This was a random pickup mainly because I had been reading a lot of translated Japanese literary fiction when I bought this, and like all books I had it kicking around the house for quite a while before I eventually got around to reading it.
Alex takes us on a personal journey through the his time in Japan at the end of the Twentieth century whilst also looking back at the development and history of Japanese culture.
Covering so much of the traditional art of Japan but in a way I’ve never read about it before, both personal and educational, following the timelines of forms such as the tea ceremony, Kabuki, and calligraphy from the very earliest Chinese influences to what is happening to these in the late 20th century.
There was much so warmth in his description of Japan and it’s culture, you are able to share his excitement and awe when he met Tamasaburo, his love of calligraphy, and his childish pleasure of the older Nara regions and the religious structures that you can find there.
This is all tinged with a regret for the way that development has been stifled by the more rigorous side of the Japanese psyche and culture, the restrictions that are in place in the structure of the arts, business, and other aspects of life.
Lost Japan ends with a feeling of longing for the past, but also for the future and a hope that this can take the best of the past and mingle it to move forward.
A highly enjoyable history of his time and of Japan.