The Lady and The Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto, by Pico Iyer, is one of the books I have most enjoyed reading this year. Pico Iyer writes beautifully and lovingly of Japan.
It is, in fact, a love story. Published in 1992, it’s about a year he spent in Kyoto, where he fell in love with a young, married Japanese woman with two little children, whom he first met at a Zen temple ceremony. Sachiko invited him to her daughter’s birthday party and the relationship took off from there.
Sachiko, according to Wikipedia, is actually Hiroko Takeuchi, with whom and whose two children Pico Iyer now lives in Japan. Few women have been portrayed as lovingly and beautifully as she is in this book.