I just finished reading a trio of (loosely) Japan related books.
First up was David Mas Masumoto's Four Seasons in Five Senses. Masumoto is an organic farmer in California's Central Valley and a terrific writer. The book is a series of essays that chronicle farming as much as living. He celebrates his history, his family, and the hard labor that produces his peaches and raisins. Reading the book is like taking a long walk with an articulate and philosophical friend. He writes lyrically of his Suncrest peaches and I'll be searching for them during peach season.
Ever the mystery fan, I read Sujata Massey's The Typhoon Lover. This is the latest in the Rei Shimura series. The books are fast paced. I enjoy mysteries with female heroines and Shimura is a nice balance of guts, anxiety, determination, and style. I've followed the series from the first book so picking up the sixth was a natural.
Finally, I read Karin Muller's Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa. This is a quick and easy read covering Muller's year off to find herself and a sense of balance and harmony in Japan. It is not a quick and easy process for her. She moves through a series of funny and touching experiences that ultimately give her good insight into the magic of place and a better sense of what she values.
My husband and I spent time studying in Japan as part of our grad school experiences. I still can't get enough of things Japanese.