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When Pico Iyer decided to go to Kyoto and live in a monastery, he did so to learn about Zen Buddhism from the inside. Then he met Sachiko, the attractive wife of a Japanese "salaryman." Iyer fashions from their relationship a marvelously ironic yet heartfelt book that is at once a portrait of cross-cultural infatuation--and misunderstanding--and a delightfully fresh way of seeing both the old Japan and the very new.
"Iyer's book is about his own quest for a more ancient land of monks, rock gardens and paper lanterns. Even more challenging, it is his search for spiritual enlightenment in the land of economic miracle. Like a cultural anthropologist, Iyer digs into the dead metaphors of poets and beneath the antiseptic glitz of love hotels to unearth traces of his own misty nostalgia for a bygone Japan. In dreamlike, beautiful prose...all these rich themes--East and West, spirit and flesh, old and new--become entangled in the author s relationship with a woman named Sachiko."
--Los Angeles Times Book Review