Novel set mainly in Pisa
GIVEAWAY: it’s all about JAPAN
1st August 2021
Giveaway: it’s all about Japan.
With the Olympic Games 2020 in full swing, we thought you would love to dive into the culture of Japan with some top reads. We have chosen three great books to help you get under the skin of the country and they are accompanied by a Wimono, which is (can anyone guess?)…… a kimono for a wine bottle. It’s gorgeous, you never knew you needed one but you do now!
The Cat and the City by Nick Bradley
In Tokyo – one of the world’s largest megacities – a stray cat is wending her way through the back alleys. And, with each detour, she brushes up against the seemingly disparate lives of the city-dwellers, connecting them in unexpected ways.
But the city is changing. As it does, it pushes her to the margins where she chances upon a series of apparent strangers – from a homeless man squatting in an abandoned hotel, to a shut-in hermit afraid to leave his house, to a convenience store worker searching for love. The cat orbits Tokyo’s denizens, drawing them ever closer.
The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann. TR Jen Calleja
When Gilbert Silvester wakes one day from a dream that his wife has cheated on him, he flees – immediately, irrationally, inexplicably – for Japan.
In Tokyo he discovers the travel writings of the great Japanese poet Basho. Suddenly, from Gilbert’s directionless crisis there emerges a purpose: a pilgrimage in the footsteps of the poet to see the moon rise over the pine islands of Matsushima.
Along the way he falls into step with another pilgrim: Yosa, a young Japanese student clutching a copy of The Complete Manual of Suicide. Together, Gilbert and Yosa travel across Basho’s disappearing Japan, one in search of his perfect ending and the other a new beginning.
Serene, playful and profound, The Pine Islands is a story of the transformations we seek and the ones we find along the way.
Pure Invention by Matt Alt
The Walkman. Karaoke. Pikachu. Pac-Man. Akira. Emoji. We’ve all fallen in love with one or another of Japan’s pop-culture creations, from the techy to the wild to the super-kawaii. But as Japanese-media veteran Matt Alt proves in this brilliant investigation of Tokyo’s pop-fantasy complex, we don’t know the half of it.
Japan’s toys, gadgets, and fantasy worlds didn’t merely entertain. They profoundly transformed the way we live. In the 1970s and ’80s, Japan seemed to exist in some near future, soaring on the superior technology of Sony and Toyota while the West struggled to catch up. Then a catastrophic 1990 stock-market crash ushered in the ‘lost decades’ of deep recession and social dysfunction.
The end of the boom times should have plunged Japan into irrelevance, but that’s precisely when its cultural clout soared – when, once again, Japan got to the future a little ahead of the rest of us. Hello Kitty, the Nintendo Entertainment System, and multimedia empires like Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z were more than marketing hits. Artfully packaged, dangerously cute, and dizzyingly fun, these products made Japan the forge of the world’s fantasies, and gave us new tools for coping with trying times. They also transformed us as we consumed them – connecting as well as isolating us in new ways, opening vistas of imagination and pathways to revolution.
Through the stories of an indelible group of artists, geniuses, and oddballs, Pure Invention reveals how Japanese ingenuity remade global culture and may have created modern life as we know it. It’s Japan’s world; we’re just gaming, texting, singing, and dreaming in it.
HOW TO ENTER
This is UK entry only.
First: you must be a member of TripFiction. You can join by scrolling down on the homepage until you come to the JOIN NOW tab. We do check!
Second: tell us in the Comments below what you have enjoyed most about the Olympic Games. Do this by midnight, 14th August 2021 and the first name chosen at random will be sent this wonderful package! Good luck.
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