Welcome Honorable Visitors

Six rich and robust touromaniancs in Japan

By William Wetherall

First posted 1 October 2006
Last updated 25 May 2010

1960 Putnam hardcover
1961 Crest Book paperback

Jean Raspail
Translated by Jean Stewart
Welcome Honorable Visitors
New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1960
186 pages, hardcover
Greenwich (CT): Fawcett Publications, 1961
159 pages, paperback (Fawcett World Library, Crest Book S430)
Cover drawing by Mitchell Hooks

The original French novel, Le Vent des Pins [The wind of the pines], was published in 1958 (Paris: René Julliard). The French edition was reissued in 1970 as Bienvenue Honorables Visiteurs.

Innocents abroad

This novel is a farce about the misadventures of six tourists of various nationalities and their guide, on a 30-day caper in Japan. The front cover blurb is a typical teaser: "Six innocents abroad on a not-so-innocent tour amid the geishas and gardens of Japan". The back cover expands on this.

They wanted to see Japan, the Japan not in
the guide books. But not even cynical tour director
Gilles Germain was prepared for the wildly uninhibited
success of his six rich and robust touromaniancs
in this ancient and honorable land.

Luscious Liliane Laage, for instance, got a
marvelous (also not listed in the guide-book)
introduction to Tokyo's karate champion. She taught
him holds he never knew and left him flat on his mat.

Then there was Douglas Cadwallader IV,
who wanted to know if it was true
what they said about geishas. It was!

As for the others -- and some of the more attractive
and restless natives -- well, welcome honorable
reader to this rollicking, intimate journey
through the Japan every thrill seeker
dreams about -- but rarely finds.

Raspail, born in 1925, is a fairly colorful writer of non-fiction related to travel and exploration -- and of novels, some less serious like this one, and others very serious, like The Camp of the Saints.

Many of Raspail's stories are based on his own journeys and expeditions. He has been to, and written about, most parts of the world, including East Asia.