Manabeshima Island Japan
More than just a Japan travel guide, Manabeshima Island Japan paints a colorful and entertaining picture of a particular place and time in Japan.
Japan is made up of thousands of sacred islands, artificial islands, industrial islands, resort islands, wild islands and exploding islands…but artist Florent Chavouet had only ever visited two of them. This graphic novel is the story of one summer when he decides to get to know one more-the tiny island of Manabeshima. This speck of dirt in the Inland Sea, off the coast of Osaka, has a total population of 300, and he sets himself the task of recording everything and everyone he meets there in quirky detail on the pages of his sketchbook.
Whereas Chavouet’s other best-selling book, Tokyo on Foot, focuses on the physical city, it is the local island inhabitants who form the heart of this new book. Chavouet’s sensitive drawings and insightful captions create instant portraits of incredible literary depth.
The cast of characters who are lovingly depicted includes Ikkyu-san, owner of the island’s only bar (and the bar’s three regulars-skinny guy, Day-Glo cap guy and greasy-haired guy); the young Nakamura family and their five kids; the layabout Shimura-san, a living relic from the hippie 1970s; Kurata-san the policeman; Reizo-san the island intellectual in his elegant Meiji-era home; Rock the Neanderthal fisherman; and a chorus of assorted grandmothers and cats-all of whom welcome Chavouet into their community as a kindred soul.
Against a backdrop of fireworks, summer festivals, fishing expeditions, and the constant hum of the cicadas, Chavouet depicts these characters so vividly and sympathetically, and describes their rustic way of life in such simple and appealing terms that we find it as hard to finish the book as Chavouet found it to leave the island at the end of his enchanted summer holiday.
"His softly shaded colored-pencil artwork is often humorous-he draws himself with a bulbous nose and puts silly eyes on the various sea creatures-but it can be both luminously beautiful, especially when he draws landscapes, and highly detailed, as on the pull-out map of Manabeshima included in the back of the book. This loving portrait of island life will enchant readers as much as Chavouet was obviously charmed by Manabeshima." -Booklist "By coupling such a broad range of subject matter with a quirky yet inviting free-form style of depiction, Chavouet has created a truly experiential guide-one in which the reader becomes fellow traveler, seeing, smelling, tasting, savoring and even recoiling from the same things as he." -Examiner.com "The best part of Tuttle's lovely softcover edition of Manabeshima is that it comes with a huge map folded into a pocket on the back cover. This map is intensely detailed, showing every house and garden and boat on the island and labeled with references to people, landmarks, and events from the main text." -News on Japan "Readers who enjoy graphic novels are in for a treat with this unusual and well-crafted travelogue." -School Library Journal "Chavovet's art contains gentle humor and an awareness for lifes details. Personalities and quirks enliven his fond caricatures, and each page brims with life. Chavovet's notes and observations provide further details about life on a small island. He notes the resident's habits and the antics of the many cats that rule the island. These small details, many of them surprising, give Manabeshima Island a different outlook than a guide book. It is a smart, warm, gently comical look at everyday life. Vibrant colors and interesting perspectives keeps you turning the pages." -Japan Powered blog "A sumptuous book, as original in its format as in its content, Manabeshima Island Japan is even more accomplished than Tokyo on Foot." -Zoo "Open the book to any page in the middle of the book and you will find the most amazing, tiny details." -Shanghai Daily "Florent Chavouet is no tour guide for those in search of overblown emotion and remarkable sites. His interests are the unknown, the anecdotal, those journeys that never cease to astonish and amuse." -Liberation
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