Books on Japan: Japanese Nature
Japan Nature Books
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Japanese Plants: Know Them and Use Them
This is an excellent book for visitors to Japan, even for those with no great interest in plants. Its a guidebook for just about any plant you will encounter on a trip to Japan even if you don't leave Tokyo, including trees, bushes, fruit and vegetables, flowers, herbs, and even grasses. Each plant has a clear colour photo, the Latin name, and the Japanese name. What made this book so fascinating for me was the wealth of information about the history and uses made of each plant. Not just the obvious utilitarian uses such as which plants are edible, medicinal or used to "make" something, but the place and influence of the plants in Japanese religion, culture, arts, and language. You'll learn a lot about Japan by reading this book. The book is small enough to fit a pocket, and the clear photos make identifying a plant an easy task. There are three appendices, one on Botanical gardens in Japan, one on "The seven herbs of spring and seven flowers of autumn, and one on that most Japanese of flowers, the cherry blossom.
Wild Flowers of Japan: A Field Guide
by Ran Levy
The deliciously named Ran Levy ("ran" in Japanese means orchid) has put together a book that is an excellent guide to the amazing variety of wild flowers in the Japanese archipeligo. The text is nicely arranged and very easy-to-use. Beautfiul color photos and group keys help even the least knowlegdable easily identify many different floral species. Japan, which ranges in habitat and climate from subarctic to subtropical, is home to a diverse flora.
Wild Flowers of Japan introduces the reader to hundreds of species in an easy to understand format. There are also identification keys and detailed background information. At the beginning of the text is an illustrated shape-and-color key, at the end a comprehensive index. Also helpful is a list of terms in both Japanese and English.
Pop Bonsai: Fun with Arranging Small Trees and Plants
by Lisa Tajima
Lisa Tajima has blended one of Japan's stodgier hobbies with Andy Warhol and created Pop Bonsai. The typical image of bonsai is that of a salaryman coming home and trading his suit and tie for shears - and taking out his worldly frustrations on a pathetic, clipped to the nub "tree." Tajima, who studied in New York in the 1980s, was strongly influenced by Pop Art. She returned to Japan and took up classical bonsai, finding however that the rules and customs left no room for individual expression. At that point, she began to experiment - and, voila, an art form was born.
Bamboo in Japan
by Nancy Moore Bess
This book is about much, much more than just bamboo. It's about the many ways that bamboo is used in Japan, and in fact there is hardly any part of life in Japan that does not incorporate bamboo in some way.
Birds of East Asia: Eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Eastern Russia
by Mark Brazil
Readers of the Japan Times will already be familiar with Mark Brazil through his regular column for that newspaper, Wild Watch, incidentally the longest still running natural history column in the world. English-speaking ornithologists in Japan will most probably already own some of his previous books, A Birdwatcher's Guide to Japan (1987), or The Birds of Japan (1991).
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