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5.0 out of 5 starsA Fascinating Look at Japan's Garden Craftsmen
Reviewed in the United States on July 7, 2017
Even though I'm not a gardener, I found this book to be charming, entertaining and educational. It's an account of the author's apprenticeship in Kyoto, Japan pruning trees and working in the city's beautiful and historic gardens. Yes, there's lots of information about plants, but I loved the cultural insights about the people, the food, their homes, habits and more. Especially interesting is the astonishing work ethic and pace of her Japanese colleagues and the rigid employee hierarchy by which it operates. Read it if you want to broaden your horizons and gain a deeper appreciation of how great gardeners enhance the natural beauty all around us.
5.0 out of 5 starsVivid and unrelentingly honest, this thrifty and well-written memoir ...
Reviewed in the United States on June 21, 2017
Vivid and unrelentingly honest, this thrifty and well-written memoir follows Leslie Buck through her internship as a Kyoto gardener. As an American in Japan, and as a woman in a traditionally man's world, she is doubly a stranger. Buck registers her frustrations and triumphs in a compelling narrative.
Reviewed in the United States on September 8, 2017
The author made me realize that my garden, plants and trees are more than just "things" they are a wonderful part of our lives..living reminders of beauty. Ms Buck was much more patient than I and I admire her as she taught me so much about trees!
5.0 out of 5 starsA Book for Everyone, not just the Gardeners
Reviewed in the United States on November 1, 2017
Great book for both the serious gardener and the observer of other cultures. I am not a gardener, but really appreciated the view into a side of Japan that I hadn't seen in my dozen visits there. And the gardener, who it was a gift for also loved it.
5.0 out of 5 starsWonderful traveling with Leslie Buck!
Reviewed in the United States on March 26, 2018
It was utterly fascinating to travel to Japan with a local pruner of a certain age who takes a leap of faith to immerse herself in the ultimate risk. I could feel the cold and feel the cultural shifts. My avocado tree pruner knows the author. It's a small world and it was delightful to enter.
5.0 out of 5 starsA spiritual journey into the world of Japanese cultural garden
Reviewed in the United States on November 2, 2017
A book that tell what one could expect to be demanded in order to achieve a craftsman level. In the same time let one not feeling too intense from the little thought of the author here and there that make you smile even on the most tired day.
I would recommend the book for someone to read and understand cultural and spirit level of being a Japanese or any craftsman that one would give most respect for their time and dedication of skills.
3.0 out of 5 starsThe Japanese man to whom Buck grew closest during her ...
Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2017
The Japanese man to whom Buck grew closest during her few months in Kyoto told her shortly before her departure, If you come back, before you do you should learn more about Japanese culture, Japanese ways. Indeed. Buck's approach was instead to blunder forward in ignorance, harvesting reproof and feeling wounded, not just, it seems, in garden work but also in her dealings with those around her. I felt sorry for her, yes, but also exasperated. Kangaesugi, I thought again and again as I made my way through this book. She's overthinking, overinterpreting, overanalyzing. Non-Japanese-speaking, without a support network, alone and lonely: Of course her thoughts turn in on themselves, start to race, seize on a teaspoonful of observation and whip it into a cubic yard of What If. But... those not steeped in California ways, those for whom exhausting work is work rather than spiritual aerobics and trees are only sometimes starry messengers, those who want a story line and resolution of plot points (whatever became of her USA boyfriend?), will find Buck's little memoir provoking not of contemplation but of irritation.
3.0 out of 5 starsbut I thought the reflexions of the author about her boyfriend and other love interest were out of place
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 8, 2018
The details of the process of getting an internship and of the work itself were interesting, but I thought the reflexions of the author about her boyfriend and other love interest were out of place. I wanted to read a gardening book!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 11, 2018
A very interesting story well told. What a difficult three months the author had but probably the most impactful three months of her life. Didn't want this book to end. How do I find another 'nature' book to match it?