TokyoMango’s holiday gift guide (books!)

If you’re a last-minute holiday gift shopper like me and you’re looking for something to get for your favorite/least favorite niece/cousin/uncle/sibling… why not get them a decent Japan book? Here are some recommendations:

The history geek…
John Dower’s Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II is a crucial volume in understanding US-Japan relations in the post-WW2 era. It’s also a fun read even if you’re not a history geek.

The aspiring novelist…
Anything by Haruki Murakami is always a delight, and if you haven’t read his stuff, you should do so, like, right now. One of my favorites was The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle; I also really enjoyed Kafka on the Shore and South of the Border, West of the Sun.

The political scientist…
The best way to understand the perks and quirks of the Japanese political scene is to sit down and have a cup of coffee with Columbia University’s Gerald Curtis. Not everyone has had the honor, and that’s why you should get his book, The Logic of Japanese Politics. It was a real eye-opener for me.

The wanna-be otaku…
Patrick Galbraith’s Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider’s Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan is a comprehensive A-Z guide of everything otaku, including interviews with major characters in various subcultures.

The DIY trickster…
My book Urawaza: Secret Everyday Tips and Tricks from Japan has 107 tricks that are fun to read about and try, spanning from how to make a sled go faster to how to pick up broken shards of glass. (Yes, this is my blog so I’m allowed to pimp my book here.)

The militarist…
Samurai swordsman Miyamoto Musashi’s iconic The Book of Five Rings is a classic treatise on military strategy. Also, Musashi (a biography) by Charles S. Terry is supposed to be an awesome read.

The manga geek…
If all your kid does is read manga and you can’t do anything about it, get him this book, Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics. It was published in the 80s, but it’s a classic in that Schodt was the first to ever write about Japanese comics for a Western audience. Or if you want to give the gift of pure manga, Vertical Inc has been churning out these beautifully bound volumes of the Tezuka Osamu classic Black Jack.

7 thoughts on “TokyoMango’s holiday gift guide (books!)

  1. Related but unrelated: For the adolescent/ person who never grew out of adolescence: I would recommend Ryu Murakami’s “69”. It was a fun lighthearted read. (There was also a movie based on it by the same name that had an awesome opening credit sequence and the soundtrack had a song by Chemistry that I liked)

  2. I guess I waited 24 hours too long, for purchasing your book from amazon.com.
    From AMAZON.com: “Ordering for Christmas? This item requires additional time to ship and will arrive AFTER December 25.”
    Are there any other retailers that sell your book and are able to ship it sooner than amazon’s “7 to 12 days before shipping” schedule?

  3. Hey, Tom Cat last I checked I think Barnes and Noble should be able to deliver in 2-3 days according to their website and I’ve actually seen it at the store itself before. Hope this helps a bit