Undercurrents: Episodes from a Life on the Edge

Shintaro Ishihara, Author, Wayne P. Lammers, Translator Kodansha International (JPN) $24 (255p) ISBN 978-4-7700-3007-8
Near the end of World War II, during American bombing campaigns over Japan, Ishihara found himself in a wheat field running from what he thought was a bomb. It wasn't, but the moment required him to acknowledge his own mortality at very young age. Ishihara, a novelist and former governor of Tokyo, has spent years as a diver, fisherman and all-around adventurer and here presents 40 of his adventure stories, from the pursuit of the Okinoerabu sea snake to swimming with (and from) sharks. The stories, which flow easily from one to another, each bear their own sense of wonder, fear and discovery. And while the locations may jump from a boyhood soccer field to the summit of Mt. Myoko, the thread that binds them is the author's gratitude for one more day of experiencing the world. Ishihara writes with the grace of a seasoned author who remains in awe of his subject: the taste of mountain trout becomes the affirmation of existence after a long journey, while a powerful electrical storm at sea has him once again wondering if he will escape death. In each tale, Ishihara impresses with his respect for nature, even though he barely survives its hazards.
Reviewed on: 01/02/2006
Release date: 01/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
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