When Pico Iyer decided to go to Kyoto and live in a monastery, he
did so to learn about Zen Buddhism from the inside, to get to know
Kyoto, one of the loveliest old cities in the world, and to find
out something about Japanese culture today -- not the world of
businessmen and production lines, but the traditional world of
changing seasons and the silence of temples, of the images woven
through literature, of the lunar Japan that still lives on behind
the rising sun of geopolitical power.
All this he did. And then he met Sachiko.
Vivacious, attractive, thoroughly educated, speaking English
enthusiastically if eccentrically, the wife of a Japanese
"salaryman" who seldom left the office before 10 P.M., Sachiko was
as conversant with tea ceremony and classical Japanese literature
as with rock music, Goethe, and Vivaldi. With the lightness of
touch that made Video Night in Kathmandu so captivating, Pico Iyer
fashions from their relationship a marvelously ironic yet heartfelt
book that is at once a portrait of cross-cultural infatuation --
and misunderstanding -- and a delightfully fresh way of seeing both
the old Japan and the very new.
"From the Trade Paperback edition."
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