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Walking in Circles: Finding Happiness in Lost Japan (Round Earth Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Wassel brings a bold new voice to travel writing. WALKING IN CIRCLES not only succeeds by immersing the reader in an experience few people get to have in person, but he also shares his own personal story that makes this a story of self-exploration that anyone can relate to.--Alex Dolan, author of The Euthanist
A great travelogue should offer three different types of exploration: into a particular time abroad, into the author's brain, and also, most profoundly, into our own psyche. Todd Wassel's adventures in Japan delivers on each criteria with gusto. A sure-footed, special book.--Gordon Peake, author of Beloved Land: stories, struggles and secrets from Timor-Leste
Possibly one of the most interesting books on the pilgrimage.--David Billa, Setouchi Explorer
You won't be able to put this book down!--★★★★★ Amazon Review
I LOVE this book. It's about walking, Japanese culture and LIFE. Full of good tips and loaded with humor. --★★★★★ Good Reads Review
- ASIN : B08CXHR76X
- Publisher : Jizo Press (July 20, 2020)
- Publication date : July 20, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 3277 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 292 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #72,946 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I wasn't able to put this book down, feeling like I was traveling along the same path and unwilling to pause in sharing in the adventure. The only thing I believe the book could have used is more photographs of the various temples, something I'll be looking up on my own to complete the beautiful images in my mind.
This appears to be the first in a series, and I can't wait for the next book - excellent writing and an eye for description makes this a must-have for anyone looking for a virtual pilgrimage or just a darned fine read!
Along the way, a story of self-discovery definitively of its time: caught between his distaste for the lives his professional peers have built for themselves and his envy of them, Wassel also evinces a contemporary preoccupation--without obviously naming it--with authenticity. A pilgrimage, of course, is among the clearest of options for reconciling personal authenticity (being true to thine own self, let's say) and a desire to seek out authentic experience (walking as the truest form of the pilgrimage, engaging only in Japanese) that the average backpacker might only dream of. In many ways, that reconciliation--ironic and surprising, as it unfolds across the narrative--is at the heart of the book.
"Walking in Circles" is, finally, also wonderful just for its insider-outsider insight into Japanese culture. That Wassel's conflicted relationship to Japan echoes his own conflicted relationship to his own culture's expectations of adulthood . . . well, that's also part of the genius and the fun.
This book captured me in its descriptions of the natural setting as well as with Wassel's thoughtful interpretation of Japanese attitudes about a variety of issues, including whether Americans can speak their language and enjoy their food!
The trail he followed is one many Westerners, including myself, are unaware of, and so being introduced to another sacred walk by someone who's made it was especially engaging.
Top reviews from other countries
For a fee of $5, a stamp plus calligraphy can be added to his "kakejiku"or hanging scroll, at each temple. Todd learns that a completed scroll is worth several thousand dollars to collectors, and he is warned to guard it carefully for fear of unscrupulous robbers...
However, it is the journey itself that is the prize, as he navigates steep mountains, paths through paddy fields and killer snakes known as "mamushi."
A series of very interesting characters cross his path as as he tries to "finally figure out what he wants to be when he grows up."
Well-written and thought-provoking, this book includes wonderful descriptions of the scenery and the challenges he faces locating a place to sleep each night. It also provides great characterisations of the intriguing characters he meets along the way. These include disturbing discoveries about the Japanese people and what lies beneath their normal conservative exterior.
Does Todd unearth the answers he is looking for? Read the book to find out, but his conclusions are not what he expected at the outset.
And too his differing encounters with Japanese people and culture,from the normally courteous and helpful to the less common rude or orggressive.
I connected with some of his account from having spent several visits to Japan. A Japanese friend has expressed an interest in visiting some of the 88 temples in Shikoku,though we'd be taking the easier option of travelling by coach rather than the demanding slog of walking. A book to re-read at some stage.
But in general it reminded me of a warm and inviting culture, full of strong traditions.
It has slightly put me off walking the pilgrimage, but that's not so much a reflection on the writing, more a reaction to the realities of the walk: I imagined it was wilder and less touristy!
An enjoyable book :-)