Katie Hickman

Japanese Jumblies

On the Narrow Road to the Deep North: Journey Into a Lost Japan


Jonathan Cape 240pp £12.95 order from our bookshop

One of the principal charms of Lesley Downer’s On the Narrow Road to the Deep North is that it deals with aspects of Japan which are quite outside any of our stereotypical assumptions about the country. (The first of these being that Japan = Tokyo = an overcrowded concrete and neon forest in which it costs hundreds of pounds even to blow your nose). Instead, travelling largely through the remote northern provinces of Japan, Downer discovers a simpler, rural world which most Japanese believe vanished centuries ago.

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