Alex Kerr, Lost Japan
The reading list provided by Walk Japan classifies this as Polemic. Having spent some of his childhood and almost all of his adult life in Japan, Kerr finds much to criticize in the Japanese culture of the 1990s, but in the end finds some signs of hope in a few artists who are going their own way.
Sarah Moss, Signs for Lost Children
A newly married couple are separated when he goes off to Japan to help with lighthouse construction, leaving her to unpaid and frustrating work as a doctor in a lunatic asylum. The story alternates between their experiences before, during and after their time apart. A bit frustrating not knowing the date – I guess very late 19th or very early 20th century.
Sarah Moss, Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland
Non-fiction this time, as the author of the above novel describes an academic year and subsequent holiday in Iceland with husband and two small children. The most interesting part dealt with the practicalities and strangeness of life in a foreign country. She had lengthy discussions with a couple who were on Heimay at the time of the earthquake, a woman who remembered the second world war, and two who believed in elves. The holiday journey a year later brought back memories of my own visit in 2012.