I might have misjudged Mr. Iyer’s view of Japan, having been through only autumn and winter with him. In Spring, he gets better. This passage really appealed, especially since I’m going through a disillusionment phase meself.
“As I wandered in the days through the neighbouring streets, I could begin to see how Kyoto had lost by now a little of its imagined purity to me, the simple clarity of myth, had become in fact, so much a part of me that I could see it no more clearly than the back on which my shirt was hanging. The shops along the lanes seemed a little gaudy now, and no longer so uplifting – a sign, perhaps, that I was spoiled more than they were – and it was the brassy American songs on their sound systems I noticed and not the lovely geometry of their goods. Kyoto was no longer a magic lantern to me, more an album of photographs, thick with associations, particularized and domesticated. A certain hazy preciousness had been lost, on both sides, and in both senses of the word.”