Japanese cuisine has been the subject of only a few Western cookbooks, of which the intelligent if mistitled Complete Book of Japanese Cooking by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz and Michiko Endo has hitherto been the best. Andoh, an American now living in Japan, adopts a somewhat different approach. Her recipes are partly organized around such usual categories as soups, rice, and sweets, but instead of separate sections for meat, fish, and vegetables she groups her more substantial dishes by Japanese preparation-categories--""braised and simmered,"" ""deep-fried,"" ""steamed,"" etc. This certainly helps the American reader find the fight frame of reference. There is also an introductory section about equipment and techniques that far surpasses the corresponding notes in the Ortiz-Endo book; the illustrations (by Michiko Fujiwara) are also vastly more copious and systematic. Most of the recipes call for ingredients that must be specially purchased, and here one suspects that Andoh is out of touch with U.S. shopping; a listing of retail sources would have been helpful. But the recipes themselves are detailed and loving, and cover a wonderful range. There are one or two American favorites like sukiyaki and tempura, but most of this fare will be terra incognita to many cooks: rice-bran pickles, string beans in a sesame-and-bean-paste sauce, braised chicken livers, small eggplants stuffed with a gingery shrimp mixture, clams in mustard-and-bean-paste sauce. A delightful and very useful introduction.