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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 more than a dozen books which have been translated into twenty-three languages. His four recent TED Talks have received more than eight million views so far. In the summer of 2019, he was Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton, Guest Director of the Telluride Film Festival and the first official writer-in-residence at Raffles Hotel Singapore. An essayist for Time magazine since 1986, Iyer writes regularly for the Financial Times, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, Granta and more than 200 magazines around the world.


Impishly provocative ... Rarely in any writing on Japan is provocation so elegantly and surgically performed ... Japan and the Japanese have long seemed to lend themselves addictively to interpretation by outsiders. By inviting all types of readers to see the flaws in that tendency from the outset, Iyer neatly sheds the burden of being right about everything while crafting a framework within which to enjoy the place -- Leo Lewis * Financial Times *
Insightful and profound ... Iyer can nail Japan with lyrical eloquence * Japan Times *
Candid and wholly absorbing, Iyer's inventive guidebook is more than a collection of cultural curiosities - it's a tribute to a nation that prizes social consciousness and sees life in temporality * Booklist *
[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 * Kirkus *
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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