Top critical review
Tough to say if you'll like it
Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2018
I'm a sucker for Japanese culture. Real Japanese culture, not the anime and otaku-fad that is all the rage these days. I lived in a Japan for a while so my bookshelf is filled with stuff like this. That said, let me explain...
I really wanted to like this book. I love translations of historical Japanese, but there's a very fine line that depends entirely on who is doing the translating. Sometimes they read more like fiction, painting vivid imagery and sucking you back in time right into feudal Japan. Other times they read like college textbooks, overly detailed and getting bogged down in every little aspect that constantly interrupts your engagement. This book kind of rides that line but definitely leans towards the latter.
I have a lot of respect for the author, his breadth of knowledge in regards to this is on a level I can never hope to achieve, but his writing style just doesn't flow as nicely as I wanted it to. Reading this is mentally exhausting. I can only do a few pages at a time before I feel so fatigued that I need to go and watch tv or do something braindead to give myself a rest. Some sections are worse than others, often you'll come across pages that are 75% footnotes and you're constantly darting back and forth to find what he is referencing.
If I feel like being studious I'll bust this out but it's definitely not an everyday read. Your experience may vary, Overall its a cheaply priced book and I would still recommend adding it to your collection, but its more informative/educational than it is fun and entertaining.