I've always had the fantasy of joining a monastery. A friend who actually lived at one for some time said it was more challenging than you'd think. I haven't really read a memoir of being in one, so this book is greatly appreciated, even though I doubt I would enter such a violent monastery. I wonder even if that is a possibility in the USA. What attracts me is the simplicity and commitment to the path. What repels me is the retreat from the world. I've been thinking about the Bodhisattva path recently, one of engagement with others. Maybe that's why I'm interested in seeing the other side of things.
The back blurb says this 1996 book was a sensation in Japan. It's taken 19 years to get an English translation by Juliet Winters Carpenter. Not that she took that long to translate this book. (Click on this link to learn more about JWC.)