Tokyo Geek’s Guide is out today, July 11th. And if you’re an otaku planning a trip to Japan, you might want to get a copy before you take your flight!
Published by Tuttle Publishing, and written by Gianni Simone, Tokyo Geek’s Guide is a travel guide for otaku who are planning a trip to Japan. At least that’s what one would assume from looking at the cover. The reality is that Tokyo Geek’s Guide is a book that can be enjoyed by all kinds of people. Fans of Japanese culture will benefit from the guide for its images and relevant information even if they’re not planning to visit the country. Even individuals who have never seen an episode of anime in their lives might still find the book amusing. That’s because, just as it’s hard to look away from some of the eccentricities one can find on the streets of Tokyo, the book is also quite hard to put down.
So let’s focus on the primary target of the book: what can this guide offer to you, a manga and anime fan that’s planning a trip to Tokyo? Well, if planning convention trips is a big headache for many, the preparation for traveling to Japan can be an even bigger clusterfuck. Not only are there the usual traveling difficulties, like differences in culture, time zone, and language, but also the part of organizing all the things you want to see once you get there because there is just SO much to see and do! On top of that, anime and manga fans are usually also fans of Japanese culture in general. And that includes videogames, cosplay, toys, idols, food, music… Meaning, preparation is perhaps the most important part of your journey. And Tokyo Geek’s Guide aims to cover precisely that.
Each chapter of Tokyo Geek’s Guide includes one area: there’s Tokyo, Akihabara and Jimbocho, Shinjuku, Nakano and West Tokyo, Ikebukuro, Roppongi and Odaiba, and other otaku hotspots. Whether you just want to check out the central districts like Akihabara, or you’re already a pro who would rather explore the most underground places, it’s all here. The guide does not only cover shops (probably the main tourist attraction), but also restaurants, maid cafés, doujinshi fairs, libraries, and even museums. For every district, you will find the type of information you can see on any other city travel guide, but in geek-mode: maps, opening hours, websites, and general advice for each place. It doesn’t include prices (something that’s guaranteed to change anyway), but it does come with the name of the place spelled both in Japanese and English.
Perhaps one of the most remarkable aspects from the guide is that the author is very knowledgeable on both Japan and otaku culture. The first pages of the guide offer interesting information on things like the term “otaku,” the global evolution of the fandom, or the history of manga and how it’s slowly been accepted as Japanese art. It emphasizes how otaku culture is embedded in Japanese daily life, and at the same time, how it’s often an introduction to Japanese culture for foreigners. The guide also includes interviews with cosplayers and fans from the streets, as well as travel tips, and an otaku glossary at the end.
As per the edition itself, Tokyo Geek’s Guide includes 144 pages, measures 7 ½ x 10, and comes in a paperback format. The guide is colorful and includes photos on nearly every page, making the reading experience much more fun. Needless to say, if you’re already excited for traveling to Japan, this guide will make you even more hyped. And even if you’re not going there, the images still make the book worth it for entertainment value.
Gianni Simone has left the door open for a second edition sometime in the future, especially given how shops open and close so quickly in Japan. So if you have any suggestions, criticism, or ideas, feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org!