Japanese culture and society, Japanese thinking, philosophy and arts have been subjects of fascination in the west for over 500 years, so it is surprising to encounter a new writer with fresh views and insights on these subjects.
“Japan Dreams” begins straightforwardly enough; a man flies into Tokyo and experiences the new of Japan for the first time. He’s fascinated by the electronics, the vending machines, the frank approaches of women, and the pressure to conform which even he feels. But as Peters travels around the country, trying to make sense of what he sees and the people he meets, a subtle shift takes place in the narrative and, without giving away too much of the ending, it is finally Peters himself that is the subject.
And there is actually nothing unusual about this; many of us travel to learn more about ourselves. It might even be said that unless we achieve that, travel is a waste of time. What is different about “Japan Dreams” is the depth and honesty of Peters’s final introspections, and the way he constantly draws lines between what is ‘out there’ in Japan, and what he himself thinks and feels.
Peters describes “Japan Dreams” as an encounter between an individual and a country, and that is exactly what it is. Along the way we learn many fascinating and hard-to-believe facts about this most idiosyncratic of cultures, all the time seeming to sink deeper into a Japanese dream, ever further removed from our own familiar reality. And, in the end, that most central of all questions ‘what is real?’ hangs like an apparition before us. Whether “Japan Dreams” achieves the same cult status as “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”
“Japan Dreams” is now available from Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle formats: http://www.amazon.com/
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Mark Peters was born in Sydney in 1957 and has travelled to over forty countries. He has worked as a painter, musician, entrepreneur, businessman, consultant, designer, and researcher in artificial intelligence. He visited Japan many times over several years, and has travelled to all parts of the country. He speaks enough Japanese to significantly increase confusion.