Books to read before visiting Japan

Revenge

Revenge

Yoko Ogawa, Stephen Snyder

A woman goes into a bakery to buy a strawberry cream tart. The place is immaculate but there is no one serving so she waits. Another customer comes in. The woman tells the new arrival that she is buying her son a treat for his...

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After the Quake

After the Quake

Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin

For the characters in after the quake, the Kobe earthquake is an echo from a past they buried long ago. Satsuki has spent thirty years hating one man: did her desire for revenge cause the earthquake? 'When he gets angry, he causes...

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 Read reviewStrange Weather in Tokyo

Strange Weather in Tokyo

Hiromi Kawakami, Allison Markin Powell

An award-winning novel from one of Japan's most exciting literary voices: a short, simple and touching story of an unlikely love that blossoms across generations, and between seasons

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The Guest Cat

The Guest Cat

Takashi Hiraide, Eric Selland

An international bestseller. A charming and wonderful novel about a cat that brings joy into a couple's life

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 Special priceParade

Parade

Shuichi Yoshida

Four twenty-somethings share an apartment in Tokyo. In this title, each tells their story: their lives, their hopes and fears, their loves, their secrets. It includes: Kotomi waits by the phone for a boyfriend who never calls;...

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Spring Snow

Spring Snow

Yukio Mishima

The closed world of the ancient aristocracy is being breached for the first time by outsiders - rich provincial families, a new and powerful political and social elite.Kiyoaki has been raised among the elegant Ayakura family -...

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An Artist of the Floating World

An Artist of the Floating World

Kazuo Ishiguro

It is 1948. Japan is rebuilding her cities after the calamity of World War Two, her people putting defeat behind them and looking to the future. The celebrated artist, Masuji Ono, fills his days attending to his garden, his house...

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In The Miso Soup

In The Miso Soup

Ryu Murakami, Ralph F. McCarthy

It's just before New Year, and Frank, an overweight American tourist, has hired Kenji to take him on a guided tour of Tokyo's nightlife. But, Frank's behaviour is so odd that Kenji begins to entertain a horrible suspicion: his...

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People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo--And the Evil That Swallowed Her Up

People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo–And the Evil That Swallowed Her Up

Richard Lloyd Parry, Parry, Richard

In 2000, a tall, blonde, 21-year-old went missing in Tokyo, and her remains were found several months later. Questions arose about her friendships, her career, and her intentions.

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The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches

The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches

Matsuo Basho, Nobuyuki Yuasa

Presents travel writings which chronicle the author's perilous journeys through Japan and also capture his vision of eternity in the transient world around him.

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Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha

Arthur Golden

Summoning up more than 20 years of Japan's most dramatic history, the geisha's story uncovers a hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation. It moves from a small fishing village in 1929 to the...

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Riding The Trains In Japan

Riding The Trains In Japan

Patrick Holland

Arriving late in Kyoto Patrick Holland cannot find a room for the night. Homeless and disorientated and in a place where loitering is not encouraged his only solution is to ride the trains. The train journey becomes a thread...

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Snow Country

Snow Country

Yasunari Kawabata, Edward G. Seidensticker

Shimamura is tired of the bustling city. He takes the train through the snow to the mountains of the west coast of Japan, to meet with a geisha he believes he loves.

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I am a Cat

I am a Cat

Soseki Natsume, Aiko Ito

Written over the course of 1904-6, Soseki's comic masterpiece, I Am a Cat satirizes the follies of upper-middle-class Japanese society during the Meiji era. With acerbic wit and sardonic perspective, it follows the whimsical...

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