A Letter From the Publisher: Jun. 13, 1988

A monk's cell in a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan, is not your ordinary writer's retreat. But then TIME Contributor Pico Iyer is not your ordinary writer. For one thing, he travels a lot. For the past eight months he has used Kyoto -- either the temple or a tiny apartment in the ancient city -- as a base camp for his forays around Japan and into the Himalayas. Iyer's trips have provided grist for a book in progress and recent TIME stories on the Dalai Lama and Tokyo Disneyland. "I try to catch the inner stirrings of a country,"...

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