Item description for Seeing Tokyo by Graham Fry Kaori Shoji...
Tokyo confounds most people. A thriving metropolis, its is part futuristic, part old-town quaint, yet mesmerizing if you peel away the facade. Seeing Tokyo does just that. It takes the reader on a visual journey into both well-known and hard-to-find sights; it illuminates traditional Tokyo and modern Tokyo-with exhilarating visuals, a vibrant text by third-generation Tokyoite Kaori Shoji, and a thoughtful foreword by the British Ambassador to Japan, Graham Fry. District by district, the secrets of the Japanese capital are unlovked. There are the hip boroughs where the young gather, the Imperial palace standing with quiet dignity at the city center, the old-town haunts peppered with bonsai and grandmotherly shopkeepers, and the "electric town" where shop after shop displays and endless array of electronic goods for today and tomorrow. Six essays cap off this visual feast, exploring Tokyo's unique history (it was home to the last shogunate government), worldclass transportation system (which moves tens of millions of people daily), food and dining scene, inimitable pop culture, and more. All of which make Seeing Tokyo the perfect guide to the city that inspired such popular entertainments as Blade Runner and Lost in Translation-and that has lent so much to the world.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 11.8" Width: 9.2" Height: 0.8" Weight: 1.75 lbs.
Release Date Jan 13, 2006
Publisher Kodansha International
ISBN 4770023391 ISBN13 9784770023391
Reviews - What do customers think about Seeing Tokyo?
A Virtual and Worthy Trip To The Insanity and Beauty of Tokyo Mar 20, 2007
According to my Japanese Literature Professor at Sophia University, Professor James Shields (back in the day), Tokyo was originally designed as an incomprehensible maze resistant to foreign invasion, thus the city was riddled with dead ends and detours making it impossible to march directly to the city center. Kyoto, he would point out, on the other hand, was designed according to Chinese Geomantic principals and was laid out in a grid-like sensible fashon. There lied the difference, he would say. Chaos versus Cosmic Order. I was a reporter, in another life for the Yomiuri Shinbun, from 1993 to the end of 2005, the last two 1/2 years spent covering the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, specifically vice, drugs and organized crime. I spent most of 1999 and 2000, covering the fourth district, where the seedy Kabukicho is located as well. I've had the mis(pleasure) of crawling through the dregs of Tokyo while passing through the worlds of luxury and excess. I generally don't like picture books but this one does a fine job of showing you all aspects of Tokyo. Kaori Shoji writes eloquently about the city and she's amazingly familiar with some aspects that escape most foreigners and many Japanese as well. Whether you've been to Tokyo and want to relive it or have never been want to get a preview of the city, you could not go wrong by buying this book. I would have liked to have seen more of the seemy side of the city in the book but then again my vision of the city is slightly askewed and depraved. The city looks very different in daylight. --Jake Adelstein, ex-reporter/Japanese UE researcher
A pretty picture-book of Tokyo Jan 30, 2006
Trying to capture the spirit of Tokyo is a complicated venture. As the author admits in her introduction, there is no "One Tokyo," no single character or landmark that unites the sprawling capital. A huge mess of cities-within-a-city, Tokyo can only be seen by the parts that make up the whole.
In "Seeing Tokyo," Kaori Shoji has attempted to map and present the faces of the city, the old and the new, the various districts and their flavors. Landmarks such as the giant red lantern of Asakusa and the metal spider of Roppongi are beautifully displayed. The magnificent shopping districts of Shibuya and Ginza have rarely looked better. A peak inside Kanetanaka, perhaps Japan's most famous and expensive restaurant, shows something that most of us will never get to see in real life.
However, these are only buildings and places. What's missing from "Seeing Tokyo" is people, and Tokyo is all about people. All of these photographs seem false and misleading, due to the lack of human presence. I was shocked to see a picture of the Shibuya crosswalk, one of the world's busiest, almost completely unoccupied! There are a few shots, such as Ueno park during Sakura season, that give the true flavor, but the constant human presence is not captured, sacrificed for a more aesthetic viewpoint.
So while beautiful and enticing, this is not Tokyo. It is a beautiful photography book, and can be appreciated for that. However, it is a tourist's pamphlet's view, far removed from the real wonders of one of the world's most interesting cities.