Gerber combined the Japanese culture with the teen frill quite well, making this novel and educational yet entertaining read.
Nori comes to Japan expecting the worst, but when she meets Erik, things start to look better. And there's also Natsushi, a boy who Nori thinks only spends time with her because he feels it is his job or obligation, and boy is she wrong, there. While Nori herself is not a great heroine--she does something very stupid related to a boy she likes (Erik), and takes a LOOONG time to realize how stupid she really is being, despite the many hints--I really enjoyed the descriptions of Kyoto and Tokyo. At the end of the book Nori finds out who her true friends are and most importantly she finds out who she really is.
I love to travel, (although i must say, i REALLY hate airplanes) and want to visit Japan, so this was a really interesting read for me. I enjoyed this book and i recommend it to teens who enjoy reading about different cultures.
In Now and Zen, the S.A.S.S. series travels to Japan in one of the most exotic--and fun--installments yet.