The diary of a Tokyo teen: Japanese-American girl travels to the land of trendy fashion, high-tech toilet and maid cafes by Christine Mari Izner is a fun illustrated overview of visiting Japan.
Izner writes about going back to her home country of Japan for a summer when she was a teenager. She stays with her grandparents for several weeks on her own and then the rest of her family joins for the last part of her trip. During that time she sees Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara, along with enjoying the company of her grandparents in their small town outside of Tokyo. Several popular foods, sites, and noteworthy cultural aspects are explained as she explores Japan.
Although the graphic novel is simple with only a photo or a few drawings and minimal text on a page, it really is meant for a teenager. However, adults can enjoy too especially if you need a quick idea of what it is like to visit Japan. For the most part, there isn’t anything offensive, but there is a reference made to love hotels.
The overall style of the graphic novel conveys the bright and trendy as well as historical parts of Japan very well. She uses snapshot photos, drawings and doodles to tell the story. Sometime she makes comparison drawings while other times she depicts the scenery of an area. The style makes for a fast and breezy read, and if you have a bit of time, it can be finished in one sitting.
Recommended?: yes, for any teens or adults traveling to Japan, lovers a graphic novels, and anyone who wants to be transported on a whirlwind adventure. Although it’s told from the perspective of a teenage girl, everyone can enjoy it.