Yes, at the beginning Iyer has a “grains of salt” section wherein he explains he has no business writing about Japan and the “beginner” is both himself and the reader. I find it odd that he’s lived there for 30 years and hasn’t picked up any of the language (he claims to speak at the level of a 2-year-old). I guess his Japanese wife carries the burden of communication with the outside world for him. Mostly a bland book compared to his other great travel writing like Video Night in Kathmandu. Frequent quotations from Oscar Wilde and SF Zen master Shunryu Suzuki. Little bits of sentences, short paragraphs a concession to our evaporated attention spans?