Japan

Japan


From samurai to sumo and calligraphy to cos-play, Japan is a fascinating mashup of hyper-modernity and traditional culture.

Visitors to Japan can still sleep on futons, meditate with monks, drink matcha tea, and wonder at ancient theater, like noh and kabuki — while also riding on bullet trains and time-traveling to the future with the latest electronics. More than two-thirds of the country is mountains, and there are also ancient cedar groves, tropical beaches, and fields of wildflowers. And hot springs, lots of bubbly, irresistible, relaxing hot springs.

Rooted in tradition and family, the culture of Japan provides rich fodder for stories that grab hold of you and won’t let go — meet unforgettable characters and celebrate the language, the customs, and the challenges of contemporary Japan.

our podcast

In this episode, we explore Japanese culture, then discuss the books that tooks us there. We recommend a deep dive into WWII-era Japan with a family saga and a nonfiction manga comic — both populated by unforgettable characters, sweeping historical events, and big feelings. Plus, a geeky culture guide, a workplace-romantic comedy about making a dictionary, and a slim novel with a mighty impact.

We also chat with award-winning graphic novelist Tillie Walden about manga, the Japanese comics form that made her fall in love with comics.

recommended books

Convenience Store Woman

buy | read review

Showa 1944-1953

buy | read review

The Great Passage

buy | read review

A Geek in Japan

buy | read review

The Street of a Thousand Blossoms

buy | read review

The Devotion of Suspect X

buy | read review

A Tale for the Time Being

buy | read review

Convenience Store Woman

buy | read review

Number9Dream

buy | read review

20th Century Boys: The Perfect Edition

buy | read review

Buddha, Volume 1: Kapilavastu

buy | read review

Hunter x Hunter

buy | read review

Ranma 1/2 (2-in-1 Edition)

buy | read review

Sunny

buy | read review

featured posts

In episode 3 of our new podcast, we go deep into Japanese culture with moving novels, an autobio graphic novel, and a look at all things geeky. Then we chat with graphic novelist Tillie Walden about her love of manga.
Pssst... how'd you like to sleep INSIDE a bookshelf?! That's exactly what you'll get to do at Book and Bed Tokyo, a collection of six hostels devoted to reading (and a little bit of sleeping).
These tender pork meatballs are packed with umami — like gyoza without the noodle-wrapper. Dig into them while you read this lovely, poignant novel of love, friendship, and the power of words in Japan.
In Japan, comics are known as manga. They're used to tell stories in every genre, and are read by people of all ages. We're delighted to have cartoonist Tille Walden share her top picks for readers who are new to the form.
From the neon-lit streets of Tokyo to the bucolic countryside, and contemporary plots to tales from history, Japan's culture — and pop culture — are inspiration for stories that move, inform, entertain, and surprise us.
These photos will take you beyond the neon and rhythm of Tokyo to peaceful shrines, brilliant green landscapes, and some really cute monkeys in the mountains. These snapshots that explore the diverse beauty of Japan.

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Top image courtesy of Tom Zhang/Unsplash.

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