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by Thomas Raucat

  • ISBN: 0710312008
  • Author: Thomas Raucat
  • ePub ver: 1574 kb
  • Fb2 ver: 1574 kb
  • Rating: 4.4 of 5
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 328
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (July 15, 2009)
  • Formats: lrf doc mobi azw
  • Category: Fiction
  • Subcategory: Genre Fiction
epub The Honorable Picnic (Kegan Paul Japan Library) download

Written in the 1920s Honorable Picnic shows how different characters perceive the misadventures of a European Casanova in Japan. His attempts at romance are bungled or misinterpreted at every turn.

Written in the 1920s Honorable Picnic shows how different characters perceive the misadventures of a European Casanova in Japan. He doesn't understand his hosts and they don't get him.

4. Honorable Picnic: A 1920s Novel About Japan (Kegan Paul Japan Library). Published by Routledge 2009-07-15 (2009).

Honorable picnic Prifti, Professor Peter Неизвестно 9780710312006 : Published in 1924, this has been called the best novel ever written about Japan. The French author, a pilot during World War.

Honorable Picnic book. In The Honorable Picnic was written in the 1920's originally in French. It takes place in Japan and is a satirical look at Japanese society and also at foreigners in Japan. I do not like satire and find it gets more and more irritating as I read, but I did have to laugh at some of the portrayals of class conciousness and rules for politenesss - especially the chapter with the railway station master.

Taylor & Francis Ltd.

The Honorable Picnic by Thomas Raucat (Paperback, 2013). Taylor & Francis Ltd.

The Honorable Picnic by Thomas Raucat. By W B Gooderham @wb gooderham. Singapore, December 1978. Started SQ083 – back again! – London – Bahrain – Bangkok, en route for Tokyo, 7 March 1979. Cont’d Siam Inter-Cont.

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Written in the 1920s Honorable Picnic shows how different characters perceive the misadventures of a European Casanova in Japan. His attempts at romance are bungled or misinterpreted at every turn. He doesn't understand his hosts and they don't get him.
This novel was published in French in 1924 and translated into English in 1927. It was written under a pen name by Roger Poidatz, a Frenchman who lived in Japan for a time between the end of World War I and 1924. Donald Richie, the American writer on Japanese subjects for more than 60 years, has called it one of the most observant and honest novels ever written on the nation, as well as the best novel on Japan written by a foreigner. Little information is available in English on Poidatz, but it appears that he published very little besides this book.

It was set in Japan in the early 1920s. It began in Tokyo's Ueno Park, where a young Swiss man with seduction on his mind invited a local woman to accompany him on a daytrip to Enoshima, a seaside resort to the south. He intended their trip to end up at a local hotel. (The author's pen name--which sounds in Japanese like "Shall we stay the night?"--was a play on this invitation.) Unfortunately for the seducer, a Japanese acquaintance invited himself along for the day and things snowballed from there, as more and more people were drawn into the excursion.

Each chapter of the book was written from the viewpoint of a different participant, all but one of whom were Japanese. There was the local girl, who was concerned almost entirely with how best to show off her clothes, in minute detail, and who took along a girlfriend, a mother and a baby. The foreigner's Japanese acquaintance, who invited several business connections he wanted to impress with the foreign presence. The pathetic foreigner himself, who knew nothing of what he'd set in motion. The stationmaster at a rail stop near Enoshima, who together with the local police was tasked with monitoring the foreigner for security reasons. The mother invited by the girl, who was concerned most of all with decorating her new baby with good luck charms. The owner of the hotel in Enoshima where everyone ended up, who sought to use the Western presence to her lodging's advantage. A geisha at the hotel, who observed the evening's festivities with boredom and disdain for the foreigner's boorish ways. (For instance, he quickly spit out the local version of "Bordo.") And finally, a local student who encountered one of the characters late at night along the beach.

The humorous ironies in the book were many. Although the foreigner had started things off, he rapidly became little more than a bystander, a footnote, as everyone else used him for their own purposes. He was ignorant of and entirely uninterested in the local culture. His only concern, sex, was far down the list of everyone else's priorities: enjoying a change of scene, displaying one's clothing, spying, advancing a business, and so on. Not that they didn't have a place for sex. The foreigner could've saved himself much trouble by just checking into a hotel and making a private arrangement.

Most characters were mocked, together with local and foreign ways, but it was the Japanese who received the bulk of the author's attention. In abundant display were an obsession with keeping up appearances suitable to one's station and making the right impression at all costs. Rounds of elaborate gift-giving. The frequent expression of the opposite of what was felt. The lack of what a Westerner might call a sense of proportion. A focus on minute detail--the right color for a kimono sash, the best lucky charm to buy--to the exclusion of all else. Undertakings that grew to require the planning of campaigns. Authorities' over-riding concern with the nation's honor. Frequent misunderstandings of foreign ways, combined with a search for differences over similarities. And mixed feelings of superiority and humility before the foreigner--the former thought, the latter expressed.

The details certainly attested to the author's power of observation in a place he knew only briefly, and to his ability to write beyond race-based stereotypes of his time. gift for impersonating characters from a culture not his own. How much the book is enjoyed, on the other hand, might depend in part on how closely you're attuned to his depiction, funny though it often was. For this reader, it was difficult to care much about any of the characters, they served mainly as butts of the author's humor.

Most of the book was written as farce, with a surprising twist in mood at the end. Was the twist intended to deepen the reader's appreciation of the local people and values? And how affectionate, ultimately, was the author's mockery? In the end it seemed unclear, and maybe this ambiguity was another of the writer's achievements.

The novel was a very early attempt by a foreign author to describe Japanese characters' points of view. Later ones included Richie's Companions of the Holiday (1968) and Audrey Hepburn's Neck (1996) by Alan Brown. Depressingly, it was only in Brown's work that a Japanese and a foreigner succeeded eventually in finding common ground.


"Comparatively I ought to wear a costume today twice as pretty as the one I wore for the Exposition. But when I dressed to go to the Meiji Temple, I had put on the only costume that would do. And I could not wear that again since the foreign gentleman had seen it. What was I to do?"

"Now there remained only my friend the foreigner, who was the pretext for our outing, to wait for . . . . To while away the interval we exchanged regards, and to dissemble our increasing uneasiness we displayed a gaiety more and more lively."

"In addition it is always pleasant to play host to an eminent foreigner; one is enabled to show him that we are no less Europeanized than he, that we understand as well as he the cusoms and etiquette of his continent. The pleasure is enhanced when other friends witness the scene . . . . Why do they not come to study our social system in detail? Why do they not emulate us? The Occidentals are too proud of themselves."

"It was His Lordship, the Occidental professor! I stretched out my arms toward him and burst into tears."

"Infinitely honorable-excellence, pardon pray my grave importunity, but I made bold to hope that you might have the kindness to have the benevolence to have the nobility to have the munificence . . ."

"Here was the downfall of foreign science! An unbounded triumph for the science of Japan! A glory for my hotel!"

"[Westerners] are reluctant to show themselves naked. Why? Out of shame, they explain. What childishness! All bodies are fashioned alike and everyone else knows without looking how yours is made. On the other hand, they disclose to the first comer their affections, their emotions, their most profound sentiments, all that which far more than their bodies constitutes personality . . . . Loudly they parade their happiness, deplore their grief . . . . Even more sensitive than they are we Japanese. But our smiles and our gestures . . . never reveal our innermost hearts. Within ourselves we cherish our emotions."

But never do you give your seat to an old woman [on the train], because she can get along by herself. Craftily she turns around and as soon as she sees the least little space, into it she drops like a flash of lightning . . ." [Reader: Truly, some things haven't changed since 1924]
The novel begins as a parody but achieves objectivity by equally ridiculing all of its (strong) central characters. The author was a French-speaking Swiss diplomat living in Tokyo in the 1920s at a seminal time both politically and socially. He depicts a society caught between modernity and tradition, an apparently complex, inter-related society in which most of the characters in fact merely pursue their own selfish ambitions, oblivious of the effect on others. The novel proceeds through a series of chapters, each depicting events from the perspective of a different character - the majority of them female. The ending is tragic and achieves a high degree of realism, doubtless due to its being based in part upon the author's own personal experiences. It is such a pity that the novel is (presently) no longer in print.

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