Just a very short review, of a book I read a while back, but I was put in mind of it by mentioning the Kodansha English Library in the last email. I got this in Japan while trying to find some Murakami titles. I couldn't put it down after reading the first sentences:
The natives of Madagascar recognize a minor deity they call Ataokoroinona. Loosely translated, the name means something like "Too weird for words," and a number of my best friends, I'm convinced, have surrendered to this deity's intoxicating afflatus.
The doctor went abroad in 1958, on a fishing boat, when it was apparently discouraged by the government. It is a travelogue, continuing in this silly vein, and you can see why it might not have been published more widely. The doctor adds a 1987 postscript in which he compares the too-rich Japanese tourists of today to the too-rich American tourists of the 1950's. And he ends:
I was young and relatively adventurous when I wrote this book. Aged and sadly enfeebled now, I look back at the experiences acquired on this, my first sojourn abroad, with a mixture of pleasure and poignancy, knowing that the days when I was capable of accumulating such memories are long past. May you, gentle reader, never grow old and debilitated in body and mind as I have; may you remain forever young at heart and free of spirit and full of life.