Asian studies in Lithuania

The Colors and Flavors of Japan

Authors: Zykas, Aurelijus
Published in: Vilnius
Published on: 2014
Publisher: Aukso Pieva

Aurelijus Zykas in his book ‘The colors and flavors of Japan’ introduces the reader with this distant country. The author, basing the narrative on his own personal experience, tells the reader about his life in Japan, spent living in two very different cities – Tokyo and Kanazawa. The book is split in two parts – the first part tells mostly about the years spent studying in Kanazawa. The second part concentrates on the life in Tokyo, while studying in Waseda University and working in the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Tokyo few years later. This books is a perfect choice for anybody who is interested in Japan and its culture.

‘The colors and flavors of Japan’ introduces various sides of Japan. The book tells the reader about Japan’s cultural and historical heritage, the people and the way of life in this country. The narratives about the life in the country of Raising Sun are fun, written with nostalgia and humor, supplemented by various important facts about the cultural aspects (like the business etiquette), facts about the history of this country. Between the usual narratives, there are lyrical mini tales, inspired by Japanese cultural aspects. Also, in this book there are detailed descriptions of Japanese dishes, which are easy to make even when one does not live in Japan. The author shares his memories about this country in a diary form. Although one can say, that this is a travel book, it is not quite usual book of this genre, because it does not have neither the clear start of the journey or the route it will take, nor clear ending of the journey. ‘The colors and flavors of Japan’ is like a mosaic. It is a book which combines various genres, periods, world outlook of the author. There is no clear answer to the question whether this book represents Japan in positive or negative way. In the words of the author itself, he says that he is linked with this country ‘almost in the same complicated manner, in which most of us are connected with their own homeland: painfully sweet hatred, mixed with love.’

Illustrated with many photos, this book reveals the most beautiful colours of Japan. Dishes, described in detail, will let one to experience the flavours of Japan. One of the few works about Japan by Lithuanian authors, this book will not leave the reader disappointed.

AURELIJUS ZYKAS – head of Vytautas Magnus University Centre for Asian Studies, doctor of political sciences. During many visits to Japan, varying in length from 1998, the author spent about four years in this country in total, while studying in Japan’s universities, carrying our research and working in Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Tokyo. He has lectured in Finland’s, Austria’s, Japan’s, Korea’s universities. The author is fluent in Japanese language, is one of the best interpreter working in the highest level political meetings. During the visit of Japan’s imperial family in Lithuania, the author has interpreted for Her Majesty Empress Michiko.

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU