Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester
The Travel Tester reviews "Cool Tokyo Guide" by Abby Denson and "Tokyo Pop-Up Book" by Sam Ita.

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Ah Tokyo, you’re still one of my favourite cities in the world! Any time Tuttle offers me another review copy of one of their Japan books, I find it hard to say no :) This time, they’ve asked me to have a peek at two of their illustrated guides of the city: the Cool Tokyo Guide by Abby Denson and the Tokyo Pop-Up Book by Sam Ita.

While I’m personally not such a comic book fan, my curiousity got the better of me and I decided to have a look for you and show you what to expect:

 

COOL TOKYO GUIDE BOOK REVIEW

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

 

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About the Writer

Abby Denson is an award-winning International Manga artist a she has worked on a variety of comics in the past years. Besides her comic books, she is also the author of the coming-out story “Tough Love: High School Confidential” and another book about the land of the rising sun: “Cool Japan Guide”. On her blog “City Sweet Tooth“, she writes about New York’s best sweets, yummy! She’s also on Instagram, although I wish she would share more of her illustrations there rather than snaps of her neighbourhood, but still fun to get a peek behind the scenes of this creative woman.

 

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The Content of the Book

In this travel-guide-meets-comic-book, characters Abby, her husband Matt, friend Yuuko and sidekick Kitty Sweet Tooth will introduce you to different aspects of travel and life in Tokyo and beyond.

Abby covers topics such as travelling to Tokyo by train, getting around the city, local food and parts of the culture that are important for visitors to know.

Besides that, she goes a bit deeper into the daily life of people living in Japan and how different that often is to us Westerners, like how they get rid of trash, how toilets work and why everyone wears a surgical mask and uses paper tissues so much.

 

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

 

Photos & Illustrations

Abby’s drawings are simple, yet detailed, but most of all they’re incredible colourful and bright, which I really like. Together with funny quotes and personal observations, this book is very easy and enjoyable to read. The illustrations really show Abby’s fun personality and makes you look at the city with almost childlike wonder. This is definitely not your average guidebook, which seems fitting for a not so average city.

 

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

 

Practical Use

While this book can’t really replace a guidebook in the way of providing in-depth tips on where to stay and what to see and do, it does give you a nice look into the possibilities and unique culture of this city.

The chapters open with helpful phrases you can learn, she gives you tips on important social behaviour you should be aware of and there are some practical lists with addresses and websites of things you shouldn’t miss.

The focus definitely lies on entertaining you, but you pick up some interesting bits of knowledge along the way and many quick tips are shared. Almost like you are visiting the city with a friend!

 

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

Tips on how to behave at shrines and temples ^

 

Favourite Quote

“One thing I’ve picked up over my years of traveling is that you must be prepared to research, to make mistakes, and to perhaps even look foolish sometimes. It’s okay! That’s how you learn, and I’ve found the people of Japan can be very welcoming and eager to assist when they are asked for help.”

 

 

TOKYO POP-UP BOOK REVIEW

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

 

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About the Writer

Sam Ita studied graphic design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn before following his passion for paper engineering. His inspiration for his books come from comics, origami and the working of machines. His craft is then applied to publishing, advertising, animation, display and even toy design. He has a few pop-up books under his name, such as ‘Christmas Tree In-a-Box’, ‘The Odyssey’, ‘Moby Dick’, ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ and ‘Frankenstein’. He also created origami kits, which include ‘Flying Dragons Paper Airplanes’ and the ‘Next Generation Airplanes Kit’. You can find his website here.

 

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The Content of the Book

In this little book, you travel past some of Tokyo’s most famous landmarks with characters Chico (a 13-year-old boy that loves to take photos and tell stories) and his cat Neko (the Japanese word for cat). Of course, the cat goes wherever he wants and Chico has to chase him all over the city.

This book is a combination of a short story that shares the cultural highlights of Tokyo and some incredible paper engineering that will make you flip through the pages with wonder.

In the book you get introduced to the ancient Buddhist Asakusa Temple (from my favourite neighbourhood of the city, so I’m happy about that!), the shopping district above Akihabara Station, a Sumo wrestling match, a train in Shinjuku Station, The Tokyo Skytree Tower and an onsen (hot spring) at the bottom of iconic Mt. Fuji.

 

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

 

Photos & Illustrations

Who doesn’t like a good pop-up book? I remember as a kid that I was always fascinated with the way these kind of books were created, so if I would have been given the Tokyo Pop-Up Book as a kid, I would have been well pleased.

While the comics accompanying the pop-ups aren’t really my personal taste (I like reading a story from top to bottom, I just don’t enjoy reading from speech balloons that much, it always confuses me, but I can see how 8-12 year old kids would love this), the fold-out works of art (because that’s really what they are) are incredible. There is so much detail in the pop-ups and I found it great to see such creative representations of the buildings I’ve seen so many times on my own travels to Japan!

 

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

some parts you can even fold-out double ^

 

 

Practical Use

This book is definitely more for entertainment purposes than to act as a proper travel guide. While you go past the different highlights of the city, the paper pop-outs are the star of the show and the story is more about the characters than an in-depth insight into the city and the sights itself. I can definitely see how this book can interest kids to learn more about Tokyo and the rest of Japan after flipping through this book though!

 

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

 

 

 

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The Cool Tokyo Guide is a personable and entertaining guide that gives you a good overview of the amazing things the city of Tokyo has to offer you and is perfect for anyone with a visual learning style interested in the culture of Japan. I can see the book being popular not just for adults, but teenagers and perhaps even younger kids as well. Pop-Up Tokyo is also a fun way of introducing children to the uniqueness of Tokyo and the interactive and detailed pop-ups are simply mesmerizing, even as an adult. Both books are a creative approach to your standard travel guide, which I can only applaud!

 

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

More Japan Books by Tuttle Publishing that are Comic Book-Style!

 

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GET THESE BOOKS YOURSELF!

Title: Cool Tokyo Guide
Author: Abby Denson
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Language: English
ISBN-10: 4805314419
ISBN-13: 978-4805314418

Where to buy: Amazon UK // Amazon USA // Bol.com

 

Title: Tokyo Pop-Up Book
Author: Sam Ita
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Language: English
ISBN-10: 4805314346
ISBN-13: 978-4805314340

Where to buy: Amazon UK // Amazon USA // Bol.com

 

Make sure to also read our other Japan book reviews:

At Home in Japan & Etiquette Guide to Japan Book Review: Get to Know the Real Japan || The Travel Tester    At Home in Japan & Etiquette Guide to Japan Book Review: Get to Know the Real Japan || The Travel Tester    A Geek in Japan & Tokyo Geek's Guide Review: Dive Deep in Japan's 'Otaku' Culture || The Travel Tester Book Reviews    A Geek in Japan & Tokyo Geek's Guide Review: Dive Deep in Japan's 'Otaku' Culture || The Travel Tester Book Reviews    Zen Gardens and Temples of Kyoto & Japanese Inns and Hot Springs Book Review || The Travel Tester    Zen Gardens and Temples of Kyoto & Japanese Inns and Hot Springs Book Review || The Travel Tester

 

PIN IT FOR LATER!

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester

Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester   Cool Tokyo Guide & Tokyo Pop-Up Book Review || The Travel Tester
 

Disclaimer: I received both these books for review purposes from Tuttle Publishing all opinions are 100% my own, as always. This review includes affiliate links. If you purchase anything through these links, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for keeping the information on The Travel Tester free! 

 

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