Book Review: Be More Japan wherever you are – the art of Japanese living

Be More Japan, the new book by DK Eyewitness, looks at the art of Japanese living and how you can apply this wherever you are.

Everyone knows that to truly experience a vast country like Japan – the world’s 62nd biggest country – you need to prepare for a culture shock.

Imagine though if you could profoundly experience the Japanese culture with the help of a unique and innovative book that combines travel planning and cultural discovery.

The new highly visual, highly inspirational book recently released by DK Eyewitness, Be More Japan, delivers this so you can keep on experiencing all that Japan is long after your trip.

From mundane to beauty

Japan Manhole Covers
From mundane to beauty: Japanese manhole covers (c) coniferconifer, Toby Oxborrow and hslo

Even the mundane has its place in elevating the beauty of life and in Japan the humble manhole cover aptly demonstrates this. On Page 47 there is an explanation about how manhole covers where decorated to encourage taxpayers to shell out more for costly drainage projects. These have now become works of arts and a source of local pride highlighting regional attractions, wildlife, festivals, historic events and even folklore.

Japan’s famous soundscape

Did you know that Japan is famous for its ambient sound? This may sound surreal until you realise that in 1996 the Ministry of the Environment created a list of the country’s top 100 soundscapes (complied from submissions by the public) in a novel move to both guard and champion the environment.

Yukawa river, Japan
The Yukawa River in Nikko, Japan: a natural soundscape (c) Takashi Hososhima

Flick to page 110 for an outline of the natural and man-made, whimsical and riotous, spiritual and commercial, soundscapes. These range from flowing and falling water, hissing stream, shifting ice and local flora and fauna to temple bells, ship whistles and ancient crafts. This appreciation of natural and historical soundscapes reflects the open-minded Japanese approach to sound in general which has allowed innovative experimental music and aural art installations to become a significant part of the cultural landscape. 

The secrets of wellbeing Japanese style

Wellbeing traditions have been well-honed for a happy and healthy life. Page 211 tells how to enjoy the Onsen – Japanese hot spring or bathing facility. Did you know that Japan has active volcanoes and as a result there are thousands of onsens scattered throughout the country? It has become a quintessential Japanese custom to visit and rejuvenate at an onsen, be sociable, or just get away for a weekend and enjoy balneotherapy – the treating of ailments by bathing in mineral water.

Hot Springs in Be More Japan
Hot Springs in Be More Japan

Page 213 highlights the Okinawa’s Centenarians known for their exceptionally long lives. They attribute their wellbeing to “hara hachi bu” (stop eating when you are 80% full) and “ikigai” (having a reason to get up in the morning).

More about the book

Be More Japan helps you understand and experience the best of Japan both at home and abroad. The book doubles as a coffee table book and travel guide, inspiring readers to embrace old traditions while enjoying modernity, and applying this to everyday life. 

Be More Japan - The Kabuki Experience
Discover the exciting world of Kabuki: classical Japanese dance drama

With topics such as music, food, dance, wellness and spirituality, there’s something to interest every taste. For instance, learn about the traditional Japanese dance of Kabuki, famous for the elaborate make-up worn by its performers.

Japan has a diverse and fascinating culture, and there’s a great section on pop culture where you can discover more about “J-pop”, anime, video games and karaoke. 

If you’re planning a trip to Japan, there’s plenty of helpful hints on making the most of your trip. The stunning imagery will help you choose where you want to travel, from Osaka and Kyoto to Mt. Fuji.

Be More Japan wherever you are is available to purchase for £16.99 from 25th July.

CLICK HERE to purchase from Amazon

For more ideas on travelling in Japan, DK Eyewitness publish a wide range of guidebooks including Japan and Tokyo.


Disclaimer: this article was sponsored by DK Eyewitness