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Tokyo on Foot: Travels in the City's Most Colorful Neighborhoods Paperback – June 10, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"…hand-drawn maps…provide information about the various neighborhoods in the city — hence; it can prove to be very helpful for your trip planning." —I Am Aileen blog

"This stunning book records the city that [Florent Chavouet] got to know during his adventures, a gritty, vibrant place, full of ordinary people going about their daily lives. Realistically rendered city views or posters of pop stars contrast with cartoon sketches of iconic objects or droll vignettes…With wit, a playful sense of humor, and the colored pencils of his kit, Chavouet sets aside the question of urban ugliness or beauty and captures the Japanese essence of a great city." —Japan Today

"His drawings are so wonderfully idiosyncratic and so beautifully detailed that what must have been a labor of love for him is no less a labor of delightful artistic genius." —Publishers Weekly starred review

"[Tokyo on Foot] will make readers with wanderlust wish to drop their everyday responsibilities and trek through a foreign city. It will appeal to the armchair traveler who yearns for a bit of the exotic, the wanderer who wants to someday visit the Land of the Rising Sun, and, indeed, anyone who appreciates the marriage of grit and beauty, self-deprecating wit, and losing oneself in good pictures for a while." —ForeWord Reviews

"From what Chavouet saw, did, ate—bugs, festivals, storefronts, a fake French mansion, random drinks and snacks—his illustrations catch perfect little details you'll never find in any guide book. His myriad of people caught in the midst of their everyday lives are undoubtedly the book's highlight. […] By the time he's back in his native France, he's got an award-winning, fascinating book that surely makes for ideal reading for both armchair tourists and peripatetic travelers alike." —Book Dragon (Smithsonian Institute)

"The book captures the feel and spirit of the Japanese metropolis in comical sketches, sparse writings and whimsical, hand-drawn city maps. The book is a diary of Chavouet's six months in Tokyo. And, it's worth the money, at least for people who can appreciate Chavouet's observations on life in Japan and who can enjoy his artwork, which is intriguing, if somewhat reminiscent of classic Mad Magazine drawings. Chavouet depicts the everyday sights of Tokyo—much of which are universal sights in homogeneous Japan—in a way that's so detailed that you feel as if you can walk into the pages. It's almost like the feeling you get when you see one of those picture-perfect towns made of Legos. "—About.com

"…as for Chavouet—colorful, farcical, artistically superior Chavouet—his way of seeing Japan is insightful and entertaining for over two hundred pages. The execution is confident—a positive side-effect of it having no agenda but to represent his individual experience." —Axiom Magazine

"This is the first book by Mr. Chavouet in which he chronicled his adventures in Japan with his gorgeous hand-drawn pictures and in writing. […] This book can be enjoyed by anyone who is interested in Japan, especially Tokyo. As well as those who like quality drawings of people in their daily lives." —Tokyo Five blog

About the Author

Florent Chavouet is a young graphic artist and author living in Paris. When he returned from Japan, he realized that all the observing and sketching he had done in Tokyo led to his evolution as an artist. This is his first book. florentchavouet.com
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Paperback with Flaps edition (June 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4805311371
  • ISBN-13: 978-4805311370
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Parka TOP 50 REVIEWER on June 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
Length: 1:16 Mins
This isn't the usual travel guide book that tells you where to go, it's one that Florent Chavouet drew to show you where he went. He's a French guy who's in Japan to accompany his girlfriend because she's working there.

It's a 208-page paperback filled with colour pencil drawn observations on the places he went. There are interesting notes on the people and culture and his many little adventures.

His beautiful colour pencil illustrations give Tokyo a very different look and feel. It's a light-hearted look at Tokyo as a tourist. I don't know if Tokyo is this colourful, but in the book it is.

The hand drawn maps are nicely drawn with icons and places of interest. On some pages, there are collages from things he collect, like cutout of manga panels and the bicycle parking tickets he got for parking in restricted areas.

It's an amusing book to check out.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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Format: Paperback
I wish I could write two reviews - one for the Kindle version and one for the hard copy.

I initially purchased the kindle version of the book, and right off the bat I had difficulty reading it. This isn't really an e-book where you can control the size of the text to make words more legible. The kindle version is simply scanned images of the book's pages that have been sequenced together.

The scans themselves are small - the "native" scan size occupies half my iPad screen. So in order to read just about everything other than the intro (which is in a typewriter-style font), you have to pinch and zoom. Unfortunately, when you zoom in, you discover that the resolution of the scanned page is not very high, and therefore the text is pixilated. The text/notes within the sketches are hand-written (in some cases, cursive),and therefore the notes are quite difficult to read (and in a of couple cases for me, impossible to read. I don't understand why the scan resolution is so low - the hard copy is larger than the screen of my iPad.

In addition, since you need to zoom in, reading through the book is cumbersome: Zoom in, swipe page around the screen to see everything, zoom out, then move to the next page.

So I returned the kindle version and ordered a hard copy. As always, Amazon was outstanding with handling this.

The hard copy is FANTASTIC - I would give it five stars. It is something I would bring back from Japan as a souvenir if I found it in a Tokyo bookstore.

But I have to give the kindle version a one-star rating because of the low scan resolution and the cumbersome nature of reading the book.
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Format: Paperback
I am an American that has lived in Tokyo for over 25 years now. And I have to say that I think this is possibly one of the best books ever written about my favourite city! Whether you are a wide-eyed tourist visiting for the first-time or a long term resident, you will be able to find in this book many of the things that make us all wonder at this city of contradictions. Indescribable, this book is part travel-log/part picture-book, and all fun. This is NOT a guidebook, but for the person who loves to just get lost in a city, it could be a wonderful guide. In any case, if you have ever been to Tokyo or desire to go, this is one book to have. Clever, funny, cute, and meaningful, I can't recommend Chavouet's first book enough! Bravo! Fantastic!!!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I almost didn't pick up this book, with its dull "Tokyo on Foot" title ... which, in addition to being pretty generic, isn't even accurate--as we learn in several amusing anecdotes, this is actually "Tokyo on Bicycle"! However, the whimsical sketches on the front and back cover grabbed my attention, and as soon as I started flipping through the pages I was hooked. I lived in Japan for two years, one of them in Yokohama (so I am quite familiar with Tokyo), and this captured the experience of living in the Tokyo area perfectly: hunched over grannies, aggressive insects, old bicycles, expensive fruit, taxi drivers, police officers who seem to strive to be either your best friend or worst enemy, a mix of curiosity and suspicion toward the gaijin who actually are *living* in Japan as opposed to simply passing through as tourists, etc., etc. One of the only major omissions I can think of that a resident of Tokyo will notice is the absence of trains, subways, etc. (this is "Tokyo on Foot"/by bike, after all).

Note, however, that this is not really the "tourist's Tokyo". The fact that this book starts off in nondescript Machiya (an area of Tokyo warranting only a few scant sentences even in the Japanese language version of Wikipedia) should be a clue. If you pick up this book hoping to see sketches of Meiji Shrine, the Imperial Palace, or Asakusa's Sensoji Temple, you will be sorely disappointed. Likewise, this is not the traditional culture connoisseur or otaku's guide to Tokyo--no tea ceremonies or kimono, and anime/manga make only a brief appearance.
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