Jun 1 2006
Donald Richie has been in Japan forever…well actually since the US occupation after the Pacific War (WWII). He has literally “been there and done that”. Donald is a preeminent authority on Japanese films, prolific author and “Gaikokujin at Large” in Japan.
The Japan Journals comprise his thoughts (diary) over the last 57 years or so and anyone who has spent anytime in Japan should enjoy most parts of this book. Personally, I found it a bit long, and some of the reference material a bit hard to understand…basically it’s a classic case of “you had to be there”. And while I don’t particularly identify with Donald, I appreciated the candidness in his journals and I really enjoyed the lack of b.s. in the Japan Journals. I did identify with certain points which are universal to any Gaikokujin (foreigner) in Japan and I found myself being able to visualize Donald’s journeys through the parts of Japan that I am familiar with, like Osaka. It is a long but good read and I would recommend it to anyone spending more than a year in Japan, anyone else would probably find it too far removed from their reality to understand enough to enjoy it.