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Iyers observations and provocations are packaged in spare but descriptive prose so fitting for the minimalist tradition in japanese art and literature a beginners guide to japan does not answer the questions a curious traveler might have about the country. 35 5 a beginners guide to japan observations provocations fallacies is an unassuming book in that it presents pico iyers thoughts and observations on japan with the clear intent that this is merely what he has observed and found to be true. Iyers observations and provocations are packaged in spare but descriptive prose so fitting for the minimalist tradition in japanese art and literature popmatters one of the most profound strengths of a beginners guide to japan is the way it winds up emphasizing what it is to feel like a beginner as much as it emphasizes japan itself. About a beginners guide to japan winner of the edward stanford travel memoir of the year 2020 a playful and profound guidebook full of surprising brief incisive glimpses into japanese culture pico iyer has been living around kyoto for more than thirty two years but he admits at the outset of this book that he sometimes feels he knows less now than when he arrived