Persimmon Wind - part memoir, part martial arts history, and part travelogue - relates Dave Lowry's experiences as he travels to Japan to reunite with his sensei, visit the graves of others of his martial lineage, and explore a country and culture that profoundly influenced his life.
Lowry's account reveals a Japan unlikely to be witnessed by the average Westerner. Drawing on his deep knowledge of the martial arts, Lowry acts as an interpreter of sorts, deftly describing for the listener the myriad ways in which Japan's subtle, yet rich customs and rituals inform and enrich the seemingly mundane practices of life. On his journey, he interweaves musings from his daily encounters - his introduction to an old ryokan-keeper; a contemplative visit to Kyoto's Daitokuji, "Temple of Great Virtue"; he even spots a ghost or two - with reflections on local history and the philosophies and origins of the Shinkage-ryu, one of Japan's oldest schools of classical swordsmanship.
At the same time, Lowry's experiences in Japan serve as an unexpected opportunity, bringing him to terms with the extraordinary relationship that exists between teacher and student, with his own past, his place in the long line of swordsmen from whom he has come, and with the challenge he faces in integrating the cultural streams of East and West.