As soon as I saw A Year in Japan, I loved it immediately. As I already love Japanese literature, I have a weakness when it comes to this country. And if the books written about it have excellent illustrations, I cannot help but like it.
A Year in Japan is not a book that would inform you about Japan as much as you’d like. I should mention this from the very beginning. It is a book full of Kate T. Williamson’s personal choices and a bit of the popular things about Japan. So, minimize your expectations about information and read the book as such, and most importantly, let yourself to the beauty of illustrations.
On some pages of the book, the exquisite illustrations explain a lot more than the paragraphs. I recommend you to read this mostly as a drawing diary. And since the font used in the book is similar to handwriting, it feels like reading a diary. If you like this kind of travel books, I think it may be a book that you will love. Even opening it and looking at its illustrations makes me happy. So, if you are interested in Japan, it may be a cute book to keep in the library. Enjoy!
A Year in Japan
The Land of the Rising Sun is shining brightly across the American cultural landscape. Recent films such as Lost in Translation and Memoirs of a Geisha seem to have made everyone an expert on Japan, even if they’ve never been there. But the only way for a Westerner to get to know the real Japan is to become a part of it. Kate T. Williamson did just that, spending a year experiencing, studying, and reflecting on her adopted home. She brings her keen observations to us in A Year in Japan, a dramatically different look at a delightfully different way of life.
Avoiding the usual clichés – Japan’s polite society, its unusual fashion trends, its crowded subways – Williamson focuses on some lesser-known aspects of the country and culture. In stunning watercolours and piquant texts, she explains the terms used to order various amounts of tofu, the electric rugs found in many Japanese homes, and how to distinguish a maiko from a geisha.
She observes sumo wrestlers in traditional garb as they use ATMs, the wonders of Santaful World” at a Kyoto department store, and the temple carpenters who spend each Sunday dancing to rockabilly. A Year in Japan is a colourful journey to the beauty, poetry, and quirkiness of modern Japan, a book not just to look at but to experience.”
Kate T. Williamson
Kate T. Williamson is a writer and illustrator who studied ﬁlmmaking at Harvard University. Her love of travel and interest in sock design, along with a postgraduate fellowship, took her to Kyoto. She lives in New York City.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: