Tokyo on Foot: Travels in the City's Most Colorful Neighborhoods

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Overview

This prize-winning book is both an illustrated tour of a Tokyo rarely seen in 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 ...

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Tokyo On Foot: Travels in the City's Most Colorful Neighborhoods

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Overview

This prize-winning book is both an illustrated tour of a Tokyo rarely seen in 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 business men and women, hipsters, students, grandmothers, shopkeepers, policemen, 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 really 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 truly vital portrait.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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)
From the Publisher
"This stunning book records the city that [Florent Chavouet] got to know during his adventures, a gritty, vibrant place, full of ordinary people going about their daily lives. Realistically rendered city views or posters of pop stars contrast with cartoon sketches of iconic objects or droll vignettes…With wit, a playful sense of humor, and the colored pencils of his kit, Chavouet sets aside the question of urban ugliness or beauty and captures the Japanese essence of a great city."&#8212Japan Today

"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."—Publishers Weekly

"[Tokyo on Foot] will make readers with wanderlust wish to drop their everyday responsibilities and trek through a foreign city. It will appeal to the armchair traveler who yearns for a bit of the exotic, the wanderer who wants to someday visit the Land of the Rising Sun, and, indeed, anyone who appreciates the marriage of grit and beauty, self-deprecating wit, and losing oneself in good pictures for a while."—ForeWord Reviews

"From what Chavouet saw, did, ate—bugs, festivals, storefronts, a fake French mansion, random drinks and snacks—his illustrations catch perfect little details you'll never find in any guide book. His myriad of people caught in the midst of their everyday lives are undoubtedly the book's highlight. [...] By the time he's back in his native France, he's got an award-winning, fascinating book that surely makes for ideal reading for both armchair tourists and peripatetic travelers alike."—BookDragon.si.edu

"A chef-d'ouevre of graphic art."—Cafes Geographiques

"…as for Chavouet—colorful, farcical, artistically superior Chavouet—his way of seeing Japan is insightful and entertaining for over two hundred pages. The execution is confident—a positive side-effect of it having no agenda but to represent his individual experience."&#8212Axiom Magazine

"Besides the awesomeness of the maps, most of the book is full of odd findings and experiences that the author found himself in. I find the book to be pure genius and I am very happy that I picked it up without a second thought. It's all the little additions in the book that make it most worthwhile and I think it makes a great addition to any collection of books."Yonasu.com

"This is a wonderful gem of a book. It's a quirky, graphic 'guidebook' filled with beautifully rendered and detailed doodlings that capture vignettes of the city seen through the eyes of a resident, rather than a tourist."—SimplyFabulicious.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9784805311370
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/10/2011
  • Edition description: Paperback with Flaps
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 687,442
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Florent Chavouet is a young graphic artist and author living in Paris. When he returned from Japan, he realized that all the observing and sketching he had done in Tokyo led to his evolution as an artist. This is his first book. florentchavouet.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2013

    Good book, bad ebook

    I love this book. The sketches are great, the footnotes are funny. A great read for anyone who likes Japan. But the nook version of this book is terrible quality. I can't read any of the writing in it, which really takes away from the book. I feel like I wasted my money. Definitely buy the physical copy instead.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2014

    Great book! one of the best ART albums I ever had! I was in japa

    Great book! one of the best ART albums I ever had! I was in japan and I was looking for something that will remind me my adventures. To those who in love in Japan - don't think - buy it! But only a paper copy. Digital books are always waste of money... 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2014

    Bad quality

    Don't buy. The original book is good but nook version is hard to read. It brokes if I close up the image.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 2, 2012

    Not at all what I had in mind.

    Based on the description, I was expecting a book I could use on walking tours of Tokyo. It definitely is not appropriate for that purpose. Moreover, even if it were, it is oversized and does not fit into your pocket. This is a book to look at in the store to decide if you want to buy it. Certainly don't buy it online.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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