Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review: Cool Japan by Sumiko Kajiyama

ISBN: 0984633456
Published: November 1st, 2013
Publisher: Museyon Inc.
Read from April 10th to 13th, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Explore the heart of Japanese culture with this three-part travel guide. First, visit Kyoto, where you will discover one thousand years of history from the ancient love story the Tale of Genji to the traditional tea ceremony. Then head to Tokyo to experience Japan's cutting-edge capital, where the twenty-first-century kawaii culture collides with landmarks like the Kabuki-za Theater and the Imperial Palace. For a different perspective, venture outside the city to the seaside towns of Tohoku, the region largely affected by the 2011 tsunami disaster. Written by local expert Sumiki Kajiyama and illustrated in lively animation style, this book introduces readers to Japan's national heroes and must-see places from a uniquely Japanese perspective. Informative, entertaining, and useful, Cool Japan is an ideal introduction for any traveler looking for a deeper understanding of Japanese culture, past and present.


I really enjoyed this book, although it contained more history than I was expecting it to for a travel guide. It was more like a book on the history of certain locations in Japan, and then there was travel information thrown in at the end of the sections. I can understand why that would be frustrating if you were looking for a travel guide, but I quite enjoyed it and thought it was very interesting.

From the writing (and the fact that the writer is from Japan), it is clear that the writer's first language isn't English. I love the fact that the book is written by someone from Japan because they are more likely to know the area better. However, the book definitely could have been edited better. There were a lot of parts where the wording was awkward or just not right. That's probably my biggest complaint with the book.

Overall, I enjoyed it and thought that the information it contained was cool to learn.

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