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A Beginner's Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations (Vintage… (edició 2020)
de Pico Iyer (Autor)
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A Beginner's Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations de Pico Iyer
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This is a wonderful book to be able to pick up and just read a bit and put down. It is delightful wherever you should land. Fascinating look at Japan from a terrific author who can compare to many parts of the world. I'm grateful to have been offered a copy in exchange for my honest review. I'm really glad to have had a chance to read it! I highly recommend it. ( )
Pico Iyer's wife is Japanese, and they've lived in Japan (in Nara) for much of the last thirty years, so he's probably better-qualified than most foreigners to be writing about the country, but he's clearly not entirely joking when he tells us that we should read "Beginner's Guide" as referring to the inexperience of the author, not the reader. Japan is not an easy place to pin down, apparently, especially not if you didn't grow up in a Japanese family and your command of the language is less than perfect.
Iyer therefore largely avoids subjective statements of opinion (a very Japanese approach, as he points out) and leans quite heavily on things other people — Japanese and foreign — have said about Japan. Or, occasionally, things people have said about other places that can also be read onto Japan. He arranges them cleverly to expose the many paradoxes in what "we" think we know about the Japanese, and in what the Japanese think they know about themselves, until we find ourselves nudged gently towards the conclusion that, in fact, the Japanese are just like everyone else. Only more so. There are plenty of other places in the world where people eagerly embrace new technologies whilst finding great significance in archaic traditions, or where a a strong desire for outward conformity and avoidance of any kind of individualistic display in public creates masks for people who are wildly eccentric and creative in their inner lives (England was just coming out of that mode when I was growing up, for example). But the Japanese have somehow refined all these things a degree or two beyond the rest of the world.
An enjoyable, thought-provoking book, which will probably become an essential — if useless in practice — reference for anyone visiting Japan for the first time.
This is one confusing book. Most of the book is short descriptions of japan often by other writers. The author is clearly trying to convey how contradictory Japan's culture is.
Intriguing but mysterious.
This was such a unique and interesting read. It took me quite some time to get used to the writing style - very stream-of-consciousness... almost like reading a chat log. It was also overly verbose and unnecessarily waxing poetic in a lot of areas while equally being painfully sparse in others. There were various references made throughout the book that I couldn’t understand until light was brought to them towards the end of the book. (I still don’t understand what Oscar Wilde has to do with Japan.) The sentence structures also made me struggle quite a bit - starting a quote, giving a verbose attribution, then completing the quote - resulting in me having to re-read sections multiple times to comprehend them. However, I found the perspective to be highly informed, relatable, and endearing.
I’m not sure I would recommend this as any kind of guide to someone interested in traveling to Japan, but it does fill some blank spots in cultural knowledge that outsiders might not be privy to, which I find valuable. It also helps that it’s written by a non-Japanese person, which adds an additional level of “translation,” so to speak, in understanding those cultural quirks.
A very quick read. Great for armchair travelers, or those wanting more insight into the quirks of the Japanese culture.
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After thirty-two years in Japan, Pico Iyer can use everything from anime to Oscar Wilde to show how his adopted home is both hauntingly familiar and the strangest place on earth. "Arguably the world's greatest living travel writer" (Outside). He draws on readings, reflections, and conversations with Japanese friends to illuminate an unknown place for newcomers, and to give longtime residents a look at their home through fresh eyes. A Beginner's Guide to Japan is a playful and profound guidebook full of surprising, brief, incisive glimpses into Japanese culture. Iyer's adventures and observations as he travels from a meditation-hall to a love-hotel, from West Point to Kyoto Station, make for a constantly surprising series of provocations guaranteed to pique the interest and curiosity of those who don't know Japan, and to remind those who do of the wide range of fascinations the country and culture contain.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)952.05 — History and Geography Asia Japan
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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