For the first time, Meyer (Voices of South Africa, 1986; Voices of Northern Ireland, 1987) is unable to interview her subjects in their own language; the result is a much less successful book than its predecessors. Fascinated by the growing economic and cultural influence of Japan, Meyer spent a month traveling there and talking to students and their teachers and families. She divides the material she assembled into three sections (Japanese society in relation to the world; schools; and family), bracketed with her own overall impressions. Meyer still obtains most of her information here from personal interviews, but the necessity of working through interpreters has dissipated the power of the previous books. And, although her basic structure is sound, the piecemeal presentation of information makes a mosaic of impressions that fails to cohere as a picture. Unfortunately, the result is a routine travel book rather than the intended portrait of a society in transition.