Editor’s note: Hi! If you are want a proper review of the book, you won’t get it from the post below, which mostly is about how, what and why I love the ManaBeShimA Island Japan, the book. Emphasizing on I and Japan parts. If you want to read a more through yet interesting review of the book, here is the link.
I was waiting for my chicken pao to be heated up by the store clerk so I popped into the bookstore next door to see to looksie-looksie when I saw it. Another book by Florent Chavout (FC), the author/illustrator of Tokyo On Foot (TOF), called ManaBeShima Island Japan (MIS). I got TOF last year after contemplating for many moons, whether dropping serious dollars was worth getting a book filled with drawings only. The book ended up being my all time favorite. I reread it countless times and at times it cheers me up as well. That book, along with Pretty Good Number One, aspired my 2nd trip to Japan.
All that, plus the tag “One island, two months, one minicar, sixty crabs, eight bites, and fifty shots of shochu”, I didn’t need another reason to get the MIS right there and then. I finished it on that night itself (don’t worry, I know I’d read and reread it). Interestingly, I have seen the original version of the book before. In the French embassy’s library, but that time I wasn’t aware that it’s by FC. Even then, equipped by less than 1% of familiar French vocabularies, I happily flipped through the pages looking at the pictures.
I like both books because it’s written in the first person perspective and experiences all by his own drawings. Fantastic drawing skill if I may add. This book even more than TOF, maybe because he writes in a more personal way, with more anecdotes. Or maybe because by the time I read TOF I have been to Tokyo, meanwhile MIS inspired me to visit the small islands in Japan. I wanted it so much that I tried to convince Fafa (formerly known as Hulk; same person, new nickname) to explore the tiny islands in Japan next year.
The book also inspires me to: eat somen, send Florent a hand drawn thank you card, go fishing, draw, eat Managatseo sashimi, make a Zine of Japan or Melbourne, be nicer to people, make the “temple special” pink onigiri, see the inside of Reizo san’s house, drive a mini car, catch Umibotaru, pet a tako and do the Tanko Bushi dance. In short, I’d love to move to the islands of Japan and live there for sometime
Maybe then I too would meet nice friends like the Santoras and Nakamuros. Though my favorite character of the Manabeshima island, the one I’d love to befriend, is the unnamed vagabond.
I 100% recommend this book to all my readers, fellow Japan and or Florent Chavouet’s lovers. Speaking of FC, if you know his twitter or email, please share here. I know only of his French blog.
Now I am thinking to write a review of TOF because I enjoy it as well. Btw, you might notice that I hardly write any book review, not because I don’t read (I’d like to think I read plenty), it’s just I don’t think I could write a proper review, But, at least, unlike the beauty box review, which I wrote once only, I have written twice as many reviews (here and here) before this one. Hai dozo.
The above picture is an actual snap of the beautiful Island by another French blogger. Don’t you wish to live there, at least for a while?
Also, credit to Amazon (go get the paper back now) for the first few pictures. Credit to Miaw for the one below.