Lost Japan This book by Alan Kerr
is quite thought provoking. It's a view of Japan by a foreigner who was raised in Japan and who understands a lot about Japanese
ethos. A good book about understanding what may be wrong with Japan.
Views of Mount Fuji : On Finding... Nice book by Cathy Davidson. She really hits a lot of nails right on the
head with her narrative about what it's like for a foreigner to live and work in Japan. This should be required reading for
anyone wishing to teaching English in Japan. Full of insight.
Adventures in Tokyo : 39 Thrills... Great book about the hidden and sometimes obvious attractions of Japan's
capital city. Written by Rick Kennedy, a longtime Tokyo resident, it uncovers some interesting and inexpensive distractions
in the megalopolis. A must have for the bored(?) Tokyoite.
Audrey Hepburn's Neck : A Novel Funny, poignant story of a gaijin
(foreigner) and a Japanese boy from Hokkaido (considered a foreign country by Japanese until about 150 years ago) trying to
cope with life in Tokyo. Nicely written with a somewhat shocking revelation near the end. Quite entertaining.
Memoirs of a Geisha Written like a biography,
(though it is pure fiction) this story tells the tale of a poor, young girl sold into virtual slavery by her destitute, fisherman
father. Follow her through the hardships of her life and training to become a sought after geisha of the Gion quarter of
Kyoto. Heros, villains, sex, intrigue and more in this captivating novel.
What can I say about this one? Shogun is a classic. Of course, it was made
into a mini-series in the late '70's and inspired a "Japan boom" in America. This epic novel has a huge scope and never drags
though is to more than 600 pages long. Read it.
A collection of short stories by one of Japan's leading young writers.
Many of these stories deal with love and loneliness and are somewhat off-beat but hopeful.
Kitchen This short novel by Banana Yoshimoto led to a Japanese film of the same name. It's
about love and acceptance, a recurring theme in her stories. The other story included in the novel is very touching.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of... A wonderful blend of sci-fi
and fantasy mixed with detective novel. It is a little confusing at the beginning because of the 2 separate stories taking
place simultaneously but Murakami melds them together brilliantly. Lots of familiar references to Tokyo too.
Monkey Brain Sushi : New Tastes in... Another collection of short
stories by the "new" generation of Japanese writers. Not all of the stories work but many are bizarre and strange to say
the least. Great cover.
Speed Tribes : Days
and Nights With... What is "Generation X" Japan getting into? Well, you can find out in this
provacative novel. Go to the backstreets and alleys in search of the real story of today's underground Japan.