A Year in Japan
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2007
A year in Japan is a beautifully written, illustrated diary book documenting the experience of an American art student in Japan.

It's organized around vignettes following no particular order, faithful to the experience of what it's like to visit and learn about an alien culture - winding back and forth from food presentations to clothing designs, back to food presentations, on to meeting Sumo wrestlers...

The illustrations are crisp, detailed watercolors that manage to bring together ceremonial with kitsch, solemnity with light-heartedness. Everyone I've shown the book to has been fascinated by them. I highly, LOUDLY recommend this to anyone interested in Japan, cross-cultural encounters or just contemplating beautiful watercolors.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2007
A Year in Japan is full of small, beautiful (and sometimes very amusing), observations about daily life in Japan. It does not aim to be a guide book or a history of Japan. Instead, it is a beautifully illustrated look at some of the things which make Japan so interesting to outsiders--from soy sauce containers shaped like little fish to sumo wrestlers and bento boxes. I've shown this book to people who know Japan well, and people who know nothing about it, and they've all been charmed by Ms. Williamson's drawings and wit.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2007
I purchased this based on reviews and the fact that I'm fascinated by Japanese culture. It's a jewel of a book - the illustrations are beautiful and I was really suprised as the quality of the text. It's as if a good friend came back from her travels and shared wonderful stories of her time spent in Japan. It's also a lovely book if you like using art journals as inspiration for your creative pursuits, plus it would make a great gift.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Not only does Kate Williamson notice all the quirky kinds of details I really want people to notice when they visit a place (the way apples are packaged, what women wear to see a musical, candy wrappers, etc.) she draws these details in such a wonderful, whimsical, simple and beautiful way, I find myself wanting to take the book with me wherever I go. I very much hope that another book of Kate's drawings will appear someday soon!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2009
Like Williamson's other book "At a Crossroads," this book is also stylishly illustrated and personal. The author definitely has an eye for details and has made astute observations about a foreign culture. It's an enjoyable, pictorial journal of one's post-college travel. A pleasant read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2009
This is an amazing book. I lived in Japan for two years, and this book gave my family a feeling for why I loved spending time in Japan so much. She finds fascinating little details of the culture, which she illustrates in nice watercolors and writes about.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2006
i like that this book has a japanese sensibility, yet is clearly created with the fresh eye of an outsider. very subtle, elegant, clean, beautiful and with interesting visual and cultural details.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2007
As a child, I always had the fantasy of digging a hole all the way through to the other side of the world and taking a peek at life there. This book allows me to relive this fantasy. It is truly a gem and a breath of fresh air. As a kind of picture book for adults, it is filled with wonderful illustrations and interesting tidbits on life in Japan. It is a very relaxing book and a pure joy to read. Even though this book can be read in one sitting, I felt like I had traveled to Japan and back. Williamson does an outstanding job in presenting Japanese life, traditions, and culture.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2007
This book is exquisite! I highly recommend it for anyone interested in Japan, art or travel journals. Though it does not provide maps, train schedules, or restaurant recommendations, the reader will be left with a very vivid and idiosyncratic impression of a most fascinating (and aesthetically fertile) culture. Ms. Williamson's observations are keen and wry - her paintings lovely. This book is the perfect gift.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2008
A book full of fun and humor by Kate T. Willamson is just the thing I needed to relax this past week. With colorful images and interesting observations she brings a small piece of Japan for the readers to enjoy. Socks, blossoms, food and people are all subjects of interest to the author as she traveled about Japan for a year. Just have to wonder about her footwear fetish.
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