Heading to Japan soon? Or just want to reminisce about those halcyon days when you were wondering among the cherry blossoms with a can of chu-hai in hand? Whether you’re heading out to Tokyo as an exchange student or planning the trip of a lifetime, we’ve got two amazing books from Tuttle Publishing to give away that give you an insight into one of the world’s most fascinating countries.
See below for a chance to win both these books!
Tokyo: Capital of Cool
First up, we have ex-pat Tokyoite Rob Goss’ book Tokyo: Capital of Cool, a beautifully presented hardback with remarkable photographs of life in a truly breathtaking city. The book takes readers on a tour of Tokyo’s key locations, from the cutting-edge craziness of Akihabara to the quiet magnificence of the Meiji Shrine. There are clear, helpful maps to help readers find their bearings in the megalopolis, and the way the book divides Tokyo into its many and varying districts makes it easy to understand for first-time travellers. Each section also includes a summary of the area’s history and highlights places of interest in each district, which are also marked on the adjoining map. This means that readers can quickly locate the sights that interest them most without being intimidated by the sheer volume of choice that Tokyo presents.
The book also introduces readers to the charms of places that lie just beyond the capital, such as Kamakura, with its astonishing giant Buddha, and the legendary hot springs (onsen) of Hakone, both of which are perfect escapes when the crush of the capital’s crowds proves too overwhelming. But the most remarkable thing about this book is the way in which Goss and others capture Tokyo’s many faces, which lose none of their real-life visual vibrancy in the photographs. If you’ve never been to Tokyo before, the photographs are enough to make you want to jump on the next flight and experience it for yourself. If you have been to Tokyo, one glance will make that bittersweet-natsukashii nostalgia well up within you and make you wonder why you ever left. Take a look at Goss’ blog for more: http://www.tokyofreelance.com/.
Cool Japan Guide: Fun in the Land of Manga, Lucky Cats and Ramen
The second book in the giveaway is Abby Denson’s Cool Japan Guide: Fun in the Land of Manga, Lucky Cats and Ramen. Denson, herself a comic book artist, renders her Japanese travels in manga form, introducing readers to the unique aspects of Japan’s culture in a cute, accessible way. Denson does not only focus on Tokyo, but takes her readers on a whistle-stop tour of the archipelago, not forgetting the unique regional cultures of areas like Osaka and Kyoto. We are introduced to the many mysterious delights of the jidohanbaiki (the vending machine), the Japanese bathtime ritual (invaluable for anyone planning a homestay), and different types of Japanese food, from street food to traditional kaiseki ryori.
The book also includes useful tips for anyone travelling to Japan for the first time – such as what to pack – and includes hints on how to settle into Japanese culture in record time. At the back of the book there is a list of all the locations featured in Denson’s comic book adventure, including addresses and blurbs on what to expect if you decide to try them out. Another useful feature of the book is that it introduces readers to key Japanese words and phrases, taking some of the anxiety out of experiencing an East Asian culture for the uninitiated. On the whole this book is certainly kawaii, and has lots of great advice for those who are heading on their first Japanese adventure. The book is also suitable for younger readers, since it presents complex cultural norms in an extremely accessible way. You can check out Denson’s blog here: http://cooljapanguide.tumblr.com/.
Both books remind us why we love Japan so much, and why we miss it whenever we’re away! But in a sense both books also present Japan as a tourist’s dream; glossing over the many frustrations – cultural and linguistic – that foreigners often experience. Still, if you want to know more about what to expect in Japan as a tourist, or just want to know more about one of the most exciting places to visit in Asia, then these books are for you.
HOW TO WIN THESE BOOKS
For a chance to win these books, all you have to do is tell us via our “About” page why you want to visit Japan. The competition will end at midnight (JST) on August 23, and entries will be drawn at random. Remember to include your name and an e-mail address to be in with a chance of winning!
For more on these books, check out their homepages on Tuttle Publishing: