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For the acclaimed travel and spirituality writer Pico Iyer, home is not such a clear concept. Iyer was born to Indian parents in Oxford, was raised in England and California, and has spent much of his life touring the world. But the first time he ever felt homesick, it was for his adoptive home in Japan.
Since marrying and moving in with his wife in her home city of Nara three decades ago, Iyer has become one of the foremost translators of Japanese culture to Western audiences. Recently, he has written two new books about his life there, Autumn Light (Penguin, April 2019), and the forthcoming A Beginner’s Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations (Penguin, September 2019). Iyer views the books as complimentary: while Autumn Light describes his experience within the culture, A Beginner’s Guide offers his perspective as an outsider.
In this episode, Iyer discusses his latest books as well as the way impermanence colors Japanese life and what it means to try to understand other cultures at a time when the term globalist has become, in many parts, a dirty word.
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