Delicious travel writing by a traveler after my own style– bushwhacking his way through Asia, Pico Iyer relaxes with locals, tries to penetrate the walls of China and Japan which cordon “foreign” from the real experience, spends an inordinate amount of time quietly sitting and contemplating atop misty temples. He shuns the packaged tours that show visitors a sanitized, pre-approved version of the country, and haunts alleys, street vendors, train and bus stations looking for the real people and stories. A constant theme through the 10 countries he visits is the encroachment of the West on East, the everpresent American music, frenzied burst of fast food joints, common language of Hollywood cinema and bluejeans. Each country takes the West and intertwines it with its own culture, making baseball in Japan more orderly and militarized, making all external influences inherently Indian by accepting them without question, taking the bustle of New York into Hong Kong where life is work and nothing exists outside of work whereas in NY people work to live and have other cultural stimuli.
Great short travel essays on a list of countries that mirrors my own list of desired destinations: Bali, Tibet, Nepal, China, Phillipines, Burma, Hong Kong, India, Thailand and Japan.
Recommended by Mama R
sub=And other reports from the not-so-far East