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Drainspotting: Japanese Manhole Covers Hardcover – June 22, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Mark Batty Publisher (June 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982075472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982075470
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.7 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #576,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Japano phil on August 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is truly amazing. I had no idea that manhole covers such as these even existed! They don't in my country or anywhere else for that matter. The book is fascinating using highly professional photographs taken by Remo Camerota. He definitely has a great sensibility when it comes to photography, which only is avaialable from years of experience. This is apparent in his first title Graffiti Japan and NOW his latest title Drainspotting - a look at Japanese pop culture through the "hieroglyphic reading of manhole covers to reveal stories of urban history that can only be recovered from the logos and markings of these designs". Quoted from the book.
Not only that - You can download Extra Photographs and Story descriptions from the Itunes App store. Drainspotting Extras is available on Itunes App store for your Ipad/Ipod/Iphone etc etc.
When I visited Japan last month, I went drainspotting myself and I used my Iphone App and this book to locate nearly all of the Drain covers in both mediums. This book is fantastic and has changed the way I look at things and the way I travel. This is what spurred me to write this review. I just got back from my trip and this book and apps made it all the more better.
Forget about traveling guides, or lonely planet, its artistic books like this that will really make an impact on your life. AND on top of it all it, is a great conversation starter as nobody knows that things like this even exist!
Thank you Remo for opening my eyes to what is around us and on the ground!
You can keep up with the Drainspotting world on Remo's blog here: [...]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Bromberg on October 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
During the 1980s Japan experienced country-wide resistance to replacing ancient sewer systems until one politician came up with an idea that approached the old problem in a new way. He appealed to civic pride by suggesting, and then implementing, the idea of custom manhole covers for each community.

The idea was a great success -- sewer systems were repaired and many towns received the benefit of an unexpected civic boosterism, as well as a new kind of art appreciation: thousands of one-of-a-kind manhole covers that tell local history and commemorate local heroes.

"Drainspotting" is a brick-sized photo collection of these unique artworks in appropriately less-than-coffeetable format (six-by-six inches). Besides being an unexpected and attractive art, the result has been a beneficial civic program, a great example of how the demands of politics, the needs of communities, and the aesthetics of art can combine -- and a reminder how rarely they do, too.

Since their original introduction the manhole covers have taken on new themes. Designs range from images that evoke a region's cultural identity, from flora and fauna to landmarks and local festivals. There are even fairytales and fanciful images dreamed up by school children. With its photographs organized by individual region, Drainspotting documents another distinct aspect of contemporary Japanese visual culture.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on September 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Drainspotting: Japanese Manhole Covers is a fine, recommended pick for both arts and Japanese culture libraries. Its subject is artistic Japanese manhole covers, and color photos of different covers pack every page, illustrating the covers of both contemporary and historic art. Any Japanese art library needs this!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a great example of putting one's pen to paper. I really admire this author's gumption for undertaking and successfully completing this project. Just the act of getting a publisher to buy into the idea is audacious, never mind the time and effort it took to get this book to press, thus my full bodied anticipation of the book itself.

I came to this book via the author's earlier published book looking at Japanese wall art graffiti. From that book I appreciated the author's eye and respected his ability to take an interesting snap so I guess you could say that I knew what to expect from him. In this sense, it may be surprising that I didn't like many of the aesthetic choices the author made both editorial and pictorial.

While I don't quibble with his choices he made in selecting manhole covers to shoot, I often didn't like the way the graphics and photographs were juxtaposed. The page layouts left a bit to be desired, frankly. As to the editorial comments, I thought they were few and far between and those there were often too terse to be edifying.
One is also left wondering how the provinces the author visited were chosen....one suspects this had something to do with author's perambulations while he was pursuing graffiti art in the isles.
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