The Road Through Miyama

by Leila Philip. Random House, $17.95. Ms. Philip, equipped with Japanese language and training at the wheel, apprenticed herself to an unorthodox but distinguished pottery maker in the remote ceramic center of Miyama. That a foreign woman should do such a thing was cause for amused astonishment among the locals. Ms. Philip’s report of her experiences covers the history of the town, the art and agony of pottery making, and intriguing encounters with Japanese culture—events were sometimes totally surprising and sometimes very much like home. She enjoyed Miyama and its people, and so will readers of this quietly charming memoir.