#0002 - Cool Japan Guide

Not all of the books I read for this blog are going to be business related, or self-improvement. In fact, I'm trying to mix in even some of the classics that I never got a chance to read (or maybe just forgot about).

I've always wanted to go to Japan - the culture, the food, the video games, the scenery - everything seems wonderful there - I can't imagine a better place to go on vacation - yet I still haven't been!

That changed last month - Jess and I found a great price (thanks Google Flights/ANA!) and we're going in April (just in time for the cherry blossoms) - but the next few months are going to be filled with planning. I've already started reading books and watching travel vloggers (some of my favorites so far: SoloTravelBlog, Yummy Japan, and KimDaoVlog - but there are so many good ones!)

As soon as we booked the flights, we looked for some travel guides. If we're only going to do 7 days for our first time in Japan (extremely limited vacation time) we want to pack in as much as we can.

This was the only book that the Seattle Amazon store had that wasn't just a book full of maps and it looked like a fun, quick read. It was.

Abby Denson put together an entertaining, quick read (seriously, this book took me about two hours to read - that's like what it took me to get through 1/10th of my last book) and it covers just about everything you'd need to know for your first time in Japan delivered in a unique comic-book style presentation.

Each section is about ten pages (and, really, most of it is art) but the sections start off with a quick language lesson. The sections cover:

  • Preparing for your trip
  • Arriving
  • Eating
  • Lodging
  • Entertainment
  • Sightseeing
  • Shopping
  • Pop Culture (this section is titled "Manga and Anime and VIdeo Games - Oh My!"
  • Leaving

Admittedly, I've done quite a bit of research for this trip already (but have this immense fear that I'm going to miss something) - so I didn't think I'd take a ton of information away from this book - but Abby gets into the details of things I hadn't even thought about (vital things like the importance of getting ekibento before the Shinkansen and some of the cultural norms one should know before arriving) - the food section gets into even more detail about what to expect, what to order, and how to act in many different types of restaurants.

This book was exactly what I wanted in an introduction to traveling to Japan. I highly recommend it for someone who just decided to book their trip and want something quick and fun to read that will also give you great primer to vacationing in Japan. Stay tuned for more updates on the trip planning (also, I picked up the Tokyo Lonely Planet guide a couple weeks back and once I finish that up, I'll throw a review up on that too.)