ジャック・スワード(1924-2010)<BR>アメリカ・テキサス州出身。太平洋戦争終結後、連合国軍情報部にて活躍。25年程日本に滞在した後、故郷にあるテキサス大学にて教鞭をとる。1986年に瑞宝章受賞。2010年没。 <P>Jack Seward(1924-2010)<BR>Born in Houston grew up in Dallas.Seward served under MacArthur during the Occupation and thereafter in the CIA as part of its Asian operations.Seward subsequently moved into the private sector, where he worked in Tokyo and overseas for several U.S. and Japanese companies. Over the 25 years that he lived in Japan, he built a reputation as a linguist and leading expert on the nation. Seward returned to Texas and taught courses on Japanese culture and language at the University of Texas at Dallas. He lectured frequently throughout the U.S. and Japan.In 1986, Emperor Hirohito, known posthumously as Emperor Showa, awarded him the Order of the Sacred Treasure for his widely recognized contributions to mutual understanding and strengthening of U.S.-Japanese relations.
This book contains approximately 87 pages of some of the Japanese Language's more colourful phrases.
It is arranged into seven sections ranging from 'Ridiculing Physical Appearance', through 'Threats, Taunts & Curses' and ending with 'Repugnant Personal Traits'. Each phrase is listed in Romaji with its corresponding English translation alongside. Many of the phrases are provided with example sentences (again in Romaji with English translations) which are then periodically interspersed with short notes on context, or brief anecdotes on where the author encountered the phrase.
Sadly, this otherwise excellent book is let down completely by two fundamental flaws.
First is that there is absolutely no kana or kanji used anywhere in these pages, limiting the usefulness for intermediate and advanced learners.
Secondly, and more importantly, is that there is a complete lack of any form of index, thus making any attempt at translating a Japanese phrase back into English difficult at best.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wishes to increase their Japanese vocabulary, or those wanting to find an insult to use on somebody else. Anyone wanting a Japanese to English reference book on colloquial expressions would best look elsewhere.
Update (November 2010): A revised edition of this book was released in 2006 (2 years after my original review). The cover of the revised edition includes kana and kanji, which suggests they fixed the first problem I mentioned above. Unfortunately I haven't read the revised edition myself, so I don't know whether they added an index at the same time. Hopefully someone who has read the new edition will leave a comment or their own review.
This book gives slang words and phrases. Its give the translation and the literal meaning to give you a deeper understanding of the language. Full of insults and threats, this book is funny, but could offend Japanese strangers.
Been playing around with the notion of learning Japanese. I figured if I was going to learn the "high" Japanese, may as well learn the colloquial. This is another of those books where I may not use it very often, but it will be good to know. If nothing else, it will make you chuckle.
I thought that this would be a funny book to just read on about but really I haven't used it once. And I find that some of it isn't really correct (if that makes any sense). Overall I'd just save your money and not bother with it.