Japanese Tales is a collection of classic, mostly mythical tales from early Japanese literature. I quite enjoyed the collection, even though it did take me a few pages to get into the flow of the way the stories are told – straightforward, not particularly literary and no beating around the bush!
Nope, these are not rewritten and retold stories by Royall Tyler. Instead, these are translations into English from the old books (with editing to make things better/clearer/more cohesive).
With 200+ tales, the stories definitely give you a glimpse into the Japanese mindset, never mind if they are stories from the past, especially for all things spiritual. I also was thrilled to find references to places I have actually been to, like Kyoto and Nara in particular. I also found it amusing that monks are not necessarily pious, especially in these stories. Who knew some of them event went round sleeping with women?
Many of these stories are told in jest and humour though, and I have to say this is a great collection if you’d like to learn a little bit more about Japan, even if it is a part you won’t quite see anymore.