Young Adult, Graphic Novel
September 6, 2016
Paperback with Flaps Edition
A book for comic lovers and Japanophiles of all ages, Diary of a Tokyo Teen presents a unique look at modern-day Japan through a young woman's eyes.
Born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and an American father in 1997, Christine Mari Inzer spent her early years in Japan and relocated to the United States in 2003. The summer before she turned sixteen, she returned to Tokyo, making a solo journey to get reacquainted with her birthplace. Through illustrations, photos, and musings, Inzer documented her journey.
In Diary of a Tokyo Teen, Inzer explores the cutting-edge fashions of Tokyo's trendy Harajuku district, eats the best sushi of her life at the renowned Tsukiji fish market, and hunts down geisha in the ancient city of Kyoto. As she shares the trials and pleasures of travel from one end of a trip to the other, Inzer introduces the host of interesting characters she meets and offers a unique—and often hilarious—look at a fascinating country and an engaging tale of one girl rediscovering her roots.
When I signed up to review this book, I wasn’t aware that it was going to be a graphic novel. I just thought it was a regular novel that my two teen daughters and I will enjoy reading. So, when it arrived I was taken by surprise that it was actually a graphic novel, something I don’t normally read. But I’m glad I did.
The book’s author, Christine Mari Inzer, is also the artist behind the illustrations in the book. This being a graphic novel, there were a lot of drawings inside, together with dialogues and/or descriptions, that illustrated Inzer’s adventures in Japan. The illustrations made the book an interesting read, especially since they were also accompanied by actual photos. The book is also almost as big as a letter size paper which made it easier to appreciate all the big drawings and photos.
The book has 9 chapters starting from an introduction about Inzer and her plane ride from the US to Japan, then ending with her going back home after an eight week vacation. The story is divided according to Inzer’s major adventures in Japan, much like how one would really write a travelogue.
As someone really interested in travel, I loved this book because it’s so educational and teaches its readers a lot of helpful information about Japan. It doesn’t only include information about the popular destination spots but also tackles a lot about pop culture, which is something teenagers are really interested in. There’s a lot of discussion about food, fashion, festivals and even Japanese TV. My daughters even said that they know a lot more about Japan now after reading the book. It made them more interested to visit the country someday.
My daughters also liked this book because it’s a light and funny read. The language used was very conversational. I can actually imagine Inzer talking in such a way in front of me. There are a lot of funny anecdotes from her, which makes her very relatable to teens. But even I, the mom, was also amused while reading the book.
The only thing I didn’t like was that part of the book about talking to strangers, wherein “Filipino” was referred to as “Philippino” in one of the dialogues. I know that some foreigners really have a hard time spelling the word correctly. However, this was something that could have been corrected by the editors.
Overall, my daughters and I really liked the book and would recommend it to other teens as well.
I think the premise is interesting. My kids would enjoy this too.
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Wow this book looks interesting specially sa mga kids kasi graphically illustrated sya at catchy… Kaso baka mas mag eenjoy sila sa makukulet na graphics hahaha!
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This is very interesting. I like comic type or books with illustrations. =) It can really be catchy for teenagers and those who love traveling. =)
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Looks like a great read! The last time I read comics was in college, Archie’s pa, hehe.
Aaand, congrats!!! Looking forward to your birthing story, Janice!
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