Saturday, February 7, 2009

Moresukine: Uploaded Weekly from Tokyo

As promised, I'm back with another graphic novel recommendation (this is Jennie for those of you who missed the earlier posting I wrote while Sally was away at bookselling school). I'm a big fan of social experiments, which explains why Moresukine: Uploaded Weekly from Tokyo by Dirk Schwieger is my graphic novel pick this week. Schwieger lived in Tokyo for a couple of years and while he was there he kept a comics blog. He invited readers of his blog to write in and submit missions for him to complete that would take him out of his expat comfort zone and introduce him to the multi-faceted conundrum wrapped in an enigma that is modern Japanese culture. For 6 months he took on every challenge that was posed, regardless of how dangerous, weird, gross, pointless, boring or uncomfortable it was. He then drew short comics pieces about each assignment. We join Dirk as he risks his life to taste the potentially poisonous fugu, checks out the local love hotel, visits the architectural wonder that is the Studio Ghibli Museum (this is one I'm jealous of), and goes on a host of other strange, eye-opening adventures. Schwieger's humorous commentary as he relates each journey captures both the exoticism and utter normalcy of urban Japan. The book is the size and shape of a Moleskine notebook (the legendary notebook of Hemingway, Picasso, and Chatwin!) and is a steal at only $15.95.

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