Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan (Complete)

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There is some charm unutterable in the morning air, cool with the coolness of Japanese spring and wind-waves from the snowy cone of Fuji; a charm perhaps due rather to softest lucidity than to any positive tone an atmospheric limpidity extraordinary, with only a suggestion of blue in it, through which the most distant objects appear focused with amazing sharpness.

Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan: Second Series by Lafcadio Hearn - Free Ebook

The sun is only pleasantly warm; the jinricksha, or kuruma, is the most cosy little vehicle imaginable; and the street-vistas, as seen above the dancing white mushroom-shaped hat of my sandalled runner, have an allurement of which I fancy that I could never weary. Elfish everything seems; for everything as well as everybody is small, and queer, and mysterious: the little houses under their blue roofs, the little shop-fronts hung with blue, and the smiling little people in their blue costumes. The illusion is only broken by the occasional passing of a tall foreigner, and by divers shop-signs bearing announcements in absurd attempts at English.

Nevertheless such discords only serve to emphasise reality; they never materially lessen the fascination of the funny little streets.

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Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Part travelogue, part collection of folklore, this is a work of beautiful prose. At times Hearn writes with gentle humor; and when he speaks of his own adventures -- climbing treacherous areas in his Western clothes he later mentions wearing Japanese dress , not realizing why he shouldn't swim in sacred waters -- he is mildly self-deprecating. I would've enjoyed this merely for getting to relive my visit to Matsue; and in reading of other cities I didn't get to visit, I could picture how those s Part travelogue, part collection of folklore, this is a work of beautiful prose.

I would've enjoyed this merely for getting to relive my visit to Matsue; and in reading of other cities I didn't get to visit, I could picture how those shrines and temples compared to those I saw in Kyoto or Nara. Even better, I got a couple of questions answered about things that had been niggling at me since my trip in connection with the usually red 'bibs' that were around the necks of little figures and bigger stone foxes. I also know now why of the pairs of guardians of holy places one has its mouth open and the other's is closed.

It was also interesting to see what has changed, but even more to see what has not. Hearn's love of the Japanese, their legends, their stories of their gods, of long-dead mortals and of the supernatural comes through loud and clear. It's no wonder he is still revered in this area that he lived in for such a relatively short period of time.

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Glimpses of Japan

An interesting and charming non-fiction book. Hearn relates his thoughts about various sites in Japan as he felt when seeing them for the first time and treats us to related stories and tales. The prose is beautifully evocative. Nov 01, Laura marked it as to-read Shelves: e-books , fictionth-century. Free download available at Gutenberg Project. View 1 comment. Nov 20, paul rated it it was amazing.

Rightly considered as a very important figure in Japan, this book is years old and still relevant and fascinating. This book by Lafcadio Hearn is made up of 15 different short accounts about various events, places, or otherwise in Japan. Most of the accounts revolve around religious sites or events, especially pilgrimage sites like Enoshima, Kitzuki shrine or the Cave of the Children's Ghosts.

Lafcadio Hearn's 'Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan': Reveling in the remote and mystical — review

Hearn describes the sites and events in rich and careful detail, as always, and provides an insight into the Japan that he saw at the mid to end of the 19th Century and start of 20th. This particular book is based on hi This book by Lafcadio Hearn is made up of 15 different short accounts about various events, places, or otherwise in Japan. This particular book is based on his earliest impressions and experiences of Japan, which, when contrasted with his descriptions of Japan in his later books, shows how much his knowledge has expanded and how much his interests have shifted and yet remained alike.

In particular, his religious interests lie more with Japanese Buddhism in the context of these accounts, with Shintoism wandering in more vaguely, hidden in the rituals that are mainly contextualised into Buddhism; however, in his book, Japan: an Attempt at Interpretation , he shows a greater awareness, interesting and focus on Shintoism, presenting it as the ruling religious pattern that is only slightly overlain by Buddhist imagery and influences.


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  • If you are interested in the religious culture of Japan as well as the social , Hearn's books are a must-read, especially because it provides a brilliant opportunity to see a long-gone Japan, the way it was in the late 19th Century and the fading of the particularities of that time as the rest of the world is getting more and more involved. Hearn manages to evoke a certain nostalgia for a world that you can't have ever seen or encountered, and never will This in spite of the clarity of the downsides of the culture, though Hearn is still naively positive about the culture and hasn't yet observed its darkness as strongly as he does in later books.

    I've been a fan of Hearn for many years mainly due to his sensitive and accurate insights into Japanese culture. My favourite book of his is Kokoro.



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