“Painter x Lyrics: Flower Edition” art book turns music lyrics into gorgeous illustrations

Lovers of Japanese music and art rejoice, because the second volume of the Painter x Lyrics (絵師×歌詞) art book series went on sale on November 20!

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We bunk up in “bookstore hotel” Book and Bed Tokyo on opening night

Ever since we heard about the opening of a bookstore-themed hotel with sleeping quarters built into its wooden bookshelves, we’ve been keeping a close eye out for updates, and were actually lucky enough to snap up a reservation to stay at the hotel on opening night!

After emerging from the beautiful space this morning, we can happily say it’s one of the most atmospheric places to stay in Tokyo. Actually, we wouldn’t mind shacking up here permanently! Come with us as we take you through all the gorgeous features and unusual details after the break.

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The Ghibli that no one knows: former animator’s book offers inside look into famed anime studio

Studio Ghibli’s animated works have won acclaim around the world, and we’re sure many of our readers are familiar with their hit films like Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky. But have you ever wondered what it may be like to actually work in the famous studio? Well, now it looks like we can get a glimpse of what goes on in the studio, as one of Ghibli’s former animators, Hitomi Tateno, will be coming out later this month with a book titled “The Pencil War Chronicles: The Studio Ghibli that Nobody Knew“!

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“Amazing Kyoto” shows us sides of Japan’s old capital we’ve never seen before — in two languages!

Kyoto, which was the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years, is one of those cities that looks beautiful no matter what time of the year it is. But out of all the seasons, autumn is by far the most popular time to visit, and now that the leaves are beginning to change people are also starting to plan trips to catch a glimpse of Kyoto’s gorgeous fall scenery.

If you happen to be one of those tourists, we have just the book for you, a unique insight into city by foreigners who now call Kyoto their home, called Amazing Kyoto.

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Bookstore-styled Tokyo hostel has 1,700 books to read, bunks in the shelves to sleep next to them

Last summer, we heard about what sounded like the perfect place for lovers of travel and literature: a hotel in Tokyo designed like a bookstore and filled with reading material. It might sound like a fictitious flight of fancy, but Book and Bed Tokyo is very much real, and with its grand opening just days away, not only have pictures have surfaced of the unique accommodations, we now know how much it will cost to stay there and a little more about what kind of books it will have.

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Giant collection of 16-bit Nintendo cover art is ultimate coffee table book for old school gamers

Thanks to modern Internet marketing, it’s unlikely that anyone buys a video game without first having seen multiple gameplay videos of it as various stages of production. Gamers didn’t used to have access to so much information, though. In the 16-bit era, the less developed video game journalism sector meant that only major releases would get spreads in print magazines, and for some niche titles the only available visual preview came on the box itself.

As a result, the cover artwork played a huge role in catching customers’ eyes and conveying the mood and style of the game. Like classic movie posters, the best examples are works of art, and many of them are now being assembled in the upcoming book Super Famicom: The Box Art Collection.

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Nobel Prize for Literature eludes Japan’s Haruki Murakami yet again, and he couldn’t care less

Winning a Nobel Prize is a pretty big deal, to put it lightly. Many people would even say that it is the most prestigious award out there. Knowing that, no one would ever call a Nobel Prize a nuisance, right? Well…

Haruki Murakami, one of the most famous authors to come out of Japan, is not really interested in winning a Nobel Prize and actually kind of wishes people would stop nominating him.

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A CD of Buddhist monks reciting sutras is one of Japan’s best selling albums

Man, remember CDs? For a time, they were the best and essentially only way to get your music fix, before digital distribution basically steamrolled CD sales worldwide. Now everybody uses those CD spindles—which once held dozens of CDs containing hundreds of hours of music—to keep their bagels from going stale or whatever.

Unsurprisingly, though, in change-averse Japan, CDs still do a brisk business, although sales are certainly waning and it’s only a matter of time before the Japanese, too, decide to collectively microwave their CD collections once and for all (this being the most fun way to dispose of your CDs). And one interesting side-effect of Japan’s CD business entering its twilight years is that some rather unexpected, and sometimes downright odd, albums have been stealthily cracking the top 10 charts.

For example, this CD containing a soothing collection of Buddhist monks reciting sutras.

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Top-selling guide for picking up women in Hong Kong becomes the target of petition

Women of Hong Kong are none too happy about a bafflingly best-selling book that purports to teach men tips and tricks for picking up and having promiscuous sex with women in the Chinese autonomous territory. Get Laid in Hong Kong (at least the title is to the point) is a “sex tourism guide” of sorts for visiting western males that the pseudonymous author says is “guaranteed to get you laid.”

The book, perhaps in a sad reflection of the state of humankind, apparently hit No. 1 for Amazon sales in the “Asian Travel” category before it was briefly taken off virtual shelves due to backlash from Hong Kong women and an ongoing petition.

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Origami for books! Turn your old hardcovers into awesome 3-D art with OruFun

People are often loathe to part with their books, even after they’ve finished reading them. Thick, hardbound editions in particular have a sense of presence that entices literature lovers to hang on to them.

Sure, maybe you’re never going to go back and leaf through that heavy tome again, but doesn’t it look stately as it sits on the shelf? It might, but it would look a lot cooler if you used the pages to make one of these amazing folded paper pieces of art.

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U.K. gamebook’s redone cover tells you everything you need to know about Japanese fantasy RPG art

A fundamental difference in the way Japan and the west approach fantasy role-playing games is how much more optimism Japanese creators tend to apply to the genre. Consider the most common opening scenarios for the two regions. How many western RPGs start with a group of grizzled and profiteering adventurers, brought together in a shady tavern by tales of riches waiting to be claimed? About as many as there are Japanese ones that begin with some plucky, clean-cut childhood friends leaving their bucolic village on a quest to see the wonders of the world and help strangers along the way.

The gap even extends to visual designs, with much western fantasy art looking like it’s covered with a thin film of dust, blood, or mead. Japan, on the other hand, likes to believe that everything can look sleek, freshly scrubbed, and even sexy in a medieval setting.

One of the founding fathers of fantasy gaming, though, isn’t right pleased about that aesthetic.

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Amazon best seller ranking comparison between US and Japan turns up interesting results

They say you can tell a lot about different countries and their people by comparing consumer trends between them. However, a recent comparison between the best selling books on and has both Japanese netizens amused and horrified at the results. Which country is more well-read? We’ll let you be the judge!

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Mysterious Japanese publishing group releases book with pi to one million places

The world is full of mysteries, from why anyone thought recreating emoji in real life was a good idea to what the heck is going on at Fushimi Inari Shrine. Another mystery is what all the digits of pi are. Since the number just goes on and on forever, it’s a mystery that will never — can never — be solved.

However, we have figured out a huge amount of pi — to trillions of digits, in fact! And you can even buy a book with the first one million digits in Japan thanks to the Dark Communications Group, which is not a group of mad mathematicians plotting to take over the world.

We hope.

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Where’s Wally? Out of the picture now because Japanese Twitter users want to find Pikachu instead

One of the best things to come barrelling out of the 80s alongside Donkey King and the Garbage Pail Kids was a man with glasses and a fondness for red and white shirts. Known as Wally (or Waldo in the US and Canada), the star of a successful book series mesmerised people around the world by simply hiding out in massive scenes involving hundreds of tiny characters.

This challenge of finding a needle in a haystack is the gift that just keeps on giving because now clever artists in Japan have been creating artworks concealing the whereabouts of our beloved Pikachu. The best thing about these is that once you’ve found the star of the show, you can then keep going until you’ve found all your favourites from the Pokémon series! It’s time to test out your hunting skills after the jump.

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Japanese version of Game of Thrones comes with badass manga-style covers, because, Japan

The fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire has been a tremendous hit across the globe, and the television adaptation of the series, titled Game of Thrones, simply pushed its popularity to newer heights.

On this site, we’ve previously seen the Game of Thrones characters get the Disney treatment, now check out the characters done up in manga-style glory!

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Book shows the art of the Hayao Miyazaki Pippi Longstocking anime we never got

Sometimes they might be princesses, and other times they might be fish, but a recurring theme in the works of anime legend Hayao Miyazaki is “resilient, strong-willed girl gets tangled up in an adventure.”

But no matter how many times he goes to that well, Miyazaki always seems to come up with something unique. The character arc of Castle in the Sky Laputa’s Sheeta is different from that of Spirited Away’s Chihiro, which is again unlike the one which little witch Kiki goes through in starting her fledgling delivery service.

So it’s hard not to feel a little disappointed that there’s one plucky heroine Miyazaki never got to bring to life in anime form: Pippi Longstocking. Thankfully, there is a book that details the plan to do so and shows some of the imaginative concept art Miyazaki created for his anime that never was.

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Japanese craftsmen strike again: Make an old, beaten-up book look as good as new

Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something special about the smell of an old book, and the older and mustier it is, the better. The thing about books though, they’re made of paper, so over the years, the more you use them, the more they tear and get worn down. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could reverse this deterioration?

Actually, you can! Just take your books to this Tokyo-based book repairman who can make even the most decrepit book look like you just pulled it off the shelf at the bookstore. 

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Ultimate Transformers pop-up book perfectly captures the magic of TV show 【Video & GIFs】

In 1984, a group of transforming metal robots from Japan took the world by storm and spawned a global franchise of comic books, TV shows and blockbuster Hollywood movies. Recently, they added another notch to their post by celebrating 30 years of cool, shape-shifting abilities in the form of a mesmerising 3-D pop-up book, created by Matthew Reinhart.

Japanese netizens are currently swooning over the book for a number of reasons, and the big drawcard is Optimus Prime, whose massive form appears at the pull of a tab, towering over the book in all his glory. See the big guy with his pals and foes in action after the jump.

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Teen whose Frozen chalkboard art went viral gets an art commission before a high school diploma

A while back, we took a look at an amazing piece of artwork by student and Twitter user Rena Rena. Almost finished with her last year of high school, Rena realized her opportunities to indulge in youthful abandon were about to become that much scarcer, so she grabbed a piece of chalk and drew an amazing scene of Frozen’s Elsa standing on a snowy mountaintop.

Two months later, it looks like Rena’s life has indeed become so busy that she has no time for such ambitious amateur chalkboard art projects. On the bright side, that’s because she’s now doing professional chalkboard art, having been commissioned to create the cover to the newest book from one of Japan’s most celebrated fantasy authors.

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Author Naoki Hyakuta’s tweets of politics, perverts, and pleasuring himself spark controversy

Naoki Hyakuta is the writer of hit books such as Monsuta (Monster) and Eien No Zero (Forever Zero) both of which were adapted into films, the latter of which grossed 8.76 billion yen (US$72.5M) at the box office. In 2013 he was appointed to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK’s management committee.

However, after a slightly tumultuous engagement with the high-profile company, Hyakuta stepped down in February this year. Since then he appears to be enjoying his freedom to speak more freely again on Twitter, and as a result he has already irked an impressive number of people in only a few weeks.

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