Out of ideas for "omiage" to bring home? Already tried the t-shirts with weird English, stationery, pottery, napkins, dolls etc? Whether you've lived here a few years or are new to the area, the book "Memories of Silk and Straw" gives unique insight to the recent history of the Tsuchiura area through the eyes of various residents. Dr. Saga, the author, contintued in the practice his father established as a doctor in the Tsuchiura area and still has a clinic there. He also makes home visits mostly to elderly patients who cannot come to the clinic after clinic hours. It was his father who, in the course of making house calls, thought it would be interesting to record on cassette tape the stories of his patient's recollections of earlier days. The younger doctor Saga then compiled these accounts of people from all walks of life from the fishermen of Lake Kasumigaura, to the sewage collectors to the very wealthy. An interesting combination of perspectives, it makes great reading in short snatches of time. This is one of only a handful of Japanese books translated into English each year. It is available in paperback for 2000 yen or hardcover, but takes about 2 weeks for your order to come from the publisher, Kodansha. For some unknown reason, it is not on shelves in local bookstores, presumably because it is not a recent release. We ordered it from Kasumi Bookstore via fax. The phone number for the store is , but you might not find an English speaker to talk with.
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