First Lines Friday: 13th January

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

If you’re using Twitter, don’t forget to use #FirstLinesFridays!

Cape Sata is the end of Japan.
When you turn your back to the sea and look northward, all of mainland Japan is balanced, swordlike, above you.

Read on to find out which book this extract is from…




Hokkaido Highway Blues by Will Ferguson

INFO | Goodreads

BUY | The Book Depository


The book follows Will Ferguson as he hitchhikes 1,800 miles north through Japan following the Cherry Blossom Front (Sakura Zensen). The arrival of the blossom is a national event in Japan, eagerly tracked on television bulletins, and besides marking the end of winter and the start of the business cycle it facilitates a burst of heavy drinking disguised as a communal meditation on transience.

Surveying the country from the not quite private, not quite public, position of the passenger seat, Ferguson sees the Japan not written about in guide books, but gets to the heart of this intriguing and contradictory country. This is a laugh out loud, warm-hearted account with a generous helping of satire.

I was gifted this book for Christmas, and started it the other day.  It was recommended to me alongside For Fukui’s Sake by a friend with excellent reading taste, and despite having the smallest writing I’ve seen in years, it is so far a very enjoyable read!  Plus, it is giving me a real sense of wanderlust, and I’m desperate now to return to Japan again…

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