Top 5...Books That Make Me Miss Japan!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Every once in a while I participate in this one when I either
1) Like the theme, and/or 2) Have the time!

This week's topic:
Books That Take Place In Another Country!
(AKA....Books that make me miss Japan!)

I decided to alter this week's theme a little bit. I started filling out my answers, and decided to do one country per slot. 
I kept wanting to choose books set in Japan!
I lived there for two years and part of my heart is still there and will always be. Sometimes when I read a book set in Japan, or see a movie that takes place there, or listen to a song that was popular when I was there, I get so "homesick" and miss it so much.

I'd love to return one day!

Here are some books that make me miss Japan when I read them!

In no particular order...

1) WARCROSS by Marie Lu

WARCROSS was my favorite book of 2017. I think part of that stemmed from the fact that so much of it took place in Tokyo and the setting/atmosphere fit really well there. Reading this book gave me a huge dose of nostalgia, especially to visit "trendy" areas of the city such as Harajuku again!  Having lived in Japan, I think Tokyo is the PERFECT setting for "this year's" World Championships because Japan is a world in and of itself when it comes to tech. Think of all the cool anime gadgets and cute things (like cat ears!!) that girls and guys alike aren't ashamed to wear in public. The way the game tech weaves into reality enhances this thriving Tokyo society so much and becomes its heart. The way Lu describes a modern karaoke bar is perfect and I can see it so well. If she has themed cafes or Harajuku Fashion in the second book, I won't be surprised because they would also be a perfect fit for the tech and the world-building!!!


2) WHEN YOU WERE HERE by Daisy Whitney

As soon as I heard that Daisy had a book about loss taking place in Japan and that the main character had a beloved dog of his own, I begged her to somehow include Hachiko...but she already had! Hachiko is that integral to a book on grief. Even if you've never been to Japan, you'll feel like you have after reading this book; I wanted to go back (I lived in Japan for two years) and eat delicious Harajuku crêpes, take part in hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing Parties), go to the Tsukiji Fish Market, and do everything right alongside Danny. I missed Japan so much reading this, so if you've never been, I truly think you'll be able to embrace the atmosphere and be there anyway.

(Also, I miss her YA books! I get that she's uber-successful as an adult romance author now, and she's written some great books in the genre, but I miss these books!)


3) SHADOWS ON THE MOON by Zo Marriott 
(Also her The Name of the Blade trilogy, which begins with THE NIGHT ITSELF!)

Granted, this book takes place in an original fantasy realm INSPIRED by Japan, but it has a lot of Japanese characteristics. Plus, it's a (really dark) retelling of Cinderella unlike anything I've ever seen before!

I almost chose the author's Name of the Blade trilogy, which takes place in London, but has some great Japanese lore at its heart--and it has kitsune fox spirits! BE STILL MY HEART.

I really adore Zo and all of her books. It made me excited when I heard that these took place in Japan!

MY REVIEW+Special Author Guest Post!

4) THE BOOK OF HEROES by Miyuki Miyabe

The Book of Heroes was really unique and refreshing. I'd never read a book quite like it before and after turning the last page, I wondered if Miyabe would write another book in her world. It was really interesting to read a Japanese novel after having lived in Japan; when I found this book, I hadn't read many! I could visualize Yuriko's world much better than I would have had I never been there, though I don't feel the lack of knowledge would detract a reader from the story. It just made things like school life, teacher/police/parent/student/etc. responses, etc. make more sense. There were a couple of "monster" fights that were uniquely Japanese. If I hadn't seen the Hayao Miyazaki movie Spirited Away, it would have been harder to imagine black-tentacle monsters with dangling faces because I've never been one for Japanese horror/monster stuff. However, by envisioning No-Face or No-Name or whatever the character's name was, it gave me an idea of what the author was referring to. It was really interesting to see what constituted a "traditional" Japanese novel. Before Miyabe, the only other Japanese author I'd ever read was Haruki Murakami, and that was before I'd been to Japan. Back then, I just remember thinking that the Japanese have a very different outlook on life from us Westerners, and after having lived there, it definitely reaffirms that thought (albeit in a good way).


5) INK by Amanda Sun

Amanda Sun had a very similar experience to me, which initially drew me to her trilogy and had me anticipating them like nothing else! 
Because we both lived there, the authenticity that bled into the writing made me miss Japan. I also liked that I could emphasize with a main character who was homesick and in a country so fundamentally different from everything she's ever known. There are so many customs that are not our own that we learn about and absorb, such as leaving shoes at the doorway. (I still do it here in the USA when I go home and my family thinks I'm nuts!) This is a great book that explores being in a new country and learning to adapt to life all over again!

Have you lived in another country?
Are there books that make you nostalgic and bring back memories?