Verdict: AN OTAKU ABROAD is a concise, organized and detailed travel primer that is perfect for newbie travelers who want to visit Japan. (4/5 stars)
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Author Sarah G. Rothman’s goal in writing this book is to make travel to Japan a reality for those who have, up to now, only dreamed of visiting the country.
Rothman uses her own travel experience in Japan and addresses not only the expense of being in Japan, but also numerous other determinants in preparing for travel.
AN OTAKU ABROAD is an in-depth and informative guide that takes the intimidation factor out of planning a trip to Japan. The book is organized into five main parts: Preparation; Travel, Lodging and Food; Studying Abroad; Locations, and Final Notes. Each of these parts is subdivided into sections that provide detailed information on everything from passports, visas, money, packing departure and airports, to types of transportation and lodgings, etiquette, food, cultural behavior tips, things to do, school options, places to visit and returning home.
This extensive range of information reduces the guesswork involved in the planning and implementation of the travel by helping readers decide what sort of trip to have, where to go, but also to enlighten readers on nuances of the Japanese culture, so they can attempt to assimilate in the best possible way.
The book’s title suggests the information is targeted to Otaku (anime and manga fans), while certain sections are directed more to college students, as judged by the basic info about passports and visas and advice to call home to let your parents know where you are in the event of a natural disaster so they don’t worry. But the information in this book is actually more inclusive of a wider audience, easily serving as a basic tour guide for novice travelers who want to visit or have an extended stay in Japan.
The writing itself is clear and organized, though at times, Rothman’s non-descript comments such as: “it was pleasant enough, but nothing spectacular” or “it was entertaining, but nothing particularly spectacular”, come across with an air of aloofness. Rothman’s description of Japan as “the land of the rising sun” is also repetitive.
In the description of locations, Rothman does offer some history of the sites she recommends visiting, including some anime and manga related attractions. In addition to the itinerary planning aid, there are numerous handy references such as approximate rate conversions, estimates on spending, fares for various modes of travel and hotels and a mini phrase book and list of internet resources for research before you head out. The photos of major attractions are diverse and sharp, adding to the aesthetics of this handy book.
AN OTAKU ABROAD is a concise, organized and detailed travel primer that is perfect for newbie travelers who want to visit Japan.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader