Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Year in Japan

A Year in Japan
by Kate T. Williamson
2006, Princeton Architectural Press

The Japanese Literature Challenge 4 is underway and, while this lovely graphic travel memoir may not officially qualify, it has served as the perfect warm-up! The charming watercolors and journal-like essays touch upon so many aspects of everyday life in Japan. Through entries like KEITAI (cell phones), MOON VIEWING, KARAOKE: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, and FUNKY MONKEY BABY, I learned interesting bits of Japanese culture. Who knew there was such a thing as an electric rug?

Williams also talks about...

the food,


sumo wrestlers,

and the incredibly elegant Japanese taxis.

An hour spent with this gorgeous little book will surely motivate you to pick up one of those Japanese novels waiting on your shelf!

FTC disclosure: I bought this book from amazon. Unfortunately, my library system does not own a copy.


  1. I absolutely loved this one too. I spent a summer in Japan so it was nice to revisit it a bit through this book!

  2. Beautiful! I read a graphic novel of hers last year; she's a great artist.

  3. What a lovely little book. The pictures are gorgeous.

  4. I loved this book...the watercolors were beautiful!

  5. This seems like a lovely way to ease into the challenge. I plunged in with a couple of psycho-thrillers. My library has hardly any Japanese literature at all, which is a great pity.

  6. Oh wow!!! This looks absolutely beautiful. I hope my library has this or something else by the author.

  7. The pictures from the book are so colorful and beautiful. I could use this introduction to get me going on the challenge. I checked my library and it doesn't carry the book either.

  8. What an awesome book (and review)! I've not heard of this, but I can tell that it would be of enormous importance to my huge gap in knowledge of the Japanese lifestyle. I want to know everything I can, and this looks like such a good place without actually going there. I suspect my husband would prefer the cost of this book on versus booking a flight. Unless he was on it, too. :) Thanks for telling me/us about it!

  9. This looks wonderful. The next best thing to being there...Love the taxi picture (are they really like that?). Thank you.

  10. How interesting!! How did you stumble upon this book?

  11. Staci - It was your review that convinced me to purchase this one! I think I first saw it on Eva's blog.

    Diane - This was a lot of fun! Can't wait to get started on the Makioka Sisters now.

    Marie - The artwork was spectacular! I'll definitely look for her other books - thanks for mentioning them.

    Vivienne - Every single page was gorgeous!

    Softdrink - I loved the watercolors! Will be on the lookout for her other books.

    Violet - This was exactly what I needed to get me interested in learning more about Japan

    Beth F - Hope you have better luck with your library than I did!

    Margot - My library carries very few graphic novels... it's a shame. This one is a work of art!

    Bellezza - There is a lot of current Japanese culture presented in this beautiful little book. After a weekend in New York, I especially loved seeing the taxis!

    DS - I wondered the same thing about those taxis, lol! This is certainly a beautiful book.

    Trish - I first read about this book on Eva's blog (maybe last year?) then Staci's review convinced me that I needed to buy it for myself.

  12. I love the beautiful illustrations. This would definitely be a push to read a Japanese author.

  13. Matt - The artwork is just beautiful. It is what drew me to the book!


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