The Japanese Chronicles


Bouvier's lifelong quest for Japan, through his many travels, shows the country through all of the stages of his life with the serenity of an experienced writer.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (6) from $2.39   
  • New (2) from $10.84   
  • Used (4) from $2.39   
Sending request ...


Bouvier's lifelong quest for Japan, through his many travels, shows the country through all of the stages of his life with the serenity of an experienced writer.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A grab bag of little trinkets, diamond bracelets, popcorn and flashy toys constitutes this collection of sketches about things, people and places Japanese, with dollops of history and mythology. Bouvier, an itinerant French journalist and photographer, roamed around the country on and off for some six years between the '50s and the '70s, sometimes going hungry and sleeping wherever he could find room for his portable mat, on occasion living elegantly with wife and son in a ``Pavilion of the Auspicious Cloud'' on the grounds of a monastery. Fluent, curious, entranced, Bouvier touches on nearly every aspect of Japanese culture and history. How to listen to the music, what Zen really is, what one Ainu said to another, why peasants rarely want to visit Tokyo, what the emperor of Japan said to the emperor of China, the graffiti on the walls, modern geishas, creation myths: such tidbits present a picture of the country rarely found in more scholarly studies or in guidebooks. The random organization can be irritating, but the information and insights are wonderful. Photos not seen by PW. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
The "best travel books," Bouvier believes, "...are often written by people involved in commerce....Merchants' strict observations avoid the silly infatuations that will quickly take over the literature once poets start to travel." Happily, in this sensitive, acutely observed record of his stays in Japan, the author, a journalist who lives in Switzerland, disproves that statement with some of the most resonant and perceptive travel writing in recent years. Bouvier has spent varying lengths of time in Japan on three occasions: 1955-56, 1964-66, and 1970. With each stay, his appreciation of Japanese character and culture grew. He does not, however, allow his affection to blind him to some of the less appealing aspects of the Japanese temperament—the widespread drunkenness, the traditional xenophobia. The author has lived among the prostitutes and pachinko parlors of Tokyo's Shinjuku district, and on the pine-scented grounds of a Buddhist temple in Kyoto. He has traveled about the country, visiting such areas as scenic Matsushima, overrun with fume-belching tour buses and their fidgeting passengers, and icy Hokkaido, where the native Ainu slip into their traditional costumes from nine to five to be photographed by camera-happy tourists, then head home to don Western clothes. Bouvier's writing is imagistic, frequently as evocative as a haiku, as when he describes turnips shining like mother-of-pearl. He also displays a winning sense of understated humor. In discussing the aesthetic complexities of Noh drama, for example, he writes "...some `connoisseurs' and esoteric bores had spoiled my pleasure in advance by assuring me that, ignorant as I was, I would not get anything from thespectacle." Then he adds, "Have you ever drunk a good bottle of wine with a connoisseur? It is a form of torture." A superb guide, smoothly translated from the French, to the Japanese landscape and mind, and a delight for lovers of travel and fine writing. (Twelve photographs—most seen.)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781906011048
  • Publisher: Eland Publishing Ltd
  • Publication date: 5/13/2009
  • Pages: 205
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)