San Francisco State has a series of classes offered through the humanities department entitled "Biography of a City". I first encountered Kawabata through the Tokyo section - more a glorified literature course than anything comprehensive, we spent the vast majority of the semester reading about Tokyo's carnival district, Asakusa. (I say carnival as opposed to entertainment because the primary allure of the neighborhood was carnal in nature, and the atmosphere as described in Kawabata's novel decidedly festive and bacchanalian.)
While the style of this particular novel didn't resonate with, the subject matter so intrigued me that I made a point to visit it when I was in Japan last summer. The modern neighborhood is a far cry from its 1920s incarnation, to be certain, but! it was this novel that introduced me to Kawabata, and for that I am, well, superhellapsyched.
This sounds fascinating. I've added it to my Wishlist (should I keep it there)? I'm also curious about what other wonders of city-lit you encountered through those courses. Message me your top 3 or 5 sometime?