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Interested in Japanese culture but discouraged by purely touristic or academic accounts? Japanese Summer invites the reader on a unique three-month journey through urban, rural, and hidden Japan. In contrast to a lengthy survey, this deft memoir offers a collection of vignettes in journal form. Those drawn to the arts and humanities will appreciate the contemplative tone and vivid descriptions. Informative passages touch on language, customs, and aesthetics while pertinent philosophical interludes address the paradoxes of culture in general. On a more personal note, Japanese Summer also documents a fleeting period of young adulthood. The perception of mono no aware or "the sadness of things" emerges as a memorable season comes to pass. Themes of intimacy and alienation explored during the mid-nineties remain fresh if not more relevant today.

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