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Seeing Japan    by Charles Whipple order for
Seeing Japan
by Charles Whipple
Order:  USA  Can
Kodansha International, 2005 (2005)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Ayesha Baumgartner

Seeing Japan is a gorgeous and comprehensive book on Japan's main attractions, that is sure to please your senses. From beautiful photos of sights, capturing the country's essence and colors, to text guiding you to Japan's marvels, you will see a fascinating country rich in color, spirit, history, culture and traditions. The Foreword to this lovely volume is written by Former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa.

From the cover moonlit photo of Mount Fuji to the brilliance of autumn maples or a lovely bamboo forest reaching to the sun, the photos are spectacular. Sections of the book cover the different regions of the country, Iconic Japan (art and theater; tea, flowers and bonsai; martial arts; food; home; anime and high-tech) and Japan Today. Seeing Japan is everything it promises, covering all the attractions to discover in the country, from its skyscrapers, ceramics and paintings to Kabuki plays and the Noh, the oldest professional theater in the world. From breathtaking full page photos of Japan's national parks, lacquer, rice fields, sake and its traditional sweets, festivals and cherry blossoms, the book captures the beauty of Japan's landscapes, its culture, rich history, its essence of simplicity, aesthetically pleasing traditions, and the blessings of nature.

Learn about castles where the Shogun resided. Marvel at architecture and gardens, Shinto shrines and numerous temples. Look to the future and delight in Japan's high-tech and animation, its robotics, bullet train and advanced gadgets that are admired throughout the world. Excite in traditional sports such as Sumo wrestling and other popular martial arts. Then relax as you learn about the Tea ceremony and its association with Zen Buddhism, or the practice of Ikebana, a unique form of flower arranging that unifies humanity and nature. The importance of art and aesthetics dating back to its historical past affirms Japan's spirit of simplicity, and the self-sufficiency of the Japanese people. The philosophy of the simple life, the care of Japanese identity and their deep appreciation for beauty and nature adds to their richness in spirit.

Whether you are planning a trip to Japan and are experiencing its abundant culture for the first time, or would like to savor memories of precious visits to the country, the book captures all that Japan offers in experience. From gorgeous photos and changing seasons captured with full intensity and simplicity, to visually pleasing images of landscapes and traditional foods, all delight the senses. This is a fantastic companion and guide to the best attractions, for the traveller who wishes to discover Japan for the first time, and perhaps several times after that. It's a true gem, a must-have for the traveller, for anyone planning to live in Japan or to reminisce about a visit to the country. Having lived in Japan, I found this unique book the best I have encountered on what to see in Japan and on the country's essence.

Seeing Japan will guide you to a most memorable and eventful trip. You will learn about history while discovering a fascinating culture and country. Visit the top spots with this book, or use it as a guide when planning a trip. Those who have been to Japan will long to go back. As the author says, 'Japan is here to see and enjoy, the modern and the historical alike ... I still find something new every day ... and realize I have just begun to learn the art of seeing Japan.' Information at the back covers geography and history, language and education, mass media and family (which is at the heart of Japanese society). Enjoy spectacular photos of Mount Fuji, bamboo forests and simple yet vivid photos of gardens, art, and all that makes a visit to the country enticing. Seeing Japan is sure to delight!

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