A Folding Book

From Dreaming Spies:

A folding book of illustrated poems, some eight inches tall and three and a half wide, with a slip-case to hold it. When stretched out, it forms a panorama of the very road you travelled along to get here: the Kisokaido. The poems are by Bashō. The illustrations are by Hokusai, under his name of Gakyo Rojin Manji. That means, Old Man Crazy About Art.

Japanese folding book



The old post roads of Japan, primarily the Tokaido and the Nakasendo, connected the political capital of the country, Tokyo (Edo), with Kyoto, the Imperial capital. The roads had post stations every few miles, with tea houses and inns, fresh horses and porters for the convenience of the officials and messengers. The poet Basho travelled the roads, as did artists such as Hiroshige and Hokusai, recording and commenting on their travels. And although they were born more than a century apart, surely they could have met on the Nakasendo road, through a book.




Hokusai screen

A screen is like a folding book.

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11 days until Dreaming Spies! Other posts about writing and researching the book can be seen here, or you can read a long excerpt here

You can pre-order a signed copy from Poisoned Pen Books or Bookshop Santa Cruz, and unsigned or e-books from IndiebooksAmazon/Kindle, or Barnes & Noble/Nook.

My upcoming events are here.


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  1. Bob & Shirley on February 6, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Greetings from Kyoto,

    We are in Kyoto for a few more days. Love reading your mutterings. Looking forward to Dreaming Spies arriving at home about the same time we do. Have collected a number of goshu-in (temple stamps) like the one shown in the top book.

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