Read The Roads to Sata: A 2000-Mile Walk through Japan by Alan Booth Free Online
Book Title: The Roads to Sata: A 2000-Mile Walk through Japan|
The author of the book: Alan Booth
Edition: Penguin Books
Date of issue: December 1st 1987
ISBN 13: 9780140095661
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 770 KB
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Reader ratings: 3.4
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When I first visited Japan twenty five years ago children would point at me and shout “Gaijin da! Gaijin da!” – “Look, a foreigner! A foreigner!”. If I walked round a Kyoto temple whole classes of middle school students would crowd around to have their picture taken and practice their English. I was just like a film star. Of course, I didn’t let it go to my head. Not in the slightest.
Well, 2015 is the first year Japan has seen a tourist surplus since the fifties; more people spent money visiting Japan than the Japanese spent travelling abroad. It’s been well over a decade since anyone pointed their finger at me and shouted “Gaijin da! Gaijin da”. I haven’t been refused entry to tiny backstreet bars nor praised for being able to use chopsticks so well for just as long. I’m just not special any more.
But when I feel nostalgic and want to return to the times when, as a foreigner in Japan, I was just that little bit out of the ordinary I can pick up Alan Booth’s outstanding travelogue recounting his trip walking the length of Japan back in the 1980s.
Free of references to cosplay, piccachu, AKB48 or kawaii things in general I can return to a more simple time, a time when, as Alan Booth relates, a fluent Japanese speaking foreigner used to be able to have long debates with hotel owners about whether or not they could speak Japanese; a time when a foreign guest would have to explain that they had lived in Japan for a decade, understood Japanese customs and manners and were able to digest fish, which was also widely available as a foodstuff outside Japan, before they could even think of getting a room.
These days Japanese hotel owners will let foreigners stay at their hotels regardless of how well they understand Japanese language, etiquette, culture or history simply in return for paying the bill. How things have changed and how I miss the old days.
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Read information about the authorAlan Booth was born in London in 1946 and traveled to Japan in 1970 to study Noh theater. He stayed, working as a writer and film critic, until his death from cancer in 1993.
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