I was a bit more successful with this challenge. I didn’t have much luck (or time) with finding books set in Japan & Australia, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I found set in Portugal. Next up Thailand.
Most people have childhood dreams; few ever pursue them. At the age of 34, John Pollack quit a prestigious speechwriting job on Capitol Hill to pursue an idea he had harbored since the age of six: to build a boat out of wine corks and take it on an epic journey.
In Cork Boat, Pollack tells the charming and uplifting story of this unlikely adventure. Overcoming one obstacle after another, he convinces skeptical bartenders to save corks, corrals a brilliant but disorganized partner, and cajoles more than a hundred volunteers to help build the boat, many until their fingers bleed. Hired as a speechwriter for President Clinton midway through construction, Pollack soon has the White House saving corks, too. Ultimately, he and his crew set sail down the Douro River in Portugal, where the boat becomes a national sensation. Written with unusual grace and disarming humor, Cork Boat is a buoyant tale of camaraderie, determination, and the power of imagination.
You can read my review here