Coming Spring 2020:
Travels in Japan
Just about everyone has an image of Japan. It is deeply spiritual, whirling with modern technology, where everyone conforms and bites their tongues. Or is it youth wrapped in eclectic street fashion surrounded by hordes of animation and cartoon lovers? It is the teeming Tokyo streets breathing in and out millions of commuters each day. Or is it the small farming village, centuries old temple and a generation left behind? Are any of these the real Japan?
Written from the rice field up, Todd Wassel’s loving, adventurous, funny, warts-and-all description of Japan is not your typical cliché burdened narrative filled with armchair commentary on superficial differences. Fluent in Japanese, married into the culture, Todd’s intimate relationship with Japan shines through, as does the parts visitors are never meant to see.
Todd takes the reader on a 750-mile walking journey around the 88 Buddhist temple pilgrimage on the remote island of Shikoku, the perfect place to understand both the history and modernity of the seemingly conflicted nature of Japan. Todd brings the reader along on an intensely personal journey to understand Japan’s unique sense of culture, purpose and attention to detail that has produced some of the world’s more accomplished religions, art, food, and sexual depravities.
Along the way he comes face-to-face with the extremes of Japanese society walking through a landscape impregnated by spiritual and sexual oddities poking out from a conservative facade. Todd is joined by a star-studded Japanese cast never before assembled in one place, a group of naked Yakuza trying to shake him down, a wandering ascetic searching for enlightenment while hiding from the Freemasons, a Buddhist Monk who hates America but loves beef jerky, pubic hair zealots…and many more. Yes, there were some normal people too!
Built on a 20-year relationship with Japan, the reader won’t believe what awaits Todd on the backroads of Japan.