Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan (Kodansha Globe)



Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan (Kodansha Globe)Traveling By Foot Through Mountains And Villages, Alan Booth Found A Japan Far Removed From The Stereotypes Familiar To Westerners Whether Retracing The Footsteps Of Ancient Warriors Or Detailing The Encroachments Of Suburban Sprawl, He Unerringly Finds The Telling Detail, The Unexpected Transformation, The Everyday Drama That Brings This Remote World To Life On The Page Looking For The Lost Is Full Of Personalities, From Friendly Gangsters To Mischievous Children To The Author Himself, An Expatriate Who Found In Japan Both His True Home And Dogged Exile Wry, Witty, Sometimes Angry, Always Eloquent, Booth Is A Uniquely Perceptive Guide Looking For The Lost Is A Technicolor Journey Into The Heart Of A Nation Perhaps Even Significant, It Is The Self Portrait Of One Man, Alan Booth, Exquisitely Painted In The Twilight Of His Own Life.

Alan Booth was born in London in 1946 and traveled to Japan in 1970 to study Noh theater He stayed, working as a writer and film critic, until his death from cancer in 1993.

[[ Reading ]] ➶ Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan (Kodansha Globe) Author Alan Booth – Bluevapours.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 400 pages
  • Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan (Kodansha Globe)
  • Alan Booth
  • English
  • 20 October 2018
  • 9781568361482

10 thoughts on “Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan (Kodansha Globe)

  1. Patrick McCoy says:

    I was really impressed with Alan Booth s Roads to Sata and was relishing the chance to read his follow up, Looking For The Lost 1995 And again I was impressed, the first section, Tsugaru is Booth s retracing the path of Aomori author Osamu Dazai, who was famous for his writing and booze fueled life and many suicides attempts one of which, was successful The name of Dazai s book that Booth uses as his guide of the region was Return to Tsugaru Travels of a Purple Tramp, which gave Both points of reference even though that trip was undertaken 50 years earlier In the book Booth tells a waitress at the inn that was once Dazai s home that he wasn t particularly a fan and I can believe it I m not such a huge fan of the selfish miserable man either I think it was merely a good excuse for him to explore this remote northern most region of Honshu an area that he professed his love for earlier and mentioning that when he first arrived in Japan he lived just south of Amori in Akita prefecture I know very little of the region save its regional products, the Namahage devil festival costumes, and the famous colorful float festival known as the Nebuta festival But his observations of the people and region are intriguing He was particularly impressed with Hirosaki, which he called one of his favorite places in Japan.In the second section, Saigo s Last March, Booth follows in the footsteps of Saigo Takamori s famous retreat from Mount Enodake in the northern part of Miyazaki prefecture through mountains down to his home town of Kagoshima I suppose I would liked to read about Takamori and his impact on modern Japan sometime However, in this sparsely populated area Booth has many false starts and he is not able to keep up with Takamori s timetable for the march Along the way locals tell him the history of Takamori s doings in their villages during his long march home As usual, beer is drank, chats are had, and this trip seems miserable than others because of the constant rain he encounters on his walk Again wry observations about the people and Booth s impressions are made as well Of those two prefectures I have only been to the main cities of Miyazaki and Kagoshima, so the descriptions of the rugged land is somewhat of a revelation however, the impression was made on trips from the airports into the main cities on those trips.In the final section, Looking for the Lost, Booth attempts to follow and explore the retreat of the Heike also known as the Taira clan that was said to have been chased out of Kyoto into the north most likely along the Nagara River Like the previous two entries there are witty exchanges with locals, wry observations, and historical recounting However, this section also tells the reader about the author and his obsessions that brought him to Japan in the first place, and why he abandoned them This is triggered by the staid historical museums and preserved houses for tourism that are scattered about the region I was reminded, strolling around the breezy paths, of why I had come to Japan in the first place not in search of the coyly picturesque but of something I had thought might be living and was dead So culturally edifying is the Noh that great pains have been made to pickle it like much else in Japan that is deemed worthy of awe, the Noh has been stripped of any connection with life as it is actually lived and frozen into a fossil But rather than retreat, he finds other interests that keep him in Japan writing about the land, the people, the culture, and the customs as he experienced them firsthand on his travels The books ends with a powerful prophecy of the author s future It is a fitting companion to his earlier masterpiece The Roads to Sata Booth has earned a rightful place among the ranks of the best visitors who wrote so insightfully about Japan like Donald Richie and Ian Buruma.

  2. Azabu says:

    Enjoying it so much that I m reading it v e r y s l o w l y

  3. J says:

    This book is an amazing travel account.Booth is a walker, no matter the weather, no matter how awful the road He speaks Japanese, he s intelligent and talkative and he talks to the people he meets The experiences he makes good, bad, funny, strange are shared in wonderfully engaging language There is the odd introspection or memory of former visits or happenings in his life, too It doesn t happen often and, because Booth comes across as such a down to earth guy this added to the charm of the book It wasn t tedious or uncalled for it becomes a part of his discovery process of the country as he walks.In this book, Booth chronicles three journeys taken along the roads travelled by a famous writer, a military general and, lastly, by the remnants of a clan This historical connection, the re discovery of their paths in wind, sleet, rain, heat and cold is an adventure in itself.This is for those who are interested in Japan without cliches, in people in the countryside The book was published in the 1990s, but Booth did already seen and mention some of the things that struck me a good twenty years later how the Japanese love of nature in Kyoto gardens does not mean that there won t be destruction of it wide highways in the middle of the mountains, grimy tunnels, dams It was most striking in the third travel he described, where he passed by Shirakawa go, a small mountain place, famous for its high steepled houses I ve been there and Booth s words are true still the way he describes it is strikingly accurate you can see it even if you have not been there, but if you have, it s even poignant.For me, this book is a travel writing gem I absolutely loved it and I m really looking forward to reading The Roads to Sata , the first Japan travel book Booth wrote, which is still on my reading list.

  4. Stephen Douglas Rowland says:

    Honestly, there is quite a bit of excellent Japanese cultural stuff present here, but I found the author s tone consistently condescending Further, the first part of the book is barely than an extended tirade against Osamu Dazai To dislike that writer s work is fine, but to mock his suicide attempts and his alcoholism, while doing nothing but drinking beer and shochu all hours of the day, is a bit much.

  5. Michiel Nicolaï says:

    An ok book, like his other work Roads to Sata.Still just the same a bit repetitive.Even so he gives some nice insights in Japanese culture.For example his explanation of the crux of Japanese literature on the brevity or human glory and the eternal sadness with which the world is charged To be specific a reference from a short story of Akutagawa s life of a foolish man ah what is a human life, a drop of dew a flash of lightning This is sad, so sad Reading these insights makes me contemplate what else he could have written if it wasn t for his untimily death from colon cancer in 1993 I wasn t prepared for the emotional gut punch at the very last page when, in his typical nonchalant style, he refered to the discovery of his cancer at the very end of this memoir, knowing it killed him This book was published on year after his death by his wife and daughter.

  6. Kenneth says:

    Wow This guy can write He s not looking for a picture postcard Japan He s looking at the country that s in front of him at a walking pace, talking to the people he meets and letting you in on it He doesn t wrap up things in neat bows, this isn t some memoir disguised as travel writing It s detailed, subtle, earthy The author died too young, and knowing that cast a sadness over the reading of this book, gave it depth and shadows it might otherwise not have had It will take me a while to process this one.

  7. Maria Kojdecka says:

    I managed to read 260 pages put of 385 anc I really couldn t stand a single word It s not a story of a meditative walk It s a story of drinking beer and having sore feet and wet clothes It would have been interesting if it had been 150 pages shorter Without descriptions of being bored and tired and having sore feet.

  8. E says:

    Could not get through the first chapter Painfully boring.

  9. PJ Ebbrell says:

    I loved The Road to Sata, but struggled a bit with this one The last quarter of the book was brilliant I got a bit lost looking for Saigo, but now I have found Jdrama about the time and a book on his life I suspect I will re read this at some point.

  10. Nami says:

    The library is closed, so I needed to borrow something for the plane ride from my mother s limited english language library This book is so damn big I really don t want to carry it, but what freakin choice do I have Anyway, I liked his first book when I read it back in my high school days.Later I soon realized that this was actually the book I d read back in the day Luckily I was given two books to read while I was away so basically I just carried it around up and down the state of California for no apparent reason.here is why you should read this book It makes this similar astute observations often and as wittily, but I m not about to transcribe the whole book Daruma is the Japanese name for Bodhidharma, the Indian sage whom legend credits with having introduced Zen Buddhism to China He is said to have meditated for nine years in a cave and during that time his arms and legs atrophied as a result the Japanese, being infinitely comfortable with outward appearances than with inward illuminations, associate him not with piety, but with roundness Thus a snowman in Japanese is a snow Daruma and a potbellied stove is called a Daruma stove.

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