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Japan Ai: A Tall Girl's Adventures In Japan…

Japan Ai: A Tall Girl's Adventures In Japan

by Aimee Major Steinberger

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1301092,561 (4.02)9
  1. 10
    Moresukine: Uploaded Weekly from Tokyo by Dirk Schwieger (weener)
    weener: Both cute/interesting graphic vignettes about being a foreigner in Japan.

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A delightful graphic novel travelogue of the author's trip with friends to Japan, where they indulged in Japanese popular culture including anime, manga, cosplay, specialty shops, theater and more. I felt I got a good overview of current Japanese popular culture and the format was a fun way to illustrate its more colorful aspects. If you're into all pop culture things Japanese, "Japan Ai" may just inspire your own trip to Japan. Appendix includes websites and addresses of the stores and places the author visited. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Landing somewhere between a graphic novel, a travelogue, and a sketchbook, Japan Ai follows artist/animator Aimee and her friends Judy and AJ as they explore Japan. At six feet in height, Aimee literally stands above the crowd, but she doesn’t let that stop her from experiencing all that Japan has to offer, whether she’s people-watching in the shopping district of Harajuku in Tokyo, attending a Takarazuka musical performance, or visiting the VOLKS flagship store. With delightful sketches accompanying the handwritten text, Aimee takes readers with her every step of the way.

I really enjoyed Aimee’s story. Japan is one of the countries I’d most like to visit, because I love the culture and the art, but I have to admit that once I get there I don’t know what to do. While many of her activities were standard tourist recommendations: shopping in Tokyo, visiting a Shinto temple, and eating in a maid café. But she also did a lot of things that I’d consider more obscure, like visiting the all-female performance of a Takarazuka group. I’ve seen these theatrical performances mentioned several times – amongst other things, they’ve staged several Sailor Moon musicals – but I never realized that Takarazuka is a town, not a style of Japanese theater, and the all-female review was originally a gimmick put together in the early 20th century to bring tourists to the area. See? Aimee goes on an adventure, and I learn something new. Win-win!

One of the reasons I found this book better than the average travelogue was the strong sense of fun and joy that pervades every page. Many of the sketches, especially of street fashion, tend to be more realistic, so you do get a strong sense of what she saw on the trip. But when Aimee draws herself, it’s very cartoonish, although not as an “anime-style” girl. It suits the funny “fish outta water” moments really well, like when Aimee is being dressed in a kimono and the Japanese women must stand on chairs to fix her hair. Aimee also includes a lot of useful information, like hand-drawn layouts for the rooms she stayed in, a glossary to explain some of the terms she uses (especially useful for those not steeped in otaku culture) and an appendix with useful websites for planning your own trip to Japan. ( )
  makaiju | Jan 12, 2014 |
Interesting little graphic novel about three friends going for a quick vacation in Japan. Interesting comments and observations about the society they find are given. This almost functions as an alternative travel guide for younger people. However, it is just a very brief glance, so not much depth is given. ( )
  ironicqueery | Dec 22, 2009 |
An autobiographical explosion of colour, comedy and adventure. Possibly one of the most accurate books about being a (very tall!) tourist in Japan.

The writing itself is sparse and small snipits are allocated alongside some (beautiful and endearing) doodles. It is like reading a diary, with all the good and funny bits left in, and all the rambling taken out. All the sweet juice is left over.

The places to visit are all varied and interesting, and the personal touches make the book feel more accessible. The locations are all listed in the back of the book, with a few handy (though sadly not detailed) maps of where Aimee's gang wandered.

This book is a delightful read for any anime/manga fan that is looking to go to Japan and is lost in the LONELY PLANET section. I read this book before going to Japan myself (and I was glad I did!), in fact, reading this book will make anyone who considers Japan too expensive, rethink their choice.

This book ooozes cuteness, sass and comedy. Five stars if you are an anime/manga fan, four stars for the rest. ( )
  Spottyblanket | Aug 31, 2009 |
Aimee Major Steinberger does a great job of expressing her adventure in Japan via her cute AmeriManga drawing style. Many of the places she shares in Japan AI are places I wouldn't think would be possible to visit, such as a bath house or dressing up as a Geisha. This book makes me excited about traveling to Japan. ( )
  amorlibrorum | Jul 11, 2009 |
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An animator and author on dolls and Japanese popular culture describes her trip to Japan to visit the place where her favorite dolls are made and to see Kyoto and Tokyo, dress up in costumes, eat at theme restaurants, and shop.

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