Year in Japan, A
350 color illustrations
Publication date: 3/1/2006
|The Land of the Rising Sun is shining brightly across the American cultural landscape. Recent films such as Lost in Translation and Memoirs of a Geisha seem to have made everyone an expert on Japan, even if they've never been there. But the only way for a Westerner to get to know the real Japan is to become a part of it. Kate T. Williamson did just that, spending a year experiencing, studying, and reflecting on her adopted home. She brings her keen observations to us in A Year in Japan, a dramatically different look at a delightfully different way of life.
Avoiding the usual clich's--Japan's polite society, its unusual fashion trends, its crowded subways--Williamson focuses on some lesser-known aspects of the country and culture. In stunning watercolors and piquant texts, she explains the terms used to order various amounts of tofu, the electric rugs found in many Japanese homes, and how to distinguish a maiko from a geisha. She observes sumo wrestlers in traditional garb as they use ATMs, the wonders of 'santaful World' at a Kyoto department store, and the temple carpenters who spend each Sunday dancing to rockabilly. A Year in Japan is a colorful journey to the beauty, poetry, and quirkiness of modern Japan--a book not just to look at but to experience.
Kate T. Williamson is a writer and illustrator who studied filmmaking at Harvard University. Her love of travel and interest in sock design, along with a postgraduate fellowship, took her to Kyoto. She lives in New York City.
Simple, interesting work (rating 4 out of 5):
I was attracted to the illustration style. The topic is quite intersting and appealing. It is a little sparce for such a long book. The style and techniques are very nicely executed. She has a great sense of minimal pattern, textures while capturing unique angles on new subjects. I believe the layout of the cover did not do the work any favors. The designer or creative director didn't enhance the book with such a square and hard angled layout. The subject matter flows and curves around in an organic fashion. Why try to box it up. But.... with that said. I am quite interested in the style and character of the book. It is a qreat intro to a new artist and writer.
- Michael McNally from Seoul, South Korea (02/17/2006)