In The Bells of Old Tokyo, Anna Sherman explores Japan and revels in all its wonderful particularity. As a foreigner living in Tokyo, Sherman’s account takes pleasure and fascination in the history and culture of a country that can seem startlingly strange to an outsider.
Following her search for the lost bells of the city – the bells by which its inhabitants kept time before the Jesuits introduced them to clocks – to her personal friendship with the owner of a small, exquisite cafe, who elevates the making and drinking of coffee to an art-form, here is Tokyo in its bewildering variety. From the love hotels of Shinjuku to the appalling fire-storms of 1945 (in which many more thousands of people died than in Hiroshima or Nagasaki), from the death of Mishima to the impact of the Tohoku earthquake of 2011.
For fans of The Lonely City, and Lost in Translation, The Bells of Old Tokyo is a beautiful and original portrait of Tokyo told through time.