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Tokyo style guide

Tokyo is one of those countries many people plan on visiting, but maybe do not ever manage to reach. For centuries Japan was isolated from both the western world and Asia, choosing to develop their culture indepenantly. It is this difference that attracts so many people now. The clothing is styled differently, artefacts are unique and most of all the people are consummately honest, gracious and very welcoming.

That has been my experience over several visits to Japan, and others seem to agree.

Now we have the book we have all been waiting for - a style guide to Tokyo, the fashion icon for all Japanese cities. Home to over 37million people, Tokyo is the most densely-populated urban area on earth. Japanese people are also very organised, and so public transport operates quickly, cleanly and on time. Just as well as this huge metropolis has several major precincts and Jane Lawson, herself an Australian who has travelled frequently to Japan and is also a chef, has chosen ten of them. With her background and focussed interest, she is the ideal guide to lead readers of this book to explore each one.

It's a comprehensive book, with an index of websites for each place at the back. I would also have liked an index for various categories of browsing and shopping: shoes (yes!) , food, art, clothing et al. However each neighbourhood has a good hand-drawn map with the key places clearly shown. Jane's commentary is concise and clear so that readers can quickly see if that hip boutique area is for you, or whether a village food-shopping street is what you are after.

Tokyo is a live city, full of locals who love it, and are very generous with their own hints on what to see and do. Wander these neighbourhoods, engage with the locals, stop in a small cafe, order some food (it's easier than you think: many dishes have photographs or plastic models made to show you) - and take your time. Tokyo has taken hundreds of years to arrive at this unique point in time. Now, all you need is this book to help you discover it.

With the 2020 Olympics coming soon, there is now no excuse to delay plans for a trip to Tokyo. Take this book - and an empty bag. It's certain that with Jane Lawson's style guide's assistance you will find plenty to fill it up to bring home! 


Tokyo Style Guide, by Jane Lawson, published by Murdoch Books, 2016, hardcover, rrp A$39.99. ISBN: 9781 7433 65687

- reviewed by Sally Hammond


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