The Only Gaijin in the Village

Iain Maloney

Date Published :
August 2021
Publisher :
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781780277394
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 7.7 X 5.1 inches
Stock Status : In stock


In 2016 Scottish writer Iain Maloney and his Japanese wife Minori moved to a village in rural Japan. This is the story of his attempt to fit in, be accepted and fulfil his duties as a member of the community, despite being the only foreigner in the village.

Even after more than a decade living in Japan and learning the language, life in the countryside was a culture shock. Due to increasing numbers of young people moving to the cities in search of work, there are fewer rural residents under the retirement age – and they have two things in abundance: time and curiosity. Iain’s attempts at amateur farming, basic gardening and DIY are conducted under the watchful eye of his neighbours and wife. But curtain twitching is the least of his problems. The threat of potential missile strikes and earthquakes is nothing compared to the venomous snakes, terrifying centipedes and bees the size of small birds that stalk Iain’s garden.

Told with self-deprecating humour, this memoir gives a fascinating insight into a side of Japan rarely seen and affirms the positive benefits of immigration for the individual and the community. It’s not always easy being the only gaijin in the village.

About The Author

Iain Maloney is a lecturer in Foreign Studies at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies, Japan. He has degrees in English (Aberdeen) and Creative Writing (Glasgow) and has published three novels. He reviews regularly for a number of publications including the Japan Times. He moved from Scotland ten years ago as a TEFL teacher and lives in rural Japan with his wife, Minori.


a delightful tumble into village life, complete with a vivid cast of characters and a beautiful sense of place'

- Elsa Maishman, Scotsman

A gently quirky memoir'

- Canberra Times

A perfect read for the novice of Japanese culture. … Bold, humorous and current'

- Japan Society

a treasure ... written with affection, insight and a lot of humour'

- Ali Hull, Sorted Magazine

Expats in Japan will laugh out loud at many of Maloney's experiences as he struggles to fit into Japanese village life. Maloney writes with panache and finds humor in even the most mundane circumstances'

- Books on Asia

Laugh-out-loud lessons from Japan's proud countryside – layered with shrewd observations about race, gender and generation, and cultural asides, all glued together with levity and distinctive social commentary... a thought-provoking, lively examination of one immigrant’s quest to create a new home outside his country of birth'

- The Japan Times

n a world fascinated by the bright lights of Tokyo The Only Gaijin in the Village offers a new and welcome perspective of life in Japan'

- Geographical Magazine

Radiant with an infectious enthusiasm for life, Scottish writer Iain Maloney has created a playful, powerful page-turner in The Only Gaijin in the Village, a brilliant blend of memoir and travel writing at its most edifyingly entertaining'

- LoveReading

Scottish writer Iain Maloney is far from home in this funny and uplifting read. Having decided to setting in a rural Japanese village, Iain and his wide imagine a world of pastoral delights – they meet bird-sized bees and hawk-eyed neighbours instead'

- Wanderlust Magazine

This book is extraordinary. It is a tour de force. It is a funny, committed and impassioned account of how a young Scots writer came to the decision that he would spend the rest of his life in rural Japan... a hymn of praise about the joys of living in Japan as a foreigner, a gaijin. He is the only gaijin in the village and he loves it'


This book is guaranteed to make you laugh, but its emotional moments hit hard and by the end, you’ll feel like you’ve made a friend'


Having decided to settle in a rural Japanese village, the author and his wife imagine a world of pastoral delights – they meet bird-sized bees and hawk-eyed neighbours instead. Adventure alongside them in this detailed memoir of cultural immersion and continuous learning'

- Sahara Blog

A charmer ... the crisp, evocative prose is liberally splashed with Maloney’s dry blend of humour'

- Dundee Courier

This book is a wealth of information and the reader learns a huge amount about rural Japan. It is charming, as is its narrator, and always amusing. The crisp and evocative prose is liberally splashed with Iain’s dry blend of humour'

- Dundee Courier Book of the Week

A warm, funny, joyful experience'

- Country Life

Many expats have shared stories of their lives in Japan, and they often sound the same. Iain Maloney [has] found unexpected turns and stories worth telling'

- British Chamber of Commerce in Japan

The first rule of engagement to being accepted by locals, is to “show willingness”. There’s odd local food, intrusive pastimes, unwelcome snakes, massive bees. Eating raw shiitake mushrooms turned out to be a dangerous idea. Cultural gaffes and “lost in translation” moments flow. Maloney appears courteous and kind and he certainly didn’t resile from hard work. By the end of a year, he is a proud inakamono: a country bumpkin'

- Susan Kurosawa, The Australian

Maloney navigates culture shock, new hobbies and watchful neighbours, revealing in the process a rarely seen side of Japan'

- Air Canda in-flight magazine

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