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Exactly what it says it is: seventy hand gestures used in Japan, ranging from common to rare and from polite to extremely rude, with explanatory photographs, the Japanese phrase for the gesture, the circumstances in which it is used, and a jab at placing the relative politeness level of each one.

I had picked up a surprising number of these from various manga, anime, and films, including-- and this surprised me-- some I had not known I had picked up. There were a couple I just looked at and went 'well of course that means that what else would it mean'. Including the one for indicating not-terribly-politely that somebody is gay, which I am not sure how to feel about subliminally knowing. (I am not going to attempt to describe it because it's one of those gestures where I could write a very detailed description which would not help one tenth as much as a good photo; I don't think it's obvious what it means unless you know, though.) Now I am wondering how I learned it.

These are well explained and well photographed. This could be a very useful book for a tourist, especially since it has the gesture that people will use when they don't speak the tourist's language/don't know something-- an upright hand shaken near the mouth, with the thumb closest to the face, sometimes with the head shaking in the opposite direction. I did manage to figure this one out when I was a tourist, but I think it was a little embarrassing for everybody until I did, because it really does mean 'this person does not want to talk to you and you should go bother somebody else'.

So a fun little book, which also seems to do pretty well on telling you whether a given gesture is too rude to use, really too rude to use, or Right Out. If you need information on Japanese gestures, this is a good place to find it.


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March 2017

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