The Roads to Sata
‘A memorable, oddly beautiful book’ Wall Street Journal
‘A marvellous glimpse of the Japan that rarely peeks through the country’s public image’ Washington Post
One sunny spring morning in the 1970s, an unlikely Englishman set out on a pilgrimage that would take him across the entire length of Japan. Travelling only along small back roads, Alan Booth travelled on foot from Soya, the country’s northernmost tip, to Sata in the extreme south, traversing three islands and some 2,000 miles of rural Japan. His mission: ‘to come to grips with the business of living here,’ after having spent most of his adult life in Tokyo.
The Roads to Sata is a wry, witty, inimitable account of that prodigious trek, vividly revealing the reality of life in off-the-tourist-track Japan. Journeying alongside Booth, we encounter the wide variety of people who inhabit the Japanese countryside – from fishermen and soldiers, to bar hostesses and school teachers, to hermits, drunks and the homeless. We glimpse vast stretches of coastline and rambling townscapes, mountains and motorways; watch baseball games and sunrises; sample trout and Kilamanjaro beer, hear folklore, poems and smutty jokes. Throughout, we enjoy the wit and insight of a uniquely perceptive guide, and more importantly, discover a new face of an often-misunderstood nation.
Booth vividly evokes his 2,000-mile, 128-day journey on foot from Japan's northernmost point, Cape Soya in Hokkaido, to Cape Sata in the south. As he recounts his misadventures on this epic trek, he engagingly reveals the realities of off-the-tourist-track Japan. * National Geographic * 'One of the classic Japan travel books of the modern age ... a vivid but witty portrayal of rural Japan in the seventies, and the quirky characters who populated it' * Japan Times * [Booth] achieved an extraordinary understanding of life as it is lived by ordinary Japanese....Frequently brilliant in his insights * The New York Times * Fluent in the language, well-informed and disabused, [Booth] is in the fine tradition of hard-to-please travellers like Norman Douglas, Evelyn Waugh, and V.S. Naipaul. A sharp eye and a good memory for detail...give an astonishing immediacy to his account. * The Times Literary Supplement * 'A marvellous glimpse of the Japan that rarely peeks through the country's public image' * Washington Post * 'A memorable, oddly beautiful book' * Wall Street Journal * 'Illuminating' * Economist *
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