In My Awesome Japan Adventure: A Diary about the Best 4 Months Ever by Rebecca Otowa, fifth-grader Dan flies to Japan and spends time with the Muratas, his host family. The Muratas have two children named Mari and Daisuke, who are about the same age as Dan. Dan keeps a record of what he sees and experiences, including his first week of school, working on the rice harvest, and attending a tea ceremony!
Daisuke gives Dan a lesson about bowing. At a Kendo lesson in Japan, students bow to their “Sensai” or teacher to show respect and thank him. They bow before starting a conversation and when they leave. Bowing is way of greeting in Japan, and it is usually accompanied by words like, “hello,” “please,” and “thank you.”
I am really impressed by the fun tidbits about Japan found in this book. Even though I have traveled to Japan a few times and am quite familiar with the country and the culture, there are things in this book that are new to me. I enjoyed learning about moji making and different types of sushi.
Another strong point about this book is the detailed illustrations that accompany the story. Author Rebecca Otowa, who has lived in Japan for 30 years, is a painter and teacher. Her fun drawings make it easy for readers to follow the story.
Filled with new discovery and adventure, My Awesome Japan Adventure is a delightful read for elementary school students who want to learn more about Japan. It will appeal to fans of Japanese manga and Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.