The Figurative Mountain

The figurative mountain exists in the book “Three Tigers, One Mountain”, which is obviously referring to the East Asia. How about adding Russia as another tiger to the tree since the Russians have fought Japanese in many battles, on land and on high seas, for more than one hundred years. How about throwing Mongolia to the mix, though there’s only one conflict in which it participated–Battles of Khalkhin Golk. I want to know more about this region and will read anything that’s related to it. Those historical books are especially preferable, but this book is not written by a historian but rather by a journalist, who traveled in the three countries, visited places, talked with people. In many places, my interests were seriously piqued but could only content with passing comments. For example, I would really like to know how Japanese, who refused to open up for Jesuits and Portuguese for two hundred years, came to welcome American Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853, how Chinese came to be translators, how Koreans fend off Japanese for so long.

Despite a little unsatisfied, I really like the book when it talks about the differences between Japanese and Korean. The author has a great way of making keen observations, inciting the readers interests, but quickly dropping the subject before getting the readers satisfied. Probably the book is not for Asians, but rather it is for non-Asians who don’t want to get into details and who enjoy a bit of travelogue, with a bit of historical conflicts as spice to throw in, for amusement.

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