books

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. 

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Who is this mysterious sumo wrestler and why has he “sunk” Japan?!

It’s no secret that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover–but anyone who says they never do is probably a liar (or at least prone to exaggeration). After all, if you’re not a fan of fantasy, a Dragonlance cover illustration should be all you need to know to stay away. By the same turn, if you’re looking for some Japanese fiction, grabbing a book with a sumo wrestler on the cover seems like a safe option.

Though that doesn’t make the cover any less absurd if it’s actually a science fiction novel, though, as these Japanese Twitter users discovered!

Read More

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure creator shares manga-making secrets, Hemingway influences in new book

You won’t find many manga authors who’ve achieved more success than Hirohiko Araki. In 1986, Araki put the finishing touches on the first chapter of supernatural brawling saga Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and the series has just kept going from there.

With over 100 collected volumes of Jojo already published, and who knows how many more until its seemingly tireless creator runs out of steam, Araki is undoubtedly a font of knowledge about crafting a successful comic series. As a matter of fact, you could say he wrote the book on how to make a successful manga, and you’d be right both figuratively and literally, thanks to the soon to be published Hirohiko Araki’s Manga Techniques.

Read More

Elderly Chinese man tells the touching tale of his married life through 200 hand-drawn pictures

We may be a couple of years late to the party, but even if you’re seeing this for a second time, you’ll still be on the verge of tears by the end, so stay tuned. Back in the spring of 2013, Rao Pingru, a 91-year-old Chinese man, published a book of over 200 hand-drawn illustrations and letters telling the touching story of his 80 year relationship with his beloved wife, Mao Meitang.

The book, entitled Our Story, is over 360 pages long, so we can’t bring you all of the drawings, but we know you’ll enjoy the snippets we have for you. Get out the tissues and don’t be afraid to let those tears flow.

Read More

Small Hokkaido bookshop’s unique service is getting business from all over Japan

Iwata Bookstore is a modest little shop in Sunagawa City way up in the Northeastern part of Hokkaido. It also the site of an unlikely success story as it has recently been receiving orders from all over Japan by people wanting its one-of-a-kind offer of 10,000 yen (US$84) worth of books.

They’re not just any books though; these books are recommended by the shop’s owner Toru Iwata and hand-picked for every customer who orders.

Read More

Library in Zhejiang Province welcomes readers from all walks of life, including the homeless

There’s something wonderfully relaxing and welcoming about libraries. Not only are they full of good things to read, their quiet, contemplative atmosphere makes them the perfect place for introspective people to hang out in, too. The sanctity of a library can’t be broken by the rabble of everyday life, and perhaps that’s why homeless people in Zhejiang Province, China have taken to holing up in Hangzhou Municipal Library.

The library staff have garnered praise online for “allowing” homeless people to read there, but aren’t libraries for everyone, after all? Join us after the jump for some snapshots of homeless patrons enjoying some quiet time with a book.

Read More

Author insinuates Hayao Miyazaki isn’t right in the head, says The Wind Rises is full of lies

In listening to people talk about anime director Hayao Miyazaki, there’s a collection of words you’ll hear over and over. Genius. Visionary. Legend.

So it was a little surprising to hear the man behind one of Japan’s most popular films from the last year instead voice his suspicions that Miyazaki isn’t quite right in the head.

Read More

【TBT】The avant-garde art of book stacking in stores of Japan

With bookstores in Japan overflowing with manga, novels and non-fiction, it takes a lot to stand out and get noticed. However, with the advent of the three styles of book stacking we’re going to show, it’s impossible for passersby not to stop and take a gander at these literary works.

Read More

Wow, literature is cute! Hiroshima library designs anime mascots for decimal classifications

Nowadays, whenever we want to access to the vast wealth of knowledge humanity has amassed, all we have to do check Google, Wikipedia, or the RocketNews24 search box. But long ago, you had to go to a place called a library.

With an Internet search engine you can just type in what you’re looking for, but simply scrawling, say, “history of feudal Japan” on the wall of the library will not only fail to provide you with the information you seek, it’ll probably get you thrown out of the building. Instead, you’ve got to utilize a system of numbers used to organize written works. While the U.S. has the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress Classifications, Japan has its own framework, called the Nippon Decimal Classification.

For modern youths, though, having to look up books by a numeric code feels extremely cumbersome and inefficient. So how do you get young readers excited about using the Nippon Decimal Classification? By anthropomorphizing it as a team of cute anime characters. , of course!

Read More

The science of Attack on Titan explained: Finally, a Titan tie-in that looks kinda cool

Who would win in a fight between a Titan and Ultraman? How were the Walls built? Seeing as Titans never eat or drink, are they surviving through photosynthesis? If these are the questions that keep you awake at night, then we’ve got some bedtime reading for you.

Kūsō Kagaku Dokuhon (空想科学読本, literally “fantasy science reader”) is a series that addresses, queries and explains the science behind popular Japanese anime and manga. This time around, writer Rikao Yanagita has turned his hand to the inescapable Attack on Titan series, in this 208-page illustrated work that promises to answer all your titanic scientific ponderings.

Read More

Are Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid all dating the same prince?

If we’re going strictly by the Disney versions, most people could tell you that the respective heroines of The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White are respectively Ariel, Aurora, and Snow White. A tougher trivia question, though, is to name their three princes.

As the most recent of the bunch to appear on the screen, Ariel’s Eric might not be too hard to recall, but how many remember that Aurora’s betrothed is named Phillip? And as for Snow White, we never learn the name of the man who wakes her with a kiss, as not once in the movie is he referred to as “Prince Charming.”

Actually, if we go back further, to the original fairy tales these Disney classics were based on, many times the male lead is simply called “the prince.” While it’s possible this is because of their relatively small and interchangeable roles in those stories, one mother in Japan has another theory: the same prince stole the heart of the Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White.

Read More

Kiki’s Delivery Service side story being written by original author – online now and free!

Recently, my wife and I went out to see the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service. As we waited for the film to start, we swapped impressions of the 1989 anime version of the story, which like the live-action version is an adaptation of author Eiko Kadono’s 1985 children’s novel of the same name.

My wife mentioned that one of her favorite characters was Osono, the owner of the bakery where witch-in-training Kiki boards. Osono’s actually got quite a few fans, due to her tough yet kind personality and mature outlook on life.

How exactly Osono managed to acquire those admirable traits is the subject of a new serial by Kadono, a coming of age story focused on the baker who would eventually serve as Kiki’s mentor.

Read More

Concern as hundreds of copies of The Diary of Anne Frank found defaced in Tokyo public libraries

An investigation is currently underway after it became clear that more than 300 copies of The Diary of a Young Girl, the book containing the writings of Holocaust victim Anne Frank, have been torn and severely defaced over what is thought to be the past few weeks across a number of public libraries in Tokyo.

Read More

Earthquake strikes Kanto region, ruins novelty goods store’s evening

At approximately 8:44 on the evening of 16 November, a magnitude-4 earthquake shook the Kanto area of Japan. Although some barely noticed the tremor, the quake dealt a sizeable blow to the Village Vanguard store in Sangenjaya, Tokyo.

Village Vanguard is a chain of book stores in Japan, but also the place to go for those looking for a Jamaican flag Zippo lighter, bag of freeze-dried astronaut food, DVD of Golden Eggs, and/or bag with a Dr. Pepper logo on it in a country that by and large neither knows of nor likes the drink.

Following the damage caused by the quake, an outpouring of support has been seen from netizens in Japan.

Read More

“Buy from bookstores or they’ll disappear!” Frustrated bookseller implores crowd on final day of business

As you may have heard, e-books and the Internet are leading the charge to burn down libraries, destroying civilization, and generally ruin everyone’s day. While this may be a bit of an exaggeration, there’s no denying the impact that these disruptive technologies have had on how we read and where we buy our content.

This is true even in Japan, which has a rather significant publishing industry and a large pool of eager readers, where physical books and magazines have had high sales well into the 21st century. While the country is known for its technology, Japanese consumers have been slow to adopt new modes of purchasing their texts.

But all that’s starting to change.

Read More

Worldwide best seller The Zombie Survival Guide finally gets a Japanese release

Japan is facing a potential crisis. While the rest of the world has been readying itself for the zombie apocalypse for years now thanks to the likes of author Max Brooks and his The Zombie Survival Guide, the inhabitants of the land of the rising sun have been given precious little to prepare them for life after society has been torn to shreds by the flesh-hungry living dead.

Thankfully, with World War Z–a movie loosely based on Brooks’ 2006 novel of the same name–finally hitting Japanese cinemas on August 10, the powers that be have decided it is time to arm the nation with the knowledge it’ll need to survive. Arriving in bookstores next month, a Japanese language version of The Zombie Survival Guide might just keep the country going until we can start rebuilding society.

Read More

Man searching for ‘the meaning of life’ steals upwards of 800 books from a single store

A young man from Nanjing, China, has been arrested after stealing more than 800 social science textbooks, history compendiums and poetry books from a book shop in the town. When questioned by police, the young man maintained that he was searching for ‘the meaning of life’ within the books’ pages.

Read More

  1. 1
  2. 2
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 19,167 other followers