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Tokyo Precincts

 

What happens when you have been obsessed with Tokyo since your first visit 20-plus years ago? Well, for starters you save hard and visit twice a year. Then, if you are this Melbourne couple, you write a book about it, sharing all the fun and interesting, quirky and wild, tasty and terrific things you have discovered in those forty or so visits, right?

Steve Wide is a writer and DJ, and presenter of Breakfasters on 3RR in Melbourne. Michelle is an award-winning stationary designer and illustrator, and one look at this book shows the reader where their main division of labour lies. 

It's a 240-page chunky hardback book, crammed with colour and stylish photographs, clean and clear maps, and a bunch of fabulous places to visit and explore and taste in Tokyo's 19 precincts.

This 'curated guide to the city's best shops, eateries, bars and other hangouts' is just that. Want to get friendly with felines - there's a cat-cafe for you. Need to see a train station as big as a city block? It's here. You've heard about alleys filled with lanterns, streets that never sleep, Shibuyu's youth culture, Koenji's vintage treasures, the gadgets of Akihabara, and Akasuka which seems to have become still, decades ago? You'll find this and more here.

And then there's the food, remember? Locals share their favourite places to locate 'nature doughnuts' shaped like pandas or frogs, the best ramen joints, tofu cuisine that will change your prejudice about it forever, another that specialises in soybean crackers and scores more.

If it's outstanding, if it's worth a detour to see, you can bet that these authors have sniffed it out, photographed it and written about it in this evocative newly release guide.

Konnichiwa!

Tokyo Precincts, by Steve Wide and Michelle Mackintosh, published by Explore Australia Publishing, 2015, hardcover, rrp A$34.95. 

 

- reviewed by Sally Hammond

 

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