Description : 'The best book I have read about Tokyo written this century' David Peace For over 300 years, Japan closed itself to outsiders, developing a remarkable and unique culture. During its period of isolation, the inhabitants of the city of Edo, later known as Tokyo, relied on its public bells to tell the time. In her remarkable book, Anna Sherman tells of her search for the bells of Edo, exploring the city of Tokyo and its inhabitants and the individual and particular relationship of Japanese culture - and the Japanese language - to time, tradition, memory, impermanence and history. Through Sherman’s journeys around the city and her friendship with the owner of a small, exquisite cafe, who elevates the making and drinking of coffee to an art-form, The Bells of Old Tokyo presents a series of hauntingly memorable voices in the labyrinth that is the metropolis of the Japanese capital: An aristocrat plays in the sea of ashes left by the Allied firebombing of 1945. A scientist builds the most accurate clock in the world, a clock that will not lose a second in five billion years. A sculptor eats his father’s ashes while the head of the house of Tokugawa reflects on the destruction of his grandfather’s city (‘A lost thing is lost. To chase it leads to darkness’). The result is a book that not only engages with the striking otherness of Japanese culture like no other, but that also marks the arrival of a dazzling new writer as she presents an absorbing and alluring meditation on life through an exploration of a great city and its people.
Description : First published in 1884, this remains a compelling and authoritative overview of Japan at the turn of the century. Encompassing physical geography, flora and fauna, history, social conditions, ethnography, and topography, many of the observations in this classic study hold true in modern Japan.
Description : From the crowds of Tokyo to the bears of the far North, from the jungle of the tropical islands to the blooming cherry trees in Kyoto, eventually arriving at the big emptiness left by the devastating 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster. Patrick Colgan, journalist and traveller, immerses himself in Japanese culture, nature and cuisine and writes about his discovery of a seemingly incomprehensible country. A place, Japan, where feeling a little lost can be fascinating, and trips never really end.
Description : Yosano Akiko was a highly acclaimed Japanese poet. She was also a prominent feminist. In 1928 she was invited to travel around areas with a strong Japanese presence in China's northeast. This is her account of that journey.
Description : This edition makes available once again Thunberg’s extraordinary writings on Japan, complete with illustrations, a full introduction and annotations. Carl Peter Thunberg, pupil and successor of Linnaeus – of the great fathers of modern science – spent eighteen fascinating months in the notoriously inaccessible Japan in 1775-1776, and this is his story. Thunberg studied at Uppsala University in Sweden where he was a favourite student of the great Linnaeus, father of modern scientific classification. He determined to travel the world and enlisted as a physician with the Dutch East India Company. He arrived in Japan in the summer of 1775 and stayed for eighteen months. He observed Japan widely, and travelled to Edo (modern Tokyo) where he became friends with the shogun’s private physician, Katsuragawa Hoshû, a fine Scholar and a notorious rake. They maintained a correspondence even after Thunberg had returned to his homeland. Thunberg’s ‘Travels’ appeared in English in 1795 and until now has never been reprinted. Fully annotated and introduced by Timon Screech.
Description : Arriving late in Kyoto Patrick Holland cannot find a room for the night. Homeless and disorientated and in a place where loitering is not encouraged his only solution is to ride the trains. The train journey is the starting point for a book that also describes travels through Vietnam, mountains in the Chinese Himalaya, lost cities of the Silk Road, mist-swathed cemeteries in Japan and the flat plains of Australia.