Book Review: Tokyo Travel Sketchbook: Kawaii Culture, Wabi Sabi Design, Female Samurais and Other Obsessions

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I read this book with jealously. The artist and author Amaia Arrazola (Instagram) was able to spend four weeks in Japan for a residency program where she get to exchange her art for staying there. That's like a dream come true.

What I really want to say was this book reminded me of my 7-day sketching trip to Tokyo in 2017. I love traveling and I love travelogue sketchbooks.

Tokyo Travel Sketchbook is a travelogue of Arrazola's stay in Tokyo during the four weeks. She shares her experiences through drawings and short stories on what she saw. Even though I've several art-related books on Tokyo and Japan, I still found this book interesting because every person's experience when travelling, even to the same place, is different.

There's plenty of interesting information in this book. For example, instead of the no-smoking signs we usually see, most smoking signs are drawn. There are almost no trash bins in Tokyo (something I realised while I was there too).

And of course all sorts of Japanese culture introduced, such as food, their pachinko parlour, anime culture, high tech toilet bowls, Kabuki theatre, working class and sex. Speaking of sex, there are some explicit drawings in the books when talking about sex.

The simple stylised drawings work well with the text.

I really enjoyed this book.

Tokyo Travel Sketchbook: Kawaii Culture, Wabi Sabi Design, Female Samurais and Other Obsessions is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | AU | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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