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Minka: My Farmhouse in Japan Hardcover – 1 Nov 2007
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About the Author
John Roderick was an Associated Press foreign correspondent in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East for almost forty years. He lives part of the year in Hawaii and part of the year in his minka in Kamakura, Japan.
Top customer reviews
It's an insight into two aspects of Japan; firstly the rural side as Roderick befriends a family from Gifu (the son of which eventually becomes an expert on transplanting minkas) and uses many of the rural folk from Gifu for their capentry skills, and secondly some of the high society that Roderick mixes with, being a well-connected ex-pat (Hilary Clinton visits the house!).
What I liked most were the accounts of the challenges that he had to overcome to make the minka project happen, and also the passion the Roderick has for the house, the land, and the people of Japan, and it's quite an inspiring tale that may get you thinking about your own building dreams.
Roderick writes with a good deal of humor, and his love and knowledge of Japan makes him a welcome guide as he takes us through the quirks and curios of Japan during the 60s and 70s.
I really enjoyed this and would recommend it for those who:
- have a love or interest in rural Japan
- have an interest in beautiful old houses
- are interested in Japan in general
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
John Roderick was referred to as a VCW (Veteran China Watcher) and I read this book because I am an Amateur Japan Watcher. I've lived in Japan, visited Gifu and other places Roderick mentioned, and visited houses like his minka (in historic villages - not ones that anybody was actually living in!). What a unique home to create, a modern living space in a traditional Japanese house. Imagine having to design living space in the attic which formerly housed the silk worms!
What an adventure Roderick lived in his minka. It's a great story and I recommend it. (I read the Kindle version.)
What I liked about the book: excellent writing, a fascinating story (that includes some very interesting anecdotes), lots of details about the ancient minka houses of Japan, but most of all it is a story of an intrepid American reporter living in Japan in the post-WWII era who develops a loving friendship with a Japanese family.
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