Insights on Asian-American relations and the cultures of the Pacific Rim
In company with his Nisei wife, Jeanne Wakatsuki, Houston headed first to her parents' homeland. Sojourning in Ibusuki (a part of Kyushu, which a local returning from the US refers to as "the Alabama of Japan") and later in Fukuoka (one of but four cities to host championship sumo wrestling tournaments), he finds himself wondering whether the island nation's backcountry is "too strange and perhaps more trouble than it's worth." Before Houston presses on alone, however, he and his wife make contact with friends of friends who renew their faith in the cultural and other ties that bind all peoples who live on the Pacific Basin, including those who, like the Houstons, are residents of America's West Coast. In Hawaii, he seeks out a woman who talks with rocks (volcanic or otherwise), an honored vocation in a venue where the legacies of Polynesia survive and thrive. Westering on, the author lights in Indonesia (where a native son lately back from L.A. shares rules of the road for traffic-jammed Jakarta) and Bali (whose Edenic setting belies its troubled history). Covered as well on Houston's overwater trek are the Marianas (Tinian as well as Saipan, where his daughter works at a resort catering to Asians on holiday) and the Ryukyus (Iwo Jima, Okinawa, et al.), where the ghosts of WW II can still disturb the sleep of visitors.
Good old-fashioned travel writing of the sort that combines personal observations on faraway places with astute commentary on what connects their past, present, and future.
- Mercury House
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)
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