From Library Journal
In the nooks and crannies of fast-paced contemporary Japan, an older way of life barely survives in remote rural communities. In the mid-1990s, British author Ritchie and his Japanese wife sojourned for more than two years in Sora, a fishing and farming village on the Japan Sea coast peopled mostly by the elderly. Through his own rambles around the countryside and conversations with his neighbors, whose foibles and idiosyncrasies he sketches sympathetically, Ritchie steeped himself in local customs, festivals, lore, and religious practices centered on Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. Although his book is filled with keen observation and fascinating detail, it is not an anthropologist's village studyAit is a Buddhist meditation, an elegy. In tones of gentle reproof, Ritchie laments the imminent loss of a holistic way of life that connected community and cosmos. This beautiful book belongs in public and academic libraries.ASteven I. Levine, Univ. of Montana, Missoula
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