Bill Berkson : The Far Flowered Shore


The Far Flowered Shore (Japan 2006/ Japan 2010) are travel books but not diaries, and would certainly not be of any use to anyone looking to find one’s way around Japanese cities.

Both notebooks are made by Quaderno–soft, pliable, light-weight school exercise books with blank, unlined pages, made in Italy but available elsewhere (even, it turned out, in a Kyoto department store). I filled them as usual, on impulse, scribbling down and pasting in whatever seemed worth noting, and as you see, not always about Japan. A lot of the scrawls are due to trying to write while walking.The notes cover two trips to Japan that Connie Lewallen and I made in April 2006 and again in 2010: the first to Kyoto and Tokyo, with a day trip from Kyoto to Nara; and the second to Kyoto, the “museum island” of Naoshima and Osaka.

“Have good trip to the far flowered shore,” wrote Joanne Kyger on the eve of our second time out.

— Bill Berkson

The Far Flowered Shore notebooks were reproduced as full-color, hardcover, facsimiles by Cuneiform Press in 2013. The 2006 and 2010 notebooks are accompanied by a third volume containing a transcript of the text typeset in Bulmer. Housed in a slipcase produced by Craig Jenson at BookLab II, one hundred copies were produced, of which fifty are for sale exclusively from Cuneiform Press. (2013)

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