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A Year in Japan

( 3 )

Overview

The Land of the Rising Sun is shining brightly across the American cultural landscape. Recent films such as Lost in Translation and Memoirs of a Geisha seem to have made everyone an expert on Japan, even if they've never been there. But the only way for a Westerner to get to know the real Japan is to become a part of it. Kate T. Williamson did just that, spending a year experiencing, studying, and reflecting on her adopted home. She brings her keen observations to us in A Year in Japan, a dramatically different ...

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Overview

The Land of the Rising Sun is shining brightly across the American cultural landscape. Recent films such as Lost in Translation and Memoirs of a Geisha seem to have made everyone an expert on Japan, even if they've never been there. But the only way for a Westerner to get to know the real Japan is to become a part of it. Kate T. Williamson did just that, spending a year experiencing, studying, and reflecting on her adopted home. She brings her keen observations to us in A Year in Japan, a dramatically different look at a delightfully different way of life.

Avoiding the usual clichés—Japan's polite society, its unusual fashion trends, its crowded subways—Williamson focuses on some lesser-known aspects of the country and culture. In stunning watercolors and piquant texts, she explains the terms used to order various amounts of tofu, the electric rugs found in many Japanese homes, and how to distinguish a maiko from a geisha. She observes sumo wrestlers in traditional garb as they use ATMs, the wonders of "Santaful World" at a Kyoto department store, and the temple carpenters who spend each Sunday dancing to rockabilly. A Year in Japan is a colorful journey to the beauty, poetry, and quirkiness of modern Japana book not just to look at but to experience.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This delicately crafted artist's journal offers colorful impressions of a young woman's extended visit in Kyoto, Japan. Williamson's watercolors are playful, bright and spare, and each section illustrates a theme or topic that has inspired the artist/author over her travels to a country devoted to attention to detail. For example, Williamson explores numerous rituals of dining, such as offering a guest green tea accompanied by a piece of wagashi, or bean paste confection, and illustrates over two pages the elegant lunch she ordered at a temple serving shojin ryori, the vegetarian cuisine of Zen Buddhist monks. The sacred rope that unites the "male" and "female" rocks of the Shinto site Meoto-Iwa warrants both an intimate view (the rope) and a full, breathtaking seascape of the wedded rocks. Williamson renders eye-catching holidays from August's O'bon, featuring a trio of three white-socked and sandaled feet under pink kimonos, to April's stately sakura (cherry blossom) season. Some of the people Williamson depicts are sumo wrestlers wearing headphones and riding the subway, and two geishas side by side in full regalia-one apprentice, the other professional. For travelers to Japan, and those who treasure their visit, this is a splendid record. 350 color illus. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568985404
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 302,799
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate T. Williamson is a writer and illustrator who studied filmmaking at Harvard University. Her love of travel and interest in sock design, along with a postgraduate fellowship, took her to Kyoto. She lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2014

    Beautiful illustrations and lovely couple-paragraph stories in w

    Beautiful illustrations and lovely couple-paragraph stories in what I assume is written in the author's pretty cursive writing. An absolutely wonderful buy for anyone who loves art or foreign cultures, or is a lover of Japan in general.

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  • Posted May 23, 2009

    Lovely

    After living five years in Japan I can say with complete authority that Kate has captured the essence of Japan in a beautifully written and illustrated journal.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2006

    very interesting

    brilliant book and very nice to read. Japan remains a myth to us all, but solid analysis would show that Japan remains a closed society at large. Two very nice books explore the myth: (1) China's Global Reach: Markets, Multinationals, and Globalization (2) Japan: Who Governs? First book pinpoints Japan's internal problems, while the 2nd gives a broad view. Both are very insightful.

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