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A Beginner's Guide to Japan


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A playful and profound guidebook full of surprising, brief, incisive glimpses into Japanese culture

About the Author

Pico Iyer is the author of six works of nonfiction and two novels. He has covered the Tibetan question for Time, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and many other publications for more than twenty years. He has been traveling in and around Tibetan communities and the Himalayas for more than thirty years.


Both deep and witty ... Iyer makes a perfect cultural translator
*Times Literary Supplement*

Rarely in any writing on Japan is provocation so elegantly and surgically performed
*Financial Times*

A must-read … Iyer at once opens up a new avenue for those familiar with the country while stoking the curiosity of would-be visitors

Insightful and profound … Iyer can nail Japan with lyrical eloquence
*Japan Times*

[A] lovely pocket compendium of oddities and insights of Japanese life ... Provocative and elegant, Iyer’s guide succeeds precisely because it doesn’t attempt to be authoritative
*Publisher's Weekly*

With an elegant, understated manner, Iyer offers poignant reflections on his adopted country and its maddening contradictions and shifting parts ... Iyer's subtle observations reveal a great deal about what is beyond the surface of how some Westerners view the Japanese

Pico Iyer is a writer like no other, sui generis
*Jan Morris, praise for Pico Iyer*

To me [Pico Iyer] was the complete traveller – highly educated, humorous, detached, portable, positive, alert, subtle, a great noticer and listener, calm, humane and fluent in his prose. And he had been everywhere
*Paul Theroux in 'Ghost Train to the Eastern Star', praise for Pico Iyer*

Iyer’s thoughtful nature leads him to peel back layer upon layer, nodding toward the infinite
*New York Times Book Review*

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