No Pianos, Pet or Foreigners!

Written by Joe Palermo⎮ Narrated by Joe Palermo

Author: Joe Palermo
Narrator: Joe Palermo
Length: 2 hour and 16 minutes
Publisher: Joseph M. Palermo
Released: Jun. 8, 2020
Genre: Travel; Humor

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A young Japanese woman was running through Tokyo station screaming “Save me! Save me!” There was a Japanese man chasing her and closing in. He grabbed her wrist and caught her, about 10 feet in front of me. The woman was still yelling “Save me! Save me!”, but the Japanese people in the crowded station ignored her, not wanting to get involved.

This is the beginning of just one of the stories from my experience living in Japan in the 1980s, where I had moved right after graduating university. It was still rare to see an American who could speak Japanese fluently. This book guides the listener through my many adventures navigating through Japanese culture while living in the outskirts of Tokyo, as well as Tokyo proper.

Althea's Review

3.75 Stars

This audiobook was provided by its author, Joe Palermo, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thanks, Joe!

Following Joe Palermo’s travels and life while in Japan felt like a pleasant mini adventure that was thoroughly enjoyable. The writing and narration felt like a friend was telling me about a place they recently went to.

As a traveler myself that has also visited Japan, I was able to relate to some of his experiences with the people but there were still some things that I had not been aware of prior to reading this. However, there wasn’t a lot written about the sceneries and natural environment in Japan aside from a brief mention of Nara park, which was one of the things that I was looking forward to.

But personally, my favourite parts of travelling are when I get to experience the everyday lives of the people living there and No Pianos, Pets or Foreigners! was a great example of that.

I did not get that much depth and insights on the personal level. This felt more like a combination of short stories that you would tell a friend that you have not seen in a long time, but you aren’t particularly close to. There is no romanticization on the Japanese culture and, like I said, it highlighted some of the things that I already knew about said culture. I think it’s important to know this before going in, but it was realistic. It was obviously written from the point of view of an American.

With that, I was still very intrigued and it was mostly what I expected from it, aside from the lack of environment representation. Listening to the audiobook, there definitely aren’t any fancy sound effects and the narration was pretty flat but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment that much. Though, I think that a touch of Japanese music or something from their culture either at the beginning or at the end, or perhaps just a soft meolody at the background would have done wonders.

If you are already someone who is curious and fascinated with the Japanese culture this would be an enjoyable, easy time.

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