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You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org
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Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan's Food Culture
by Matt Goulding
An innovative new take on the travel guide, Rice, Noodle, Fish decodes Japan's extraordinary food culture through a mix of in-depth narrative and insider advice, along with 195 color photographs. In this 5000-mile journey through the noodle shops, tempura temples, and teahouses of Japan, Matt Goulding, co-creator of the enormously popular Eat This, Not That! book series, navigates the intersection between food, history, and culture, creating one of the most ambitious and complete books ever written about Japanese culinary culture from the Western perspective.
Cool Japan Guide: Fun in the Land of Manga, Lucky Cats and Ramen
by Abby Denson
Traveling to Japan has never been so much fun - visit the land of anime, manga, cosplay, hot springs and sushi! This graphic Japan travel guide is the first of its kind exploring Japanese culture from a cartoonist's perspective.
You Gotta Have Wa
by Robert Whiting
A hilarious, yet informative, account of Japanese baseball and the cultural clashes that ensued when Americans began playing there professionally.
by John Hersey
First published in 1946, this recounts the events of August 6, 1945 through the observations of survivors.
The Tales of the Heike
by Burton Watson (translator) & Haruo Shirane (editor)
The Tales of the Heike is one of the most influential works in Japanese literature and culture, remaining even today a crucial source for fiction, drama, and popular media. Originally written in the mid-thirteenth century, it features a cast of vivid characters and chronicles the epic Genpei war, a civil conflict that marked the end of the power of the Heike and changed the course of Japanese history.
Super Sushi Ramen Express: A Culinary Adventure Through Japan
by Michael Booth
A fascinating and funny culinary journey through Japan. Japan is arguably the preeminent food nation on earth; it's a mecca for the world's greatest chefs and has more Michelin stars than any other country. The Japanese go to extraordinary lengths and expense to eat food that is marked both by its exquisite preparation and exotic content. Their creativity, dedication, and courage in the face of dishes such as cod sperm and octopus ice cream are only now beginning to be fully appreciated in the sushi- and ramen-saturated West, as are the remarkable health benefits of the traditional Japanese diet.
by Banana Yoshimoto
The first novel of one of Japan's contemporary literary stars to be translated in to English.
Japan: A Guide of Japan for Teenagers
by Constance Noziere
Upon arrival in Japan, one inevitably undergoes culture shock. The Japanese way of life is so unique that it appears incomprehensible. Foreigners, or "gaijins" as they are commonly referred to, are initially disoriented and mystified. The author has written this travel guide to help teenagers discover Japan and decipher its inhabitants' customs and habits.
Diary of a Tokyo Teen: A Japanese-American Girl Travels to the Land of Trendy Fashion, High-Tech Toilets and Maid Cafes
by Christine Mari Inzer
A book for comic lovers and Japanophiles of all ages, Diary of a Tokyo Teen presents a unique look at modern-day Japan through a young woman's eyes.
Culture Smart! Japan
by Paul Norbury
A quick guide to the customs and etiquette of Japan.
A Traveller's History of Japan
by Richard Tames
A history of Japan and its transformation from Shinto, Shogun and Samurai traditions to 20th-century powerhouse.
A Geek in Japan Revised and Expanded: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony
by Hector Garcia
Created specifically for fans of Japanese cool culture, A Geek in Japan is one of the most iconic, hip, and concise cultural guides available. Reinvented for the internet age, it is packed with personal essays and hundreds of photographs and presents all the touchstones of traditional and contemporary culture in an entirely new way.
The Tale of Genji
by Murasaki Shikibu
Completed in the early 11th century, Genji Monogatari is considered a masterpiece of Japanese prose literature, and one of the world's earliest novels. Although its exact origins remain elusive, it is believed that the female author spent many years in service to the royal family of the time.