Books, CDs, Videos related to this trip



Here is a list of materials (books, CDs, videos, etc.) that may be of interest if you like to get a feel for our destinations.

For most of the music CDs I have included a sample, but be aware that some of these samples are kinda' large, so if you click on "Sample" it may take a while to download, depending on your Internet connection speed.


Movies / Videos / DVDs
Title Publisher / Producer Notes
Departures Yoojiroo Takita 2009 Academy award winner, best foreign film
Shall We Dance Miramax (VHS) The original, in Japanese with subtitles.
Dream World: Reflections on the Japanese Garden Smithsonian (VHS) Quiet, reflective insights into the design of Japanese gardens.


Title Artist Notes
Lapis Lazul Iruka Kinda' folky, hippie, jazzy, rock-y collection   Sample
Iruka Hits Iruka More orchestral; mellow, pleasant   Sample
Best Selection 16 Iruka Wide variety of styles.   Sample
Koto Junko Shigeta Terrific instrumental work by Denver artists   Sample
Innocent Satoko Ishimine One of my favorite J-pop singers, pretty accessible   Sample
Closet Satoko Ishimine Very rock-y, wail-ing, edgy collection of songs. An   aquired taste, not for everyone. Sample
Imagination Satoko Ishimine Overall a lighter collection of music.   Sample


Books and other publications - Fiction
Title Author Notes
Gai-Jin James Clavell Historical novel: merchants in Japan in the 1860's.
All She Was Worth Miyuki Miyabe A young woman disappears; her fiance asks his uncle, a retired detective, to track her down; but is she who she says she is?
Audrey Hepburn's Neck Alan Brown A rural Japenese young man moves to Tokyo and becomes involved with two American ex-pats in surprising ways.
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami Book cover: "a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II"
Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden Fiction, supposedly based on accounts from an actual Geisha, the provenance is somewhat controversial; made into a movie.
American Fuji Sara Backer An American man comes to Japan to find out about his son's death. He teams up with an American ex-pat woman as they unravel a story of illicit organ donation and the local yakuza.
The Concubine's Tattoo Laura Joh Rowland Detective story set in 1690 in Japan.
A bit of a bodice-ripper, but an interesting who-dun-it.


Books and other publications - Japanese Language, Culture, and Travel
Title Author Notes
Japanese in Action Jack Seward Insights by an American ex-pat who has lived in Japan over 40 years. Heavy on language intricacies, but some perceptive insights into culture.
The Donald Richie Reader Donald Richie Insights by an American ex-pat who has lived in Japan over 50 years. Skip the longish introduction and get to the meat of the book.
Confessions of a Yakuza Junichi Saga Non-Fiction; Yakuza are the Japanese version of the mafia. Published in 1991
Confucius Lives Next Door T. R. Reid Non-Fiction; Life in Japan for a Washington Post bureau chief; he now lives in Denver and is a member of the Denver Takayama Sister City Committee
The Dolls of Japan The Japan Foundation Stunning pictures with brief descriptions of various dolls and doll styles (16 pages)
Dave Barry Does Japan Dave Barry Dave Barry travels to Japan; although a humor book, he hits the nail on the head in a number of areas. Still, sometimes tries too hard.