“I would strongly recommend Woody as a guide on any literary quest” – Paul, South West region WEA / CASA learner

Woody River has been introducing a group of us to highlights of Japanese literature. There can be something daunting about approaching so foreign a culture but also something entrancing and stimulating. Under Woody’s enthusiastic and well informed guidance, we have entered a world of new experiences and through a wide range of personalities and literary styles, we have incidentally become more acquainted with the geography, history and psychology of Japan.

We ranged from the poetic rustic travels of the 17th century Basho and the mystical stories of 18th century Akinari, steeped in classical legend, to the social concerns of Higuche and very modern identity issues of Akutagawa, reflecting the turbulent changes as Japan opened up dramatically to the West after the mid 19th century. Extracts from Ibuse’s Black Rain on the traumatic aftermath of Hiroshima provoked discussion and reflection on our knowledge of, and attitudes to, Japan, as was skillfully engineered by our tutor on all the works we covered. I would strongly recommend Woody as a guide on any literary quest.

- Paul, South West region WEA / CASA learner

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