There is a magical realism to the first steps in a new country. Some of the finest prose to convey this enchantment is Richard Brautigan’s short story collection “The Tokyo-Montana Express,” first published by Delacorte Press/Seymor Lawrence in 1980. Like stations on a fantasy railroad, the vignettes freewheel between Japan and America, making you laugh out loud and then quiet with melancholia.
Brautigan nails Tokyo like only a foreigner can. “The bars are closing in Shibuya,” he writes in “Shrine of Carp,” “and thousands of people are pouring out into the streets like happy drunken toothpaste, laughing and speaking Japanese.”