Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Florent Chavouet - Tokyo on Foot

Title: Tokyo on Foot: Travels in the City's Most Colorful Neighborhoods
Author: Florent Chavouet
Pub. year: 2011
Pages: 208
Editor: Tuttle Publishing

Summary: 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 colored pencils and a sketchpad, to visit different neighborhoods. This stunning book records the city that he 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, like a housewife walking her pet pig and a Godzilla statue in a local park.
With wit, a playful sense of humor, and the colored pencils of his kit, Florent Chavouet sets aside the question of urban ugliness or beauty and captures the Japanese essence of a great city.

I think it's high time we present you some of the French goodies, dear little English readers. You probably know some classics already, as if the French were only good so many years ago... but not at all ! For once, here is a young French guy with amazing ideas and a book translated into English, that you absolutely cannot miss.

This book kind of looks like another tourist guide, at first. Or maybe like a kid illustration book. Well, it is neither one nor the other. Florent Chavouet has spent six months in Tokyo, living among its inhabitants, looking at the small details which the city is full of and that no tourist ever see. Here, you can discover Tokyo through new eyes, curious and baffled by all those exotic things that Japanese take for granted. An excursion into the unknown, or a bunch of souvenirs for those who already set foot there.

The drawings may look funny in the beginning but you quickly get used to them. Sometimes scenery, sometimes people, sometimes weird anecdotes, they take you along the ride without ever getting bored. The small comments written all over the pages are full of humor and jokes, and if you are like me, you will spend hours looking at the amazingly detailed maps of the neighborhoods. Even though the book is quite long, there's never enough... for your eyes at least ! Pray for your arms that will carry it and turn it around to read the small lines... time for a good massage after that !

And if you liked it, his second book, Manabe Shima, is already out in French. Time to take a trip on a small island and live the life of the locals there...

4 commentaires:

I'd buy it, if I hadn't it yet =D
No, I'm not that much crazy to buy this book in English... (or maybe I am =p)

for a french guy, he has a really new zealnd sense of humor...and I should know! :)

I think it's a very universal sense of humor: silly jokes work everywhere :D

Found this book in the library yesterday, it's really good! 4 of us fall in love with his artwork immediately! xD

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