LostJapan: Last Glimpse of Beautiful Japan Paperback by Alex Kerr
Lost Japan is a headfirst dive into Japan and its culture. Written by an American whose heart was captured by Japan from an early age and has spent his life getting to know it. So much so that the articles he assembled this book from were originally written in Japanese and translated from the Japanese not by Kerr but by another writer (Bodhi Fishman).
I think this is an important thing to notice about the book, that this is a book about Japan meant for the Japanese themselves. Its also semi-autobiographical telling the authors life through his discovery of Japan.
I believe Lost Japan has barely ever been out of print in English since it was published. It’s insightful, opinionated and hard to put down. Moreover if you read and liked In Praise of Shadows (Chapter two nods at the book), you will find a collection of articles in the same vein but perhaps more accessible and which brings our view of Japan a little more up to date to the beginning of the 2000’s.
So I recommend this book wholeheartedly see below for a few notes and some of the key ideas running through this book.