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Tokyo: A Certain Style Paperback – Sep 15 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; New edition edition (Sept. 15 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811824233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811824231
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.9 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 299 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #386,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Holt on Nov. 19 2002
Format: Paperback
The point of the positive reviews -- that this book gives you a different view of "clean, tidy" Japanese -- hardly supports a reason to purchase this book.
Look, the photography does the best job it can to show these rooms (often so small that only one or two angles are possible), but photo after photo of seeing people's piles of books, records, manga, dishes? Please -- this is not a book about style. It's a book about people who have no style -- the have STUFF. If you're looking for insight into the real homelife style of Japanese, in this book you're mostly going to be seeing only a blur.
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By Gil on July 19 2004
Format: Paperback
I stumbled across this little book one day while souting around at my local bookstore-I flipped thru the pages, and I was intrigued by the way the small spaces were used..I did not buy the book that day, and waited months before deciding to buy a copy. When I went looking, it was no where to be found, and I regret not buying it that day. then lo and behold, I was able to order it last week, picked it up this weekned and spent most of the evening scouring thru it. I spent time in Japan myself, and was amazed at how they efficiently use the little space available to them. It is true-How many of us live in cold minimalist empty shells devoid of the company of our treasured possessions? I would venture to say very few, and I would consder those folks very unlucky people, but that's how they chose to live, and I respect them. Give me my knicknacks, Kitsch, culled items from the curb, hi-fi systems, game consoles, books, and I am a happy man. Kyoichi, I know you are probably not reading this, but if you are, PLEASE write another book. You have a loyal follower in me...Gil
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Format: Paperback
If there was ever an opposite to minimalism, some of the photographs in this book are perfect illustrations of it. Every page is an exploration of someone's life, as outlined by the room(s) they live in. And all of those someones are citizens living in Tokyo. Rooms range from those plastered wall to wall with bookshelves (where two professors live), to laundy lines hanging above a bed functioning almost as a curtained canopy, to one or two pieces of furniture on a hardwood-floor with an electric guitar and two windows into a green courtyard.
The book is divided into sections based on style (ranging from cluttered to semi-thought-out design to traditional bamboo-mat japanese decor) with small captions for each photograph. There are also facts and photographs about some of the buildings -- how close they are to food/shopping areas, whether there's a communal bathroom, etc. The book is small (I venture to say "pocket-size" even -- it's about as tall as the length of my hand from palm to finger), but the photographs stretch from corner to corner with no borders and no especially obstructive text.
This is a great book for people interested in how possessions can define character, how place and setting and clutter can equate to some greater good, what all this means besides just "living space." I find myself thumbing through it frequently, a little overwhelmed, but always fascinated.
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Format: Paperback
Well, it's just like MY home, which is crammed to the brim with books, CDs and other junk I just can't part with!
My own living conditions aside, the main reason I love this book is that it is a look into REAL homes. Not those models you see in magazines or on TV. This is how real people live and that's what makes it all the more appealing. When faced with astronomical land prices, people are forced to live in a smaller space, while trying to keep their own "style," which is what this book is about.
As one reviewer wrote, the photos are circa 1992, but over 10 years later, things haven't changed--my friend's apartment (she lives in Fukushima, though) looks just like some of these places--an organized mess. Even when I was living there a few years ago, my place had that "less is more" feel, with no furniture and piles of books and CDs lining the walls.
The photos are bright and the overall atmosphere created is one of comfort--even when faced with mountains of "mono"--and that is the idea. One man's trash is another man's treasure and while some may cringe when seeing some of these places, one must always remember that these are/were people's homes and that, to them, this is comfort! The photos are not glamorous (the author is not a professional photographer and clearly states as much), but they are not meant to be, nor do they need to be.
This is book is a great piece of nostalgia for people who lived in Japan (like myself), and a wonderful insight into the way real people live in one of the largest, most expensive cities in the world.
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By Lisa2 on April 21 2004
Format: Paperback
I, for one, am all in favor of stuff. My own, my best friend's, my second cousin's, and even (especially) an anonymous Japanese surfer's. It's interesting. That's why I enjoy this book so much. It's almost like a "Where's Waldo? - Japanese Interior Edition." These apartments are loaded with an amazing assortment of kitsch, electronics, albums, etc. It's a visual adventure. What kind of fascinating items will I find in each picture? It's great...but it's not for everyone, as other reviewers have noted. In fairness, I do agree with those who felt the book is filled with nothing but pictures of stuff and how to cram it into very small apartments. Also, the photography is utilitarian, not "see how magical this space is." So, if you are looking for a "House Beautiful" type book, this isn't it. This is the how-NOT-to book, if anything. But if you're intrigued by the things that other people collect, enjoy, and live with, this is a book to add to YOUR stuff.
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