Tuesday, May 25, 2010

a commenter had a little chuckle,
when i mentioned in
one post about
a nice little
minshuku (see glossary in right column)
to stay at in the mountains in japan -
i said that it must be in the lonely planet,
because there were a fair few
gaijin there.

and that's the thing - everyone knows -
no matter what little abandoned corner of the world you are in,
there will be another intrepid fellow explorer
with beaten up brick of a lonely planet on knee,
just around the next corner.
please know i am not being sniffy here,
i know often the chance meeting brings about good times,
it's just that that seems to be the current state of play.

the lonely planet is still the
dominant force in guide publishing (at least here in oz).
and for sure, they have their place -
i know on my first and subsequent trips to japan
the LP has been at times invaluable
when you land up in a random small town
with no idea of where to stay.
and it is especially useful for places where the language
makes it that bit harder to find what you need.

the trade off is that those guides have been out there a long time,
and everyone else will be there too :)


i love the taking it down a level.
going personalised and community/neighbourhood based.
following your nose and taking welcome hints
from others who like the same stuff you do.
guide makers who will also stop
and take a moment to appreciate
the small quiet corners,
the green potted streets and squares,
the colours and the light.

that's what these wonderful guides
to two of the world's most entrancing cities
can do, i think.

they would be a wonderful addition to
a traveller's suitcase.

top 2 photos:
PARIS 48°49N 2°29E by Ami Sioux at ofr. (in french i would say)

next 2 photos: guide paris at
ofr. (ditto)

how i found the above two: collage by
rosemarie at a drawing diary (exhibiting at ofr.)

last 4 photos: the highly anticipated tokyo neighbourhoods guide by
hello sando


  1. ha ha i posted some of rosamarie's work (via a drawing diary too) and some ofr pics (from ensuite - i never got there when i was in paris, though not sure it was then in existence? anyway) on my tumblr this morning - all so good!

  2. I agree--and I'd love to see more guides like these!

  3. Haha! I have been to Japan 3 times and twice used the Time Out Tokyo and once the Time Out Kyoto, plus I think my friend (who was living in Japan at the time) had the Lonely Planet Japan book. We didn't encounter too many gaijin, except her ex-pat friends. I definitely didn't see many gaijin in Nakameguro or Shimokitazawa. I wish I'd had Ebony's guide when I visited there!

  4. i think we'll see many more personalised travel guides in the future - and what a good thing that is!

  5. Anonymous03:26

    I bought a LP about brittain years ago, thought it was the best thing I could do.. :)We left it at home because it was too heavy.
    Sometimes it is just best to follow the smell if you are hungry.

  6. that tokyo guide looks great.