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.
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. (show notes / transcript)
Top image courtesy of Tom Zhang/Unsplash.
Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!
Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.
If you like the work we do, you can help support us through our Patreon! That'll unlock additional content, too — like Mel's recipe for Banh Mi Bowls, and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.
This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Content on this site is © 2021 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.