Books Personal

Permanently Interested


I like this bit, from Pico Iyer reviewing Donald Richie’s JAPAN JOURNALS: 1947-2004 in last week’s TIME (Asian edition):

The expatriate in Asia is often a complainer: things are so different there from the way they are in wherever he thinks of as home that he feels aggrieved, ripped off, patronized or left out. The complaint takes different forms in India, Hong Kong and Japan, but the expat often stresses the ex part, as if he’s more aware of what he’s left behind than of where he’s landed. The foreign observer is likely to be happy only if he sees his foreignness as an adventure, and recognizes that he has given up a sense of belonging for a sense of freedom, traded the luxury of being understood for that of being permanently interested.

I definitely see myself in that second category, along with Richie (whose book I plan on picking up). You can read the entire review here.