It's common for Americans to stereotype the Japanese as conformist, rigidly organized, and immaculately tidy, but with Tokyo: A Certain Style
Kyoichi Tsuzuki makes remarkable progress toward broadening those impressions. Tsuzuki photographed the very lived-in interiors of numerous Tokyo houses and apartments, and then jammed his piles of pictures into the format of a short-of-stature book. The result is an engrossing look at the many ways people have adapted to Tokyo's notoriously cramped living spaces. There are several common threads--indoor clotheslines are used to supplement or replace closet space in almost every home--but each dwelling brings out its owner's personality. Some are breathtakingly cluttered, with bric-a-brac piled on electronic equipment and papers stacked on every flat surface, while others show so little evidence of the debris of daily living that one feels certain sorcery must be involved. Most charming are the "design" elements that show off the owners' little quirks: ingeniously improvised hooks and shelves, major appliances banished to the outdoors, and the extensive stuffed animal collection of a grown adult. Many photos simply boggle the mind with the sheer amount of stuff that can be crammed into incredibly small spaces, while others highlight the strange beauty that is often achieved in compressed living. Highly recommended for dorm-bound college students or anyone who has ever groused about a lack of space. --Ali Davis
An indispensable resource for quality-conscious visitors who don't want to blow their budgets.