The Japanese manufacture myths as efficiently as they do televisions, and are as adept at selling them to men who visit their country. Since it is men who write most books on Japan, those myths are perpetuated in the West. Women, though, do not count in that most foreign of countries, and no one is interested in selling myths to them. Harriet Sergeant, who lived in Tokyo for six years, took advantage of this to slip behind the scenery. In this book she provides a glimpse of backstage Japan. From her early collision with a sumo wrestler in a public swimming bath, Harriet confronts Japan head on, to the mixed consternation and amusement of her Japanese friends. They show her the country as it really is, frequently as unpalatable as dried octopus, but yielding some unforgettable experiences - and acquaintances. There is Yuno, the professional gambler, who introduces Harriet to the gangster underworld with its labyrinthine tentacles of power; the old people of the Kobokan Community Centre, some of whom can remember vividly the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923; the beer-swilling Buddhist priest with an unorthodox taste in bathroom furniture; and Midori, the troubled young woman caught between East and West.