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”