Water, Wood, and Wild Things invites readers to see what goes into making a fine bowl, a cup of tea, or a harvest of rice and introduces the masters who dedicate their lives to this work. We thoroughly enjoyed the detailed approach to Kirshner's journaling of her experiences in Yamanaka, a town nestled in the mountains of Ishikawa Prefecture.
Kirshner describes traditional activities of the town by introducing memorable characters such as Nakajima-san, an outspoken wood turner who makes delicate sake cups, to a band of fearless saka-ami (duck hunting by net) hunters. Acknowledging her privilege as an outsider to learn from these masters, Kirshner's spirit to go "all-in" and live amongst this small community is both inspiring and entertaining.
Part travelogue, part meditation on the meaning of work, and full of her own drawings and recipes, Kirshner's refreshing book is an ode to a place and its people, as well as a profound examination of what it means to sustain traditions and find purpose in cultivation and craft.