Book Reviews

Kaizen: The Japanese Method Of Transforming Habits One Small Step At A Time Review: Insightful And Resonant

Kaizen by Sarah Harvey is an insightful and resonant self-help book.


In recent years, Japanese philosophy has had a profound effect on the West. Practices such as ikigai and yugen have become popular for developing a positive mental health routine. Yet one of the earliest Japanese practices to take off in the West happened to be an amalgamation of both cultures called kaizen.

A Japanese noun for ‘improvement,’ kaizen is all about making continuous change throughout life. In Kaizen: The Japanese Method Of Transforming Habits One Small Step at a Time, Sarah Harvey explores the practice in great detail. But rather than just being a typical self-help book, Harvey goes deeper by examining the history of kaizen and introducing psychological theory as well. Continue reading “Kaizen: The Japanese Method Of Transforming Habits One Small Step At A Time Review: Insightful And Resonant”

Book Reviews

South Of The Border, West Of The Sun Review: A Dream-Like And Radiant Love Story

South Of The Border, West Of The Sun book review.

Haruki Murakami is arguably the most well-known Japanese author in the west.  His unique writing style has captured the attention of readers all over the world and one of his most memorable books is South Of The Border, West Of The Sun.

Focusing on the relationship between two childhood friends who reconnect in their thirties, South Of The Border, West Of The Sun contains all the classic tropes of a Murakami novel.  There’s jazz, joy, heartbreak and the indomitable willpower of the human spirit to go after what it yearns for. Continue reading “South Of The Border, West Of The Sun Review: A Dream-Like And Radiant Love Story”

Book Reviews

The Power Of Chowa Review: Soulful, Honest And Relatable

The pursuit of finding balance is a life-long goal that’s forever changing. Everyone has different perspectives on what they need to find peace, whether it’s through spending time with friends, or going for a long walk. Author Akemi Tanaka believes the best way to find balance is with chowa, the Japanese concept of harmony.

In her book, The Power Of Chowa, Tanaka tells the story of her life and pulls back the curtain on what it means to walk your own path in Japanese culture. Soulful, honest and powerful, The Power Of Chowa is a book that’s worth reading. Continue reading “The Power Of Chowa Review: Soulful, Honest And Relatable”

Book Reviews

Sixty-Nine Review: A Nostalgic Novel That Celebrates The Endless Possibilities Of Youth

Ryu Murakami is one of Japan’s most famous authors. His work is often characterised by shocking violence and off the wall themes, as seen from hits like In the Miso Soup and Audition. But even the enfant terrible of contemporary Japanese literature doesn’t have to be defined by one type of genre. Murakami is just as capable of writing a story that’s relatable and deeply personal like Sixty-Nine. Continue reading “Sixty-Nine Review: A Nostalgic Novel That Celebrates The Endless Possibilities Of Youth”

Book Reviews

Tokyo Vice Review: A Gripping Tale Of The Yakuza And Japan’s Criminal Underworld

 There’s a romantic side to Japan that’s easy to get swept up in. It’s great to appreciate cherry blossoms, good food and samurai. But there’s also a dark side to the country. Human trafficking, prostitution and ruthless crime families and are all harsh realities that people deal with everyday in Japan.

Much of the corruption is attributed to the yakuza and the role they have in Japanese society. Tokyo Vice, written by Jake Adelstein, gives real insight into the world of the yakuza and Japan’s criminal underbelly. Provocative and gripping, Tokyo Vice is a worthy addition to any Japanophile’s book shelf. Continue reading “Tokyo Vice Review: A Gripping Tale Of The Yakuza And Japan’s Criminal Underworld”

Book Reviews

Japonisme Review: An Inspiring Book That Is Dedicated Towards Promoting Positive Mental Health

Looking after your mental health is important, especially in a fast-paced world that is driven by digital experiences. While everyone has their own mental health coping techniques, it’s good to examine different cultures and gain an appreciation for their practices. Japan has a rich tradition of self-improvement concepts, such as ikigai, which is all about finding a purpose.

Erin Niimi Longhurst’s Japonisme provides insight into the rationale behind ikigai and other Japanese self-improvement techniques. By detailing her own experiences through the lens of her heritage, Longhurst has written a fascinating book that is inspiring from a mental health perspective. Continue reading “Japonisme Review: An Inspiring Book That Is Dedicated Towards Promoting Positive Mental Health”

Book Reviews

Audition Review: Hell Hath No Fury Like A Crazy Woman Scorned

As an author, Ryu Murakami specialises in presenting Japan in a way that few other writers do. His stories combine the seedy underbelly of Japan with the darker side of human nature. One of his most famous works, Audition, became so popular that it was adapted into a film. The novel is a brutal exploration into the psyche of a scorned woman and the hell she can unleash on the men who have wronged her. Continue reading “Audition Review: Hell Hath No Fury Like A Crazy Woman Scorned”

Pop Culture and Japan

What Are The Differences Between Haruki And Ryu Murakami?

Japan has a reputation for producing authors that bring their own unique style to the writing world. From Kazuo Ishiguro to Ohba Minako, there are various Japanese authors who’ve created important legacies. Two other Japanese authors who need to be mentioned are Haruki Murakami and Ryu Murakami.

There are many similarities between the two men. Both have achieved worldwide acclaim, with their novels becoming extremely popular among western audiences. Japan is a crucial theme in their work, with both authors using the country as a backdrop for political, economic and social themes. So, how do Haruki and Ryu differ from each other? Continue reading “What Are The Differences Between Haruki And Ryu Murakami?”

Book Reviews

Sake Confidential Review: A Phenomenal Guide For Novices And Experts Alike

sake confidential review

When it comes to Japanese drinks, sake is perhaps the most recognised alcohol. As simple as it is complex, sake is a beverage of many contradictions, and I didn’t realise how truly interesting the subject was until I picked up John Gauntner’s Sake Confidental: A beyond-the-basics guide to understanding tasting, selection and enjoyment.

Known as the ‘Sake Guy,’ Gauntner is the world’s leading non-Japanese sake educator, and his book is an amazing guide to sake novices (like me), and experts alike. Filled with informative facts and witty anecdotes, this book should be read by anyone who has even a passing interest in Japan. Continue reading “Sake Confidential Review: A Phenomenal Guide For Novices And Experts Alike”