Most remote islands of the imagination conjure up paradise. Japan is an archipelago of puzzlement. From the sands that forged their swords and serenity, they traveled a Samurai Road of temples and shrines, feudal fortresses, and flowing mountain streams of wasabi. On sashimi and soy sauce, and green tea over rice, they lived a thousand years of pathos, under cherry blossoms and ephemeral moonlight, in Zen gardens and futon dreams. It was all so perfect.