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November 15, 2007



The Tsutaya near Roppongi Hills had a sale on foreign books the other day. I looked through one called "Great Train Stations of the World," or something like that. Kyoto Station was in there! When I saw that I immediately thought of Alex Kerr.

I never read "Lost Japan," but I thought "Dogs and Demons" was interesting, primarily because it covers my industry - construction. My biggest beef with the book is that Kerr is always saying that in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary (the rampaging construction industry, the continual gravitation toward childishness, the lousy education system, etc.) he argues that Japan is in fact a place very different from the negative images you see on the surface. To me, Japan is what it is. I can never understand why people always want to smarten this place up.


I agree with your appraisal, but my beef is that he makes a lot of personal values choices as to what is and what isn't beautiful, useful, productive, etc... I happen to agree with him on several points, but I think counterpoints can be made for a lot of his arguements, like the merit of something modern like Kyoto station.

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