As we climbed the last stretch to Gifu castle at the other end of the funicular, Mai and I discovered a shared love of the Tales of the Otori trilogy, by Lian Hearn. We were sort of both spontaneously reminded of the story by the settings of the castle and surrounding area.
The first book, Across the Nightingale Floor, opens with a partial and (from what I can work out) paraphrased poem from the Manyōshū, the oldest collection of Japanese poetry in existence, and I love it:
The deer that weds
The autumn bush-clover
Sires a single fawn
And this fawn of mine
This lone boy
Sets off on a journey
Grass for his pillow
Hearn hides the title of each book within the text of the previous book. In this case, the poem contains the title of the sequel: Grass for his Pillow. She has also brought out a fourth book set later in the original timeline, as well as a prequel (which is beautiful).
I can’t recommend these books enough! Also while checking info for this I found out Hearn has new books out. I will perhaps do a review when I can get round to reading them!