Though Lafcadio Hearn went on to write a dozen more books on Japan, this collection of first impressions remains his most popular. Among the reasons is that here, more than anywhere else, the author most vividly captured a place that so affected him that he stayed for the rest of his life. The modern reader can still, through these pages, experience that "first charm of Japan, intangible and volatile as a perfume."
Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan combines two volumes of a work that first appeared in 1894. In the pages of this book are the customs, the superstitions, the charming scenery, the revelations of Japanese character, and all the other elements that Lafcadio Hearn found so bewitching. Here, for example, are essays on such subjects as the Japanese garden, the household shrine, the festivals, and the bewildering Japanese smile--all aspects of Japanese life that have endured in spite of the changes that have taken placeduring the modernization of Japan. The Japanese character and the Japanese tradition are still fundamentally the same as Hearn found them to be, and for this reason, his writing is still extremely revealing to modern readers.
This edition also contains a new foreword by noted writer and examiner of Japanese culture Donnie Richie that puts Lafcadio Hearn and his classic works into perspective for readers just discovering Hearn's writing for the first time.