This Japanese travel guide provides goes beyond the typical guidebook, revealing the underlying cultural and historical reasons for the behavior and attitudes of The Japanese.
Authors Michiko and James Vardaman identify nearly three hundred aspects of Japanese culture, custom, and daily life that commonly frustrate, delight, or just plain stump non-Japanese. For each topic, they provide historical and other background that helps strip away some of the mystery surrounding Japanese culture, and make inscrutable Japan a little more scrutable. Drawings and illustrations help illustrate some objects that may be unfamiliar to Westerns, such as "New Year's rakes," Japanese water sprites, and wish tablets.
Japan from A to Z fills in holes left by more academically oriented books on Japan by providing information on topics that readers would be unable to find in more staid, conventional sources. Fun and fascinating for tourist and resident alike, it offers a concise, readable introduction to the country and its way of life.