Read Japan AI: A Tall Girl's Adventures in Japan by Aimee Major-Steinberger Online


Join Aimee Major Steinberger on the ultimate fangirl vacation in Japan!This rapid-fire adventure is full of everything fans dream of seeing: cosplay on the infamous Harajuku Street, fantasy restaurants, maid cafes, Tokyo’s largest doll store, beautiful shrines, bookstores full of manga, outrageous all-female Takarazuka musicals, cherry festivals, hot springs, special ceremJoin Aimee Major Steinberger on the ultimate fangirl vacation in Japan!This rapid-fire adventure is full of everything fans dream of seeing: cosplay on the infamous Harajuku Street, fantasy restaurants, maid cafes, Tokyo’s largest doll store, beautiful shrines, bookstores full of manga, outrageous all-female Takarazuka musicals, cherry festivals, hot springs, special ceremonies, and so much more!...

Title : Japan AI: A Tall Girl's Adventures in Japan
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781933617831
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 183 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Japan AI: A Tall Girl's Adventures in Japan Reviews

  • Jackie
    2019-01-23 06:16

    Pocky is awesome! But I, too, have wondered why Men's Pocky is the dark chocolate one. I think that should be Women's Pocky. Seriously.I really enjoyed this graphic novel-style travelogue of Aimee Major Steinberger's trip to Japan with a couple of girlfriends. I love that they went to Kyoto and visited the temples, something I would love to do someday. I love that Aimee got made over into a maiko, which is a kind of apprentice geisha found only in Kyoto, all six feet of her. She's REALLY TALL. They also dressed up like cosplay maids and got stared at a lot, while staring back at the young folks in the Harajuku district of Tokyo, a place known for outrageous fashions. Interestingly, the stores there don't allow photography, but fortunately, our author is a comic book artist, so we get to see what it looks like, and get to see several of the different styles such as the Gothic Lolita style (think Alice in Wonderland gone goth). A very enthusiastic and fun introduction to Japanese culture for teens and twenty-somethings.

  • Mehsi
    2019-01-27 07:37

    I just love books about Japan, especially those written from foreigner's point of view, it is so interesting to see how people view Japan.I am so glad I was able to find this one through Amazon's marketplace (which is double lucky, as I found it for a normal price, and not the bloated price it has now). The poor book was quite mangled (it was apparently an ex-library book), but I fixed it up and gave it a loving home. As it deserves. And my oh my, what a fantastic book this was, it is all about Aimee's journey to Japan and what she does there. Some stuff include Volks, temples, theatre, onsen and so much more! The best thing is that, unlike a lot of books about Japan, this is about a girl and her friends and they don't really read/speak Japanese, and this made it closer to home than other books about living/travelling to Japan. You can see them struggle at times with stuff, you see Aimee try her best at saying sentences in Japanese (+ her commentary that it isn't the best). It also motivates and delights me, that Japan is apparently quite accessible even if you only know a bit of Japanese. I was a bit worried about that.The book isn't only about touristy things, or about important sights to spot, it is also about Japanese culture, about anime, about clothes (and all the various kinds of cultures that were various types of clothes), it shows us manga cafés, tells us about tattoos (and what that entails in Japan), it tells us about onsen and how those works. It is a book with a lot of information, but all told in a very fun tone. I also loved the various parts which showcase just how big Aimee is for Japan. She doesn't fit in chairs, toilets are small, clothes are tiny and so much more. It just had me laughing, as I could just imagine how it would go for me and my boyfriend, especially my boyfriend, I would probably be able to just be hidden, but my boyfriend is quite tall. So at times I showed him parts of the book and he could also imagine those things happening to him. :DThe illustrations are fantastic and really fit the style of the book. Some stuff is really detailed (loved that!), while others just were less detailed (but still good and fun).All in all, if you are looking for a fun book about Japan, about a tall girl going to Japan, then this is the book to check out! I hope others will have more luck with finding it. Review first posted at

  • Stewart Tame
    2019-02-16 05:42

    This book made me smile. Aimee Major Steinberger went to Japan, and got more than a lousy T-shirt. This book chronicles, in cartoon and sketchbook form, a trip she took with a couple of friends. They visited Kyoto and Tokyo, visited an onsen, checked out Harajuku and Akihabara, and just basically did Japan in fine geek style. Looks like they had a blast. There's a sizeable appendix at the back of the book with weblinks of all the stores and restaurants and so on that they visited. Highly worth reading!

  • Hollowspine
    2019-02-03 08:27

    An interesting travel memoir of a girl's trip to Japan in comic style. It was interesting to note how tall she was, and how that sometimes garnered her unwelcome and sometimes unkind attention from the locals. I don't think it's still that unusual to be white in Japan, but maybe if you are a very tall white girl you might draw some stares. I had never heard of Volks before, though I had seen what were most likely their dolls along with some Gothic Lolita's at the St. Paul Obon festival before. When I decided to do a Google search on Volks I found that some of the dolls can be around 500$! Insane! And that is without custimizations to make your doll unique. The book did make me want to go to Japan (yet again), but I'm not sure my travels would follow the exact path of Steinberger. Although some of the things she did, such as staying at an onsen and visiting shrines seemed like they'd be a lot of fun, it didn't seem like she shied away from spending a lot of money as well. I'm not sure if I would be able to afford to dress up as a Maiko, nor that I would want to, though I'm sure it would be interesting. It would also be interesting to see a Takarazuka show, but again I'm not sure I would want to see it enough to spend a lot on tickets...One thing Steinberger encountered that I hadn't expected was that she wasn't allowed to take pictures of some store fronts. I wonder why? Overall, a nice short read on an Otaku's journey to the homeland of everything they obsess over. Perhaps not everyone's vision of Japan, but a very large part of the culture nonetheless.

  • Selena
    2019-02-08 03:30

    The title explains it all. There is nothing left for me to say, other than to squeal about how awesome this is and babble about how nostalgic this made me feel.Years ago, I too went to Japan. I too nerded out. I was with a tour group, so I didn't get lost or get the opportunity to go to half the things that Aimee Major-Steinberger got to do. Heck, I didn't even know then about half the stuff she went to do. If I had, I totally would've done it.I plan to go back to Japan one day, and I'm thinking that I will try some of the stuff Steinberger-san highlighted in her book. I definitely want to be dressed up as a Maiko. I want to go to one of the themed restaurants.This is like a comic-based travel guide of Japan for the geeky American. It doesn't cover everything in Japan, but it does cover Steinberger's experiences and what she found fun. Not all geeks are the same, but if you are the same brand of geek as Steinberger, this is definitely worth a look.

  • Chibineko
    2019-02-04 03:30

    I picked up Japan Ai not really expecting much. I thought it'd be a cute read, but not something I'd really read twice, let alone buy. I was pleasantly surprised when I flipped through the pages. Steinberger's eye for details is amazing when it comes to describing her travels through Japan. Some people may be decieved by the seemingly simplistic artwork on the cover that the storytelling is just as simplistic, but they'd be amazed. The author's passion for travel, anime/manga, & hobbies comes through on every page. Fans of anime, manga, & cosplay will get into the journal because of the detailed information about those interests, but the average person will get drawn into the journal for the attention to details. It is easily accessible to most people. I would consider it a good guide to read before going overseas so one can plan out where to go, as well as knowing what to expect if you are a english speaking traveller.

  • AudryT
    2019-02-06 06:34

    I'll always have a place in my heart for this book. It was conceived of during karaoke and written entirely in journals in Japan. Aimee's strengths as an artist are on full display in this book, and I sincerely hope she makes more books like this in the future. Our design team did a fantastic job putting the book together, right down to the idea to include foil on the cover to make the sunshine sparkle. The entire book was hand-written (not a single word typed) and you can imagine what it was like putting together all the bits and pieces in Photoshop to create the perfect design. Thanks to my entire team for putting their best efforts into this physical masterpiece! And thanks to Aimee for being both an amazing talent and one of the most professional, easy to work with artists I've ever known.

  • Raina
    2019-01-30 02:17

    This was fine. Good for my ongoing internal study of graphic novel travelogues. The author has an engaging illustration style, and it was a nice straight-forward "we went here, then there, then there" story. I'm sure for Japan-fans it's really fun. But honestly, I wanted more. I wanted analysis, for example, a discussion of the ethics of tourism (she's really into doing the most kitschy touristy (and expensive!) things that would totally horrify me) would have been nice. I missed the incisive depth of a Delisle GN travelougue. But perhaps for her audience (manga-crazed teenagers?) this was enough. It was fun to look at her renderings of cosplayers - definitely the best part.

  • Allison
    2019-02-16 09:14

    This illustrated diary of the author's trip to Japan recounts a delightful pilgrimage to all things cute. Steinberger's expressive art and conversational narration open a new world for readers who have never been to Japan, and bring back warm memories for those who have. From being pushed into trains at rush hour to ordering at a restaurant by pointing at the plastic food, Steinberger captures the experience of traveling in Japan with authenticity and charm.Pour yourself a cup of green tea and curl up with this absolute gem of a graphic novel.

  • ChantellPetrell
    2019-02-18 01:23

    This book was hilarious. And has succeeded in making me want to go to Japan more now than ever. I had no idea that Sakura Wars was so popular!! Someday I'll have to visit that Cafe, it sounds amazing. Better start saving money now...

  • Linda
    2019-01-30 08:18

    This was fun!

  • Michelle Young
    2019-02-10 03:41

    Fun read--makes me want to go to Japan! And shop for cute stationery too. Still not tempted to cosplay though.

  • Shayna Ross
    2019-02-15 01:44

    A cute diary form of a trip to Japan, with a focus on cosplay and cute things. The cartoonist, Aimee Major-Steinberger, is a 6 foot tall woman with a passionate admiration for Volks Dollfie - she then gets a chance to meet the president of the company and see the headquarters. Taking two friends, who also enjoy cosplay, they explore Kyoto and Tokyo, beginning with the more traditional interests (temples, geisha, onsen), before going into Harajuku of Tokyo to adorn lolita outfits, buy tons of cute things, and see the HQ of Volks. Many of the pages were simply an image, or rather, a glimpse of something they saw while traveling - usually they are not directly related to the activity they are doing. The art style is a very cute form with round faces and big eyes, with occasional anime cliches reactions included. This book did not go into a lot of details about what Japan is like, as it primarily focuses on Aimee's interests, but the addition of the maps, types of stores, and some of the more obscure activities they did were fun to look at.Since she only has two books published, both from late 2000's, creating a good story in a book form is not her strong point. The read is good for someone who enjoys the "kawaii" side of Japanese interests and looking for something quick to read, but I would not recommend for individuals looking to travel as it lacks a lot of concrete details.

  • Steph
    2019-01-31 06:41

    The book is easy to read and I like the humorous illustrations and tales of awkward and dramatic encounters with Japanese culture. I wish there were more about being tall in Japan because I feel like the author could have played that up more. I am also 6 feet tall and I'm about to visit Japan for the first time, so I read it to get a preview of what I will experience as a tall foreigner. Sadly, I was disappointed by the lack of focus on this aspect because I was expecting more, especially considering the subtitle.

  • Taylor K.
    2019-02-04 09:35

    If you're a fan of Japanese Culture and you're thinking about planning a trip over to Japan in the future, I highly recommend reading this warming and fun adventure of three friends visiting the motherland of all their passions and hobbies. It's a fun read for all ages and it'll get you thinking about hitting up some of the same locations as Aimee, Judy, and A.J. on your own trip.

  • Rachel
    2019-01-23 02:25

    More of a travel blog than a story. Not very interesting.

  • Lydia Rich
    2019-02-10 08:30

    It was fun but not all that interesting

  • Oscar
    2019-02-01 04:36

    I'm sad this book didn't exist when I was in junior high because I have no doubt it would have been my favourite thing.Japan Ai is an informal travel journal told through loosely structured illustrations (not quite a "comic" in the traditional sense). If you are, or have ever been, a hardcore weeaboo (and I say that with love), there is a lot to like about this book.Aimee, our illustrator and protagonist, is a weeaboo of the highest order (again, I say that with love). At the time of her trip, she ran one of the few English language fansites for Japanese ball-jointed dolls and through that managed to secure an invitation from the president of VOLKS - the makers of DOLLFIE - to visit their flagship store. So, she gathers two of her fellow cosplayer friends and books a trip to Japan.Throughout the book we see Aimee and company do a lot of the things that anime/manga fans dream of doing on trips to Japan - visiting hot springs, shrines, themed cafés, and merch stores. It seems like she had a fairly unrestricted budget ($80 photo-ops and $300 dolls - though not quite enough for $3000 Miyazki film cells!), so it's easy to be jealous of her adventures. If I went to Japan with that kind of money, I'm sure I'd have to buy an extra suitcase to bring home all of my loot (and possibly even a plane ticket for a giant Moomin plush).The art is super adorable. I'm always amazed by artists who do "simple" and seemingly effortless sketches that still somehow show their true talent. There are several more detailed full colour illustrations that let you really see the quality of her work.The scans of her line art however are not great (the levels need to be tweaked) but that doesn't really detract from the experience. Also - and this is really just a personal problem - with so much white space, it does not hold up well under library circulation (so many mystery stains!).There is no real "story" here - just isolated events ('first we did this, then we did this') and occassionally just random sights and facts about Japan. She does a great job explaining details of Japanese culture, fashion, and media (there is even a glossary) - it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know but it's just the thing for burgeoning young weeaboos!

  • Soobie can't sleep at night
    2019-02-01 07:17

    It was good but it lacked a kind of continuity: sometimes it felt like a series of stand-alone panels but it still was a good reading.I love the drawings because they were so round. And the frame in colors were even better. I mean, that girl can use colors. She has one of the best art I've seen in quite a while. Way better than theMy Japanese Husband Thinks I'm Crazy: The Comic Book series, for example. But, yeah, Grace's comics are funny too.Apart from technical details, what about the content? Major-Steinberger tackles some topics that are typical for foreigners describing Japan: onsen, train at rush hour, capsule hotels and wearing a kimono (I did it, as well)... The part about the dolls was her special thing but I felt it was kind of too rushed.I'm 1,70cm and I had troubles with Japanese clothes. I can't even imagine how it was for the author and her 1,80. I didn't even buy any clothes in Japan, just a couple of five-finger socks that were so cute. Still, they are too right for my feet and I don't wear them very often. I did try on the geta shoes but they were so much smaller than my feet and walking around the campus at the beginning of December was quite a feat. As an Italian, I knew all the manga and anime she mentioned. Versailles no Bara is one of the best anime and my generation has grown up with it. I'm not sure this applies to the younger generations, though. I've read the CLAMP, Sakura Wars, and also Bleach and Inu-yasha.Well, the art is fantastic but the story seems to be a bit crumbled.

  • Arminzerella
    2019-02-16 04:27

    Aimee Steinberger finally gets to visit Japan after wanting to go for years – this is her travel diary/graphic novel of her experiences there. Aimee is a tall, manga-loving, videogame-playing girl who likes to cosplay and collect Volks dolls. She travels to Japan with two of her friends and they see all the sights, including: temples, a Takarazuka Revue performance of Aida, Sanrio (the Hello Kitty store), the geisha district, an onsen (hot springs resort), a manga café, Harajuku (the neighborhood where Japanese cosplayers get their costumes and dress up and hang out), and at long last, the Volks store!This very readable travelogue is filled with Aimee’s humorous and insightful descriptions of her adventures in Japan told through both her words and her artwork. Aimee’s drawings are so much fun! She has a really cute simple style for most of the drawings she does of herself and her friends. But she’s also really versatile – she can realistically render temples, geisha, and other sights and people. Some of the drawings are black and white, others are in color, and mixed together with Aimee’s commentary, the whole is rather like looking at a scrapbook. This should appeal to otaku who have an interest in traveling to Japan someday - Aimee highlights a bunch of different activities and places to go that they will want to remember for their own travels.“Since we couldn’t read Japanese, we frequented restaurants with plastic food displays (which, thankfully for us, were plenty)! Sometimes we had to drag the waitress outside and point to the plastic food display to explain what we wanted. 90% of the time, I ate curry rice, which I adore.” (p. 103)

  • Bonnie
    2019-02-12 07:40

    Have you ever felt like you stood out from the crowd? Like you were so strange and different, that people couldn’t help but stare? Lately, Aimee’s been getting that feeling all the time. Yes, she’s a fangirl from California who has the ability to detect all things cute. She loves dolls, drawing, manga, and video games. In her spare time, Aimee and her friends like to cosplay, which is making costumes and dressing up as your favorite anime or video game character. But none of these things are the reason that Aimee stands out like a sore thumb. Aimee’s 6’ tall and, while that’s not such a big deal in California, when you’re visiting Japan, you might as well be Godzilla.When you’re 6’ tall and in Japan, you tower over almost everyone else. People might mistake you for a monster out of a Godzilla movie. You don’t always fit in every bathroom stall. Losing your luggage on the flight is a big deal, because finding cloths your height is almost impossible. People are scared to share a hot springs pool with you. And dressing up as a geisha means you need two people and a chair just to put on a wig.Aimee’s determined to have a good time while she’s visiting Japan. It’s her dream to see Kyoto, home of traditional Japanese culture, and Tokyo, a city that’s all about the future. Along the way, she and her friends, A.J. and Judy, visit temples, watch musicals, get lost on the trains, cosplay in Harajuka, and adopt a doll. Japan Ai: A Tall Girl’s Adventures in Japan is Aimee’s sketchbook journal of the entire trip.

  • Karen
    2019-02-13 08:28

    This is a book that I may not have picked up if it hadn't been for Jacob recommending it. Essentially it's an illustrated travel journal of the author's long-anticipated -- and largely pop culture -- visit to Japan with two female friends. A few of the humorous incidents in the book relate to the fact that she is six feet tall. Her drawings are done in anime/manga-inspired style and range from manga-cartoonish to very representational. I needed Wikipedia to explain the occasional cat ears or cat mouth that appeared on her character (evidently symbols of excitable personality or mischievous thoughts).Perhaps my favorite take-away was of the strict, regimented fan clubs after the Takarazuka shows (musical revues where -- unlike old-time Shakespearean plays -- women play all the roles). The author tells about (and illustrates) the fans squatting in neat formation, standing and squatting in sync without any obvious cue.Since only samurai, gangsters, and the like have tattoos, the three women were pleased to find an onsen (hot springs communal bath and inn) that allowed tattooed people (and swimsuits) in the water -- although no one shared their pool. She wrote, "In the USA, we don't really get naked with strangers often." When I read that line, I couldn't help but wonder how our culture might be different if we had that rather casual acceptance of the body.

  • Lucy
    2019-02-02 06:33

    While I could stand for a few less exclamation marks, the summary above mostly does the book justice: it does outline what is pretty much the ideal fan-vacation to Japan. The book is also filled with very useful and accurate information about Japanese culture. It covers a lot of terms I learned in high school and college Japanese classes, and does it without being overwhelming or sounding like a text book. Having been to Japan myself, I could identify with Aimee’s troubles, and so many of her experiences lined up with my own. A must-have for any fan of anime/manga/lolita, any student of Japanese, and anyone planning to visit Japan.The illustrations are adorable, and almost always hilarious. However, the actually interior design of the book is kind of sloppy. Some page layouts are a bit iffy and could have been balanced better, and far too often part of the illustration get lost in the fold of the book. I almost broke the spine a few times trying to find a detail that had been lost. There’s also a sort of flow problem. Mostly it follows a consistent narrative, but occasionally there are random illustrations that seem to come out of no-where. I’m ok with them, but I wish the designer had done something different with those pages, so that it didn’t feel so jarring.

  • Sara
    2019-02-10 01:14

    Great fun! This is a graphic memoir/Japanese pop culture handbook recounting the author's trip to Japan. Aimee and her friends go to hot springs, experience culture shocks, shop for awesome stuff, eat at theme restaurants, dress in elaborate costumes, and generally experience Tokyo and Kyoto. Aimee also gets to visit the shop where her favorite dolls are made. Japan is a country with a very interesting history and a very unique contemporary culture, and these vibrant qualities come through in the graphic novel. Some of the illustrations are in color, which makes things like street fashions and geisha costumes even cooler. For those who are lucky enough to be planning a trip to Japan, the author includes the addresses, phone numbers, opening hours, and websites of the places she visits so that readers can enjoy them too! There's even a glossary defining the Japanese terms she uses. Anyone with an interest in Japan might like this book, but it's especially great for anyone who likes manga/anime/otaku/pop culture. A fascinating, quick read!

  • Cara
    2019-01-27 05:23

    Yes, I loved this book THAT much. Japan AI is Manga travelogue documenting an American woman's journey through Japan. It is filled with amazing cartoons (she is a cartoonist by trade) and with so much insider knowledge of Japan's pop culture, which is truly amazingly intricate and beautiful. She references several different Manga books in her own text as well as some of the accompanying hobbies like coplaying (costume playing) where they dress up as favorite Manga characters and play pretend. This is definitely a book you would put in the hands of teenagers (definitely girls, but some boys as well) who would love the cartoons and the exquisite details of fantasy restuarants, exclusive doll stores, all-female musicals, hot springs, and the world's largest Manga store. Geography or world history courses that touch on Japan would enjoy this supplemental material. It is a very quick and easy way to read, and is very high interest which is great for struggling readers. I highly recommend this for a Manga read, it was on the Top 10 Graphic Novels from YALSA.

  • Laura
    2019-02-15 05:33

    Laura ProctorJapan AI- A Tall Girl's Adventures in Japan- Aimee Major Steinberger 171 PagesGraphic Novel I really enjoyed reading this graphic novel. I thought it was a fun, but I also learned lots about the Japanese culture. It was about the author's adventures in Japan as a tall, white girl. It's interesting to see how much attention was drawn to her because she was tall and white. It was fun the way the author told the story, how she had to point to the menu and pictures of the food in order to dinner,and to have to rush onto the subway but she has to duck to get on. The main reason she went to Japan was to see the Volks dolls and meet the manager. She became fascinated with these dolls and wanted to go to a store. Along with going to a Volks doll store Steinberger also went to a onsen, visited a shrine, and dressed up a a Maiko. Her friend really wanted to go to a Takarazuka show, so they also did that. The book just made me want to go to Japan, it was short but such a fun and interesting read. I learned lots about japan and the story was told in a fun way!

  • Ashley
    2019-02-16 03:24

    I can easily see why this was a YALSA pick and this story had many interesting, thoughtful, and cute elements describing a woman's trip to Japan with friends. Aimee is recounting memories by illustrating and describing major moments, from her invitation to come to Japan to visit the VOLKS doll store to trying the hot baths to dressing up as a Lolita doll and going to the Harajuku district of Tokyo. Aimee's memories are light and overall positive, and it was refreshing to read a story that was fluffy in content but not saccharine. I also got the sense that the story took place in the early days of cosplay, before it had the visibility of today, and Aimee's enthusiasm for cosplay and geek culture is infectious. This book is geared towards teens but doesn't skip around disappointing moments. The narrative was coherent and had a clear arc, although I would've liked more of a linear storyline. It only took an hour or so to read, and it was an hour well spent.

  • Brenda
    2019-01-28 02:32

    A graphic novel deplicting this Gaijin woman who goes to Japan because she finagle an invitation to go to Japan and visit Volks a great store where they sell dolls. She is accompanied with her Chinese friend, A.J. and her other gf Judy. They are her besties and accompany her to do the sights: Tokyo the city of the future and Kyoto home of Japanese traditions. She also gets to go on Sunday to the park and do cosplays (costumes from Manga, anime and video games). She bonds with some of the folks who love collecting dolls and cosplays and of course, there are those who are just not into foreigners. She is 6' tall so buying size 11 shoes is not possible. She is so tall, she literally stood out in Japan. As she was taking pictures of Japan and its culture, people took pictures of her and her costumes.Definately tells you where to go and how life is like. It's like Alice in Wonderland stepping out of hte rabbit hole. Wait, they dress like that too.Liked it.

  • Carrie
    2019-02-18 05:44

    A fun, autobiographical tour through Japanese pop culture taken by three geeky female friends: Aimee ("animator, Scottish/English/German; likes cute stuff"), A.J. ("software engineer, Chinese, does Chinese opera; likes pants with chains") and Judy ("estate planner; Croatian likes Victorian dresses & chainmaille").Kids into manga, anime, fashion, or Japanese culture will enjoy this real-life adventure with manga stylings (references to characters & scenes from Fruits Basket, Inuyasha & Sailor Moon abound). An extensive list of travel guides, Japanese fashion retailers and a glossary have lots of build-out potential. Queer kids will connect to the cross-dressing Takarazuka theater troop and gender-bending waiters, retailers and street fashionistas of the Harajuku district, while others will simply enjoy being steeped in the creative, expansive world of Japanese pop culture.

  • Taralen
    2019-02-15 04:18

    This is a very informative book, especially for those interested in Dolfie dolls. I never knew just how special those dolls can be and anyone whose an avid collector of these dolls should thank the author for allowing people to purchase them more easily outside Japan. I learned a lot about Japanese culture I never knew before. Lots of the things she notes upon also break many stereotypes that people accuse of Japanese culture. I especially like how she details the differences between Geisha, Maiko (apprentice Geisha), and Oiran/Tayu (a traditional prostitute who is easily confused to be a Geisha.) By the author's trip alone, it's plain to see that Japan is a very mixed country in terms of culture. There are the traditional places and more modern ones. I recommend this book to fans of Anime/Manga who know very little about real Japanese culture.