Clueless about Tokyo and Japanese School Girl: a book review

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Since the last book review, Tuttle Publishing sent another set of four colourful and interesting “Cool Japan” books to me and I was really stoked about it. I’m very fond of the new books that talks about the variety of Japanese related cultures and topics, aiming at giving people outside of Japan hints on how Japan actually looks like.

I have read the books and will share my reviews and opinion here on this blog, split into 2 blog post with 2 book review each. The first two books that I want to share is “Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool” and “Clueless in Tokyo: An Explorer’s Sketchbook of Weird and Wonderful things in Japan”

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Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool

  • Author: Brian Ashcroft with Shoko Ueda
  • Published Date: May 13, 2014
  • Useful for: Learn the origin of the “seifuku” – Japanese school uniform and everything in between.

In Japanese pop culture, the image of a teenage girl in schoolgirl uniform, has been playing a big and important part. From idols to dramas and then anime, you can literally find them everywhere, including the Japanese version of Left for Dead arcade game. This book “Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential”, digs into the stories and the cultures of it.

So in the beginning of the book, you will be reading the history, and also how the iconic sailor suit was originated, and how it evolved to the modern era. Then you will be moving to the influence of the schoolgirl in uniform in idols, pop cultures and movies. The book also touches the subcultures including movies like “The Machine Girl” and more. I personally watched The Machine Girl and it was gross and funny at the same time.

You will also get to know about the lifestyle of the schoolgirls , what they do, places they visit and things they like. Think Shibuya 109, purikura, and handphone accessories. This book is definitely a must-read of people who likes the school uniforms and would like to learn more about it.

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Buy Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool


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Clueless in Tokyo: An Explorer’s Sketchbook of Weird and Wonderful things in Japan

  • Author: Betty Reynolds
  • Published Date: September 16, 2014
  • Useful for: Learn new words that are unique to Japanese culture with illustrations

To many people in the world, Japan consider as one of the most unique country in the world. When visiting Japan for the first time, foreigners usually will experience the big cultural shock, while enjoying the beautiful sceneries of cherry blossoms and amazed by the politeness of the Japanese people.

So do the author/illustrator of this book: Betty Reynold, who was lucky enough to have the chance to stay in Japan for 7 years because of her husbands career. During her stay in Japan, she experienced the total different side of things, from the traditional to the modern Japan. Then, she illustrates the things found in Japan, and then publish it in this book.

This book packs with beautiful watercolour illustrations of things, and each items come with name in Japanese characters, romaji pronunciation and also name in English. Some items are also attached with a small paragraph for further explanation. The explanations are concise, lighthearted and funny.

This book is definitely a good book for visual-oriented people who wants to learn more about Japan, and it’s suitable for both kids and adult and definitely a great gift to people who likes Japan.

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Clueless in Tokyo: An Explorer’s Sketchbook of Weird and Wonderful things in Japan

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