Hollowspine's Reviews > Japan Ai: A Tall Girl's Adventures in Japan

Japan Ai by Aimee Major-Steinberger
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Aug 20, 14

bookshelves: graphic-novel, non-fiction
Read from August 24 to 25, 2010

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.
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