Monks who cherish Mickey Mouse and collect motorbikes, hardened businessmen who read love poetry and geishas who visit temples...Such was the paradoxical world that Pico Iyer was confronted with when he spent a year in the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto. On a mission to learn the subtleties of Zen and to discover how much his romantic childhood dream of Japan reflects its reality, Iyer throws himself into a culture that is elusive and out of reach. Then he meets Sachiko. Elegant and refined, dreaming of rock stars and America, she embodies all that is contradictory about Japan and yet through their friendship, the country's fusion of ancient and modern, east and west, begins to make sense. Through Sachiko, Iyer begins to put aside his illusions of Japan and understand its reality. "The Lady and the Monk" is a many layered love story and a heartfelt portrait of Japan in all its beguiling complexity.