Here is a description of the book from the publisher's catalogue:
Geraldine Sherman, Canadian journalist, short-story writer, and long-time CBC Radio producer, was fourteen when she first dreamt of visiting Japan. More than thirty years later, in 1987, her dream came true. She and her husband won fellowships to spend six weeks in this modern nation that looks familiar but remains intriguingly different.
A decade later, after Japan's economic bubble burst, she returned for two months to live in a Tokyo apartment and explore the country.
During both trips she kept candid and amusing diaries, commenting on sleep-deprived commuters and saleswomen in Holly Hobby dresses, exploring Japanese obsessions with pubic hair, blood-type, public honesty and corporate crime. She marvels at the clarity of Japanese novels and film, and puzzles over widespread ignorance of the Second World War. She visits bunraku puppeteers and kabuki actors backstage, and the highest-ranking foreign tea master, John McGee of Georgetown, Ontario, in his Kyoto home. She tries to overcome her hortophobia (fear of flowers) by touring some of Japan's most exquisite gardens and taking a brief course in ikebana, Japanese flower arranging. Happily for readers, she delights in sharing all her experiences.
"Japan is like a Rubik's cube: you rearrange the pieces and think you've got it right, that it makes sense. Then, with the last move, all conclusions shatter, alignments fall out of whack, and you have to start again. Here's a game to last a lifetime."
Geraldine Sherman lives in Toronto with her husband and fellow traveller, Robert Fulford.
Order the book from Indigo.
Read excerpts from reviews of Japan Diaries.
Read a news article: Fulford, Sherman awarded fellowships.
Read the introduction to Japan Diaries.