Tokyo on Foot : Travels in the City's Most Colorful Neighborhoods
Overview - This prize-winning book is both an illustrated tour of a Tokyo rarely seen in Japan travel guides and an artist's warm, funny, visually rich, and always entertaining graphic memoir. Florent Chavouet, a young graphic artist, spent six months exploring Tokyo while his girlfriend interned at a company there. Read more...
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More About Tokyo on Foot by Florent Chavouet
This prize-winning book is both an illustrated tour of a Tokyo rarely seen in Japan travel guides and an artist's warm, funny, visually rich, and always entertaining graphic memoir.
Florent Chavouet, a young graphic artist, spent six months exploring Tokyo while his girlfriend interned at a company there. Each day he would set forth with a pouch full of color pencils and a sketchpad, and visit different neighborhoods. This stunning book records the city that he got to know during his adventures. It isn't the Tokyo of packaged tours and glossy guidebooks, but a grittier, vibrant place, full of ordinary people going about their daily lives and the scenes and activities that unfold on the streets of a bustling metropolis.
Here you find businessmen and businesswomen, hipsters, students, grandmothers, shopkeepers, police officers, and other urban types and tribes in all manner of dress and hairstyles. A temple nestles among skyscrapers; the corner grocery anchors a diverse assortment of dwellings, cafes, and shops--often tangled in electric lines.
The artist mixes styles and tags his pictures with wry comments and observations. Realistically rendered advertisements or posters of pop stars contrast with cartoon sketches of iconic objects or droll vignettes, like a housewife walking her pet pig, a Godzilla statue in a local park, and an urban fishing pond that charges 400 yen per half hour.
This very personal guide to Tokyo is organized by neighborhood with hand-drawn maps that provide an overview of each neighborhood, but what defines them is what caught the artist's eye and attracted his formidable drawing talent. Florent Chavouet begins his introduction by observing that, "Tokyo is said to be the most beautiful of ugly cities." With wit, a playful sense of humor, and the multicolor pencils of his kit, he sets aside the question of urban ugliness or beauty and captures the Japanese essence of a great city in this genuinely vital portrait.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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In Chavouet's debut effort, he presents a view of Tokyo unlike anything found in a travel guide or map book. The opportunity for his own view came during a six-month visit to Tokyo while tagging along with his girlfriend, who was interning at a company there. Each day, Chavouet, armed with "a lady's bicycle and a folding chair," set out to sketch real people engaged in nothing more than the business of their daily lives, however curious, interesting, or mundane. While he documents the people and places of Tokyo in his book, he also shares humorous anecdotes about his own experiences of living in the city. What sets the book apart from the typical guide is that Chavouet doesn't merely show Tokyo in his illustrations or provide a convenient map book for the prospective traveler. Instead, his window into the city allows him to showcase his profound talent as an artist. 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. (June)