This was an excellent read! I always love the way Ozeki portrays Japan and Japanese culture. Authors who aren't of Japanese descent often have a bad habit of making Japan and the Japanese ridiculously exotic and stereotypical (fixations on honor, for one).
Nao's story was so compelling I could hardly put the book down. Her narrative was by turns intriguing, heartbreaking, funny, and addicting. All the characters in her sections were wonderful.
I took off a half star because I didn't particularly care for the Ruth sections. Writers putting themselves in their books is something I never really enjoy. I felt like while the novel as a whole was really great, Ozeki's attempt at exploring the relationships between writer and reader didn't work all that well.