Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Bells of Old Tokyo: Meditations on Time and a City” as Want to Read:
The Bells of Old Tokyo: Meditations on Time and a City
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Bells of Old Tokyo: Meditations on Time and a City

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  23 reviews
An elegant and absorbing tour of Tokyo and its residents

From 1632 until 1854, Japan’s rulers restricted contact with foreign countries, a near isolation that fostered a remarkable and unique culture that endures to this day. In hypnotic prose and sensual detail, Anna Sherman describes searching for the great bells by which the inhabitants of Edo, later called Tokyo, kept t
...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 13th 2019 by Picador (first published May 16th 2019)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Bells of Old Tokyo, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Bells of Old Tokyo

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  52 ratings  ·  23 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Thebooktrail

description

Visit the locations in the novel

A very interesting concept for a book and a guide book to Tokyo. It’s not a novel , guide book or any one of these things, but a mix of many and that’s what so appealing. We travel and discover the land and its people with Anna, who as an outsider, has an interesting view of this fascinating country and city.

I loved the idea of the bells and the concept of time. Something we take for granted now, but which started off very differently in other countries is somethi
...more
Jill S
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I really wanted to love this book. I ordered it from the UK before it was even published in Canada because I couldn't wait to read it. But I think it might be my biggest let down of the year.

This book is (supposedly) an examination of the cultural changes of Japan framed through the author's journey to visit all the sites of Japan's "Bells of Time", which for hundreds of years were rung all over the city to signal important moments of the day. This book isn't that, though. What it is is a hot me
...more
Katja
Jun 27, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-english
Ufff, reading this was like wading through tar. I almost dropped it but then I noticed there's almost hundred pages of notes and source material listing, so I thought to skim through a few dozen pages I had left.
I wanted to like this, little images of Japanese history sounded interesting. But it was too fragmented, tried sometimes too hard to be poetic and I just didn't find the overall style enjoyable to read at all. Shame, because there are fascinating historical tidbits and experiences here a
...more
Taina
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Tämä oli todella Tokioinen - palasista koostuva sekava kokonaisuus, jonka lukeminen oli ihanaa. Tokiossa on aikoinaan ollut kelloja, joita on soitettu ajan merkiksi ympäri kaupunkia. Kirjailija lähtee jäljittämään kelloja ja tulee samalla kertoneeksi paljon aikakäsityksistä, Tokion historiasta ja kaupunginosien luonteista. Kerrontatapa on lyyrinen ja vangitseva, tietokirjalta tämä ei tunnu. Loppu töksähtää yhtäkkiä harmittavasti, mielelläni olisin lukenut lisääkin. Tunnelmalukijoille, historianä ...more
Laura
What a thoughtful and engaging book - will appeal mostly to people with either an interest in Japan/ Tokyo or those who have lived as expats anywhere. I loved hearing about Anna's experience as an expat and how she developed deep connections during her time in Japan. I haven't been to Japan but lived overseas for eight years so could relate quite a bit to some of her experiences. Beautiful writing.
Jack Wrighton
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This had an almost hypnotic effect on me. The subject is fascinating, and Sherman does an amazing job of tracking her physical (and cerebral) journey through the city. The language is sharp too, there’s not a wasted word in the entire book. Whether you know the city or not I’d highly recommend it.
Amanda Lange
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
“The Bells of Old Tokyo” is mesmerizing. Anna Sherman writes in a melodic way that mirrors what she finds in Japan, a blend of philosophy, beauty, dark and light. This is a travelogue that reads more like a philosophical novel and the author moves between the role of archaeologist and anthropologist to that of the storyteller. The girth of the book boasts of the author’s intense desire to bring together lyrical notes and poems, academic research, and raw observation. I appreciated her sensitivit ...more
Esmée
Jun 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, books-i-own
A lovely book about Tokyo and its history. It really made me want to revisit the city and learn more about its past. Sherman does a great job getting you intrigued, but the book felt a little aimless to me as well. It's now a mix between a historical, modern day and memoirish narrative and I found it difficult to figure out where the emphasis was supposed to be. I think that if it had focused on one of those more heavily instead of at all of them, the book would have worked better for me. That s ...more
Dan (aka Utterbiblio)
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very abrupt ending held this back from 5 stars. It's a beautiful meditation on the concept of time and the differences between Eastern and Western attitudes. The travels of Anna through Tokyo make for interesting and eye-opening reading. It's less about the bells than the actual idea of time and how it effects us and our lives.

Some beautiful writing that seems to transport the reader. Utterly stunning.
Sarah
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Relatively good book. I learned interesting historical facts about Tokyo and Japan. I liked the idea of traveling in time through bells and clocks. I was a bit disappointed in the structure. There’s no flow to the story, too bad because the fragments of stories she was saying were really interesting.
Danni Jervis
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful exploration of Tokyo in an unusual manner. The historical context merged with the modern day culture really showcased how it is an ever changing city. The sense of realism that comes from Sherman being treated very much as a Gaijin while she explores is very honest.

I'd highly recommend this for those who have visited Japan before or have read other travel memoirs in Japan.
NidhaRajoli
Jul 25, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: travel, non-fiction
I really have been wanting to go to Tokyo forever! Hopefully this book can give me some insight about the wonderful city! Can’t wait for this! Rising up on the endless TBR.
Randi Kennedy
Strange and lovely, with poetry and grace, Sherman endeavors to capture time and a restless city.

Great for lovers of philosophy, history, and Japan.
Bethwyn (Butterfly Elephant Books)
DNF @ 25%
Just not meshing with the writing style, and there are a few biases coming through that just made me uncomfortable. Not interested in reading more of this one.
Amber Sherlock
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fascinating, melodic and winding tale of time and the differences between East and West. soft and mesmerising, Sherman weaves philosophy and anthropology into a fine weave of a book.
Rhonda Lomazow
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lyrical look at Ol Tokyo the author takes us back in time to the bellringers of Tokyo and to the present a unique lyrical tour of this cuty I hope to visit someday.
Lara (Bookishsolace)
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to picador for sending me a copy of the book!
The bells of old Tokyo is a beautifully written guide to a city that that once was and partly still exists to this day. Anna Sherman travels through Tokyo in search of the temple bells of the ancient city of Edo and takes the reader on a journey to discover the land and its unique people. It is a travel guide of some sorts and could definitely be used as a more unique guide to exploring Tokyo, far away from overcrowded places.
This novel is
...more
Rebecca
Having just read "Japan Story: In Search of a Nation from 1850" by Dr Christopher Harding, this is an apt continuation for any Japonophile.

Despite the romantic-melancholic flair of writing, I don't recommend this book for those who are seeking the typical images of Japan. It reveals the less flattering side of the nation, and unless you are ready for it, it won't be enjoyable.

Essentially, this book explores the concept of time in the psyche of the Japanese. I like at how Sherman attempted to de
...more
Elif
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"It’s because we last only for a blink that our lives matter so much."

English: https://elifthereader.com/books/the-b...
Türkçe: https://kitaplikkedisi.com/kitaplar/t...
Thijs Joores
rated it really liked it
Mar 07, 2019
Paul "Axl" Hurman
rated it really liked it
May 25, 2019
Maxine Anders
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
“The Bells of Old Tokyo” is mesmerizing. Anna Sherman writes in a melodic way that mirrors what she finds in Japan, a blend of philosophy, beauty, dark and light. This is a travelogue that reads more like a philosophical novel and the author moves between the role of archaeologist and anthropologist to that of the storyteller. The girth of the book boasts of the author’s intense desire to bring together lyrical notes and poems, academic research, and raw observation. I appreciated her sensitivit ...more
Elena
rated it really liked it
Aug 04, 2019
Giantjoy
rated it really liked it
Jul 23, 2019
Margot
rated it it was amazing
Aug 06, 2019
Lienkie
rated it it was amazing
Jul 19, 2019
Hannah
rated it it was amazing
May 26, 2019
Alan Shaw
rated it it was ok
Jul 25, 2019
Lucky Mae F. Quilao
rated it liked it
Aug 03, 2019
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »