Skip to content

Book Review & Giveaway MAY 2020

Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye

by Marie Mutsuki Mockett

Cover of book Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye by Marie Mutsuki Mockett

Setting & details: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Authenticity of Japanese characters & dialogue: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Translation quality: N/A
Entertainment value: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
My recommendation: Thought provoking and insightful

This is the book that made me want to visit Koya-san.

The author takes us along on her own search for meaning in the wake of her father’s death, and visits all the most fascinating pilgrimage sites in Japan. And they’re not all temples. From meditating at a famous Zen monastery to standing in line at the haunted lake where you can consult a blind medium to speak with the dead, the author seeks out legendary places of power and asks all the right questions

It’s the answers she gets from this wide variety of sages that I found myself highlighting (even though I am so NOT a highlight-y person GO FIGURE). Along the way, she delves into the quirky details of this ceremony or that tradition, and travels to seldom-visited corners of Japan, which makes her quest also the ultimate off-the-beaten-path Japan travel guide.

I’ll admit that I’m not usually a huge memoir fan––it’s hard for a writer to know which of their own experiences will be interesting and eye-opening to everybody, and which are only interesting to themselves––but Mockett (whose mother is Japanese) has an excellent sense of what’s fresh and thought-provoking, and does a wonderful job of translating what she was told into insights that are both clear and deep. (And sometimes quite funny – she can laugh at herself and the kind of missteps we’ve all made, when confronted with the strange and baffling.)

This book is about seeking wisdom, but it never reads as preachy or woo-woo, and the author allows us to eavesdrop on what each expert has to say, and lets it resonate (or not) for ourselves. The journey itself is filled with delightful characters and down-to-earth moments that make this a delightful read, from beginning to end.

If you’re already a Japanagram subscriber, you’re automatically entered in the April giveaway of Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye, but if you’re not and you’d like a chance to snag a copy, sign up for Japanagram and check the June issue to see if you won!

Get fresh Japan goodness and be entered to win the book giveaway every month when you subscribe to

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is japanagramlogo1306-1.jpg

Every issue is filled with good food, dream destinations, a book giveaway & more! And best of all, it’s FREE!

Click here to

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is getjapanagram-1.jpg

And just so you know, I hate spam too, so I’ll never share or sell your contact info and you can easily unsubscribe at any time by using the link at the foot of every Japanagram.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cropped-siteicon.jpg

Jonelle Patrick writes mystery novels set in Tokyo, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: