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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Two complementary books set in Japan

We are very lucky to to have great people who introduce us to books that perhaps we wouldn't come across in everyday life. The Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynd is without doubt a real find! Here, we bring together two fabulous books that superbly describe Japan in the earlier part of the 20th century, each featuring a very determined woman, who struggles to find her position in contemporary society. Both books, we have to say, are firmly in our Top 20! Beautiful style, evocative of locale....need we say more? A young woman travels from Edinburgh to Peking in the early 20th century, and writes about her experiences in diary form. She is trapped in a loveless marriage to a stiff and conventional man, falls in love with a Japanese warrior and pays dearly for that passion. It is then that Mary's real journey begins, as she courageously starts to forge a new life for herself in Tokyo, just as Japan is witnessing the first rumblings of the industrial powerhouse it was to become. Just a wonderful book! Chiyo-chan is a nine year old girl from a small fishing village,who has experienced a simple life until her Mother becomes fatally ill. She is sent by her Father to Gion, one of the Geisha areas of districts of Kyoto. She grows into the most stunning Geisha Sayuri and this is her story beautifully told. There are references, too, to actual places frequented by geisha and their patrons, such as the Ichiriki Ochaya, and brings the life of a Geisha of Gion to life (and if you are fortunate you can still catch a glimpse of a traditional 'Geisha' in the alleys of Gion in Kyoto)

If you feel inspired to read a couple of books set in, and about Tokyo, then take a look at this past blog - these book choices are designed to help you get a new and inspired perspective and to see a location through an author's eyes. There are many more books "set in" on our website: - do drop by.

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