ISSUE: Spring 2012
STORY: Anna M. Park
I have no sense of direction whatsoever, so when I got turned around in a Kyoto neighborhood, all would have been lost were it not for the sweet Japanese couple who didn’t speak a word of English but offered to take me to the ryokan I was searching for. If I had something like Florent Chavouet’s Tokyo on Foot, I would’ve been in much better shape. Filled with adorable, quirky drawings of food stands, local policemen and scenes of everyday life, Chavouet includes fascinating tidbits like what the bottle labeled “Suntory Dakara” tastes like and the differences between the various “hipsters.” In addition to fairly detailed, hand-drawn maps with important markers like “fantastic free panoramic views” and “the dirtiest restrooms in Japan,” Chavouet graphically recounts everything from his search for an apartment and encounters with local insects, to a bike theft debacle during his six-month stay there, making for a charming, amusing read. Details Paperback, $22.95, tuttlepublishing.com.