Top critical review
What a load of guff
on 13 March 2016
I have been planning on returning to Japan for some time now, and lately that has been coalescing into a plan to potentially go there and cycle-tour. So a book about someone cycle-touring around Japan, how could I say no?
Oh dear. This book is dire. Really dire. Not the content per se (though much of it is tosh, of the recycled ‘ooh, how funny are those crazy Japanese’ you get from many foreign visitors to Japan) but the writing style. It is so twee, contrived, and annoying. For example, before we even get close to Japan, we get pages of twaddle about Dew’s knee problems. And it is written in the following style:
‘To kneecap it all my creaky knee was not so much playing up as sailing straight on off up the creek. Forced to dismount, I found myself floating, or, rather, limping around utterly lost without my wheels.’
Yes, pages of this guff. I am not a fan of Bill Bryson’s travel writing, but he comes across as an equal to Nabakov or Tolstoy compared to Dew.
There is some great travel writing out there about Japan. There is some great travel writing out there about cycling. There are probably some great guides out there to cycling in Japan. This book in no way makes it into any of those groups. Avoid it.
(from my blog [...])