Books For You | Pico Iyer’s A Beginner’s Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations

Editor | Non-fiction
From the acclaimed author of The Art of Stillness, Pico Iyer, ‘arguably the greatest living travel writer’ (Outside), comes a playful and surreptitiously profound guide to the deeply foreign and familiar Japan that he calls home.
Pico Iyer has been living in Kyoto for more than thirty-two years, but he admits at the outset of this book that he sometimes feels that he knows less now than when he arrived.
In the constantly surprising pages that follow, he shows us how an evening with Meryl Streep, a walk through a ghostly deer park, even a call to the local Apple service centre, can open up his adopted home in fresh and invigorating ways.
Why does anime make sense in an animist culture?
How might Oscar Wilde reveal a culture too often associated with conformity?
How can Japanese friends in a typical neighbourhood turn every stereotype on its head?
His provocations may infuriate you—Iyer confesses in his opening salvo, but maybe it’s only by setting its love hotels next to its baseball stadiums, its wild fashions against its eighth-century values, that Japan can be made new again for both the first-time visitor and the jaded foreign resident.

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