All about Japan

I’ve been meaning to give several title to this blog and write accordingly. Then I kept changing my mind for the better. But let’s see all the concepts I’ve been meaning to write about with the assistance of my cat and a pretty shaky mouse making it hard to navitage anywhere.

Now let me place a nice pic of Japan, to keep all you guys interested in reading more 🙂

Tokyo Asia Shrine Lanterns Japan Temple Night

 

Blogs about Japan

First of all, I wanted to introduce you with a good number of interesting blogs about Japan. But I failed big time. I believe blogging is getting into a tricky situation. While about 10 years ago everyone, with or without any particular writing skills, style or sense of humor felt like writing a blog is a cool idea, most of these blogs are now left behind. With the emerge of youtube and video culture, I feel one must write REALLY REALLY well in order to be read anytime soon. I’ve seen several awful, boring, unentertaining blogs about Japan.

They looked terrible and I felt bored after spending a minute on these sites. There is really only ONE GOOD, WILDLY ENTERTAINING blog I want everyone to read about Japan and that’s Ken Seeroi’s Japaneseruleof7. If you read this blog, you will REALLY learn about Japan, while continuously being entertained the whole time. Ken doesn’t give a damn about the look of his blog but to my amazement he still keeps posting in there from time to time which is lovely news for all those who like to learn and have fun in the same time.

And basically that’s it. I’ve seen blogs so full of photos meaningless to me, I ’ve seen mummy blogs of bored moms living in Japan and I’ve seen blogs which are not active any longer. So, youtube it is!  I ’m planning to introduce you to a couple of quality websites about Japan. But you must understand the concept of heavy sugarcoating and keeping secrets. Japanese will never be absolutely honest about their own culture or country while in the same time, there are very few non-Japanese writers who write well and honestly and tells us more than the small bubble they are living in. So, if you want to learn about Japan, you will need to check various resources.

Books about Japan

Now, one may thing the logical choice of learning about a country is to read books from its authors.  But let me get this clear: if you are not a particularly depressed, conflicted soul, if you don’t plan to commit suicide anytime soon and just want to have PLAIN GOOD FUN, then please don’t get anywhere near japanese literature. They are full of pain, guil and the heavy need to conceal all feelings. Well, basically that’s what Japan is all about, but hey, when it comes to reading I really believe we should have fun and be entertained. So, let me introduce you to some of the books which made me a fan of Japan. In the end I will also try to post some which are REALLY worth reading. Well, most of the others are trash but hey, at least they are fun to read.

Eric Van Lustbader’s Ninja series

ninja

These books are for the ever romantics looking for an adventure. When I started to read these books, I really felt the window open for me to gain some insight on the real spirit of Japan. Well, I was around 18 or so, so it’s really no wonder. When I started to read his books, I didn’t yet know that Mr. Van Lustbader has managed to become one the most popular con -artists in the US and he managed to fool many people. BUT he is a pretty good writer! In a nutshell these ninja series consist of several books all following the adventures of a half Japanese guy who is like the Ninja superman. His name is Nicholas Linnear, he is dead rich and somehow gets secretly inducted in the best ninja schools of Japan. I could learn a lot about the basics of Shinto, Zen, Buddhism and Japanese culture overall ( not to mention ninjas) while reading about this guy’s adventures. I ’ m not sure I would be entertained now, but these books were the start of me becoming a sort of a fan of Japan.

Leonard Schrader: Yakuza

Yakuza

I’m amazed I found this book on Amazon as it’s a really old one. As a note, we can see editors are amazed by the Japanese swords AND cherry blossoms ( window to the Japanese soul)  and so there ain’t no book cover without sword or cherry blossoms.

This is another fun book which was written pretty long ago. It introduces us to the secret world of Yakuza which most Japanese people don’t know anything about. Yeah, it’s trash in the eyes of „deep literature” fans. But it’s entertaining as hell.

Now, let me put one thing clear especially for those romantic souls like me, who started to learn about Japan through martial arts: most Japanese people have absolutely no clue about ninjas, yakuza ( even if they did they would never tell you) or martial arts. Just to save you some time and not get disappointed.

Will Ferguson: Hokkaido Highway Blues / Hitching rides with Buddha

HHB

 

This is the latest book I’ve managed to read about Japan. It has two titles because it’s been recently re-titled. I’ ve finished it just a few weeks ago and I wished it was longer. If you want to learn abot Japan, about the people about the countryside then this is the book where you should get started. It’s wildly funny, entertaining and so true. Unfortunately this is the only book Mr. Ferguson wrote about Japan, as he decided not to live in there any longer, but this book is a treasure. I couldn’t stop reading it. Although it’s not a very new book (1998) all things which are written in there are still valid today. Contrary to most information after the huge development Japan has managed to pull off in the Eighties it has literally stopped in the Nineties. Therefore most things wich existed then pretty much keep on existing in the same way or form today. I really suggest everyone who likes fun and quality books and learn in the same time, to read this book on the first place. I’m not writing about the main storyline – you may have guessed it from the title anyways.

There are several good books about Japan which I don’t know about, I’m pretty sure of that. So please let me know which books or blogs you liked reading, where you feel you ought to go back and read it again, just for the heck of it.