Read Trip: Tokyo
Welcome to the second stop on our Read Trip, where we recommend the books and audiobooks you’ll need to get through your vacation. This time we’re visiting Tokyo, a mecca of modernity. Attend some summer festivals and get a feel for the host city of the 2020 Olympics.
Lonely Planet Tokyo
BEFORE YOUR TRIP…
Figure out where to start your vacation in this big, bustling, beautiful place with Lonely Planet’s renowned guide. Tokyo is Japan’s largest city, an evergreen destination bursting with good eats and good times, and it’s only an hour’s train ride from the second-largest city (Yokohama), so you’ll never be wanting for things to do.
Tokyo: A Biography
ON THE FLIGHT…
Standing in a sea of flashing lights on a street in Tokyo, in the middle of one of the largest metropolitan areas of the world, it’s easy to lose track of the city’s past as it bulldozes its way into the future. Between in-flight meals on your way to Japan, peruse this brief history of a city that’s bounced back from earthquakes, fires, and bombings so you can feel the full weight of this modern wonder while you’re there.
AFTER SPLURGING ON FANCY SUSHI…
Make sure you’re getting enough rest between your jaunts to Shibuya, Shinjuku, and all the other wards of Tokyo; instead, spend some time traveling to the seedier places in the city from the comfort of your hotel bed with this Murakami novel. The story follows many different characters as they traverse Tokyo one night, their lives becoming interlinked for these brief moments in time.
Convenience Store Woman
WHICH IS BETTER: 7-ELEVEN, LAWSON, OR FAMILY MART?…
After a few days in Tokyo, you will surely have an opinion about which convenience store (konbini) chain is the best (there’s a convenience store only a stone’s throw away no matter what ward you’re in, after all). This slim Japanese novel follows a woman who feels out of place everywhere, except when behind the counter of her convenience store. A surprisingly sweet way to learn more about the culture of konbini.
A Tokyo Romance
AFTER YOUR FINAL KARAOKE OUTING WITH SOME SALARYMEN…
Now that you’ve fallen in love with the city and you’re feeling sad that you have to leave soon, it’s time to read Ian Buruma’s memoir about hanging out in artistic circles in 1970s Tokyo, an experience that left its mark on him forever. A brilliant exploration of the freedoms in youth and travel.
Yummy Kawaii Bento
ON YOUR WAY HOME…
Have you ever wondered how Japan manages to make everything so cute? Learn how to make adorable bento boxes with this recipe book to spice up your lunches after the saké and the Japanese sweets you brought back run out.
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