Originally developed as a textbook for Japanese EFL university students, "The Many Roads to Japan" tells the story of the adventures of one foreigner who had to follow many twists and turns in his life journey before finding his niche in Japan. The exercises at the end of each chapter are designed both to provide a review of the most important information contained in the chapter and to give practice in skimming for main ideas and scanning for specific kinds of information. The discussion/essay questions are meant to involve students personally by asking them to respond to events in the main character's life and relate them to their own experiences. Suitable for low intermediate level and above.
"Mr. Norris's description of the world of adventure as well as that of misery reminds me of Saul Bellow's "The Adventures of Augie March," "Henderson the Rain King," or "Herzog." Norris's story of a symbolic life is a gift from his own experience, and it gives us something good, meaningful, and inspiring.... The comprehension questions, exercises, and discussion/essay questions are quite useful in helping Japanese students to think in English and in encouraging them to express themselves in English as well. This is the ideal textbook I have been looking for, and while using it I am happy to say that I can steer clear of the traditional grammar-translation method, which I find so time-consuming and ineffective." -- Professor Kazushige Sagawa, Aoyama Gakuin University
Robert W. Norris was born and raised in Humboldt County, California, where he played basketball in high school and junior college. In 1969, he entered the Air Force, subsequently became a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, and served time in a military prison for refusing to fight in the war. In his twenties, he roamed across the United States, went to Europe twice, and made one journey around the world. During that time, he worked as a millhand, construction laborer, stevedore, mailman, baker, saute cook, and oil rig steward.
Norris has lived and taught English in Japan since 1983. He has an M.A. in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from Newport University in Newport Beach, California. He is the author of "Looking for the Summer," the story of a Vietnam War conscientious objector's adventures and search for identity on the road from Paris to Calcutta in 1977; "Toraware," a novel about the obsessive relationship of three misfits from different cultural backgrounds in 1980s Kobe, Japan; "Autumn Shadows in August," an hallucinogenic mid-life crisis/adventure, and homage to Malcolm Lowry and Hermann Hesse; and "The Many Roads to Japan," a novella used as a textbook in Japanese universities. He has also written several articles on teaching English as a foreign language. He and his wife live near Fukuoka, Japan, where he is a professor at Fukuoka International University.read more