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

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9781568361482: Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan (Kodansha Globe)

A VIBRANT, MEDITATIVE WALK IN SEARCH OF THE SOUL OF JAPAN
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 more significant, it is the self-portrait of one man, Alan Booth, exquisitely painted in the twilight of his own life.

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From the Back Cover:

In his final work Alan Booth takes us on a fascinating journey by foot through three remote regions of Japan to search for the country's geographic and spiritual heart - and for the elusive connections between present and past, self and society. Looking for the Lost is a beautifully written, opinionated, and entertaining look at the life and slow death of a culture, and a poignant self-portrait of a writer also nearing death. Booth's journeys begin in the far north, in the homeland of modern Japan's most famous outcast, the decadent novelist Osamu Dazai. His often hilarious encounters in the towns along the lonely, underdeveloped coast where Dazai grew up reveal a region caught between change and tradition, where the effects of Japan's economic miracle are only now being felt. Booth then explores the tangled wilds of southern Kyushu - the battlegrounds where Saigo Takamori, one of Japan's most-loved tragic heroes, led his small rebel army in a futile last stand against overwhelming government forces in 1877. Finally he turns to the mountains and rivers in central Japan where the Heike clan, defeated by the Genji in the epochal twelfth-century civil war, were said to have dispersed. The bloody fall of the Heike marked the decline of refined court culture, an aristocratic golden age that Japan still clings to, however tenuously, in a time of love hotels, tourist traps, and industrial sprawl.

About the Author:

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. His books include The Roads to Sata.

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