It’s Book Lovers Day! We couldn’t be more excited to spend all day reading. With a big cup of tea, iced coffee or bubble tea. But what to read? No worries, we got you covered! Get it? Because books have covers? Okay, let’s move on to the books. From Japanese mythology to contemporary and also some lovely travel reads.

Fiction

Shadow of the Fox – Julie Kagawa

Ready for a Fantasy meets mythology meets Japan? Then this book is something for you!

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself. 

Tokyo Ever After – Emiko Jean

Princess Diaries meets Japan is the crossover we never knew we needed, but we obviously do. 

Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity… and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. This means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.

In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. 

Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after? 

XOXO – Axie Oh

From stories mostly taking place in Japan we move over to South Korea for this book, because this story sounds so much fun! K-pop fans, this book is probably your cup of (bubble) tea. 

Cello prodigy Jenny has one goal: to get into a prestigious music conservatory. When she meets mysterious, handsome Jaewoo in her uncle’s Los Angeles karaoke bar, it’s clear he’s the kind of boy who would uproot her careful plans. But in a moment of spontaneity, she allows him to pull her out of her comfort zone for one unforgettable night of adventure…before he disappears without a word.

Three months later, when Jenny and her mother arrive in South Korea to take care of her ailing grandmother, she’s shocked to discover that Jaewoo is a student at the same elite arts academy where she’s enrolled for the semester. And he’s not just any student. He’s a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world—and he’s strictly forbidden from dating.

When a relationship means throwing Jenny’s life off the path she’s spent years mapping out, she’ll have to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love.

Non-Fiction

How to Live Japanese – Yutaka Yazawa

Want to know more about Japan? This is the ultimate insider’s guide to the country of Japan, full of inspiration and insight to help you experience the very best of Japanese design, cookery, philosophy, and culture.

From Miyazaki to mountains, sake to sparking joy, find your Zen and make time to learn about how to live Japanese. Whether it’s the cutting edge of film-making, revolutionizing the whisky market or competing with parents on lunchboxes, you’ll all learn about it with ‘How to Live Japanese’.

 Japan is not only the mother of all metropolises but with two-thirds of the country covered in forest, there is still much respect and celebration of the natural world, with people perfectly placed to make the most of the green space around them. From the art of making tea, to going for a hike, or celebrating imperfections, there are ceremonies the Japanese have been honing for centuries that thrive alongside modern traditions and practices of well-being.

Cool Japan Guide – Abby Denson

Travelling to Japan has never been so much fun! Visit the land of anime, manga, cosplay, hot springs and sushi!

This full-color graphic novel Japan guidebook is the first of its kind to explore Japanese culture from a cartoonist’s perspective. ‘Cool Japan Guide’ takes you on a fun tour from the high-energy urban streets of Tokyo to the peaceful Zen gardens and Shinto shrines of Kyoto and introduces you to:

  • the exciting world of Japanese food – from bento to sushi and everything in between.
  • the otaku (geek) culture of Japan, including a manga market in Tokyo where artists display and sell their original artwork.
  • the complete Japanese shopping experience, from combini (not your run-of-the-mill convenience stores!) to depato (department stores with everything).
  • the world’s biggest manga, anime and cosplay festivals.
  • lots of other exciting places to go and things to do – like zen gardens, traditional Japanese arts, and a ride on a Japanese bullet train.

Whether you’re ready to hop a plane and travel to Japan tomorrow, or interested in Japanese pop culture, this fun and colorful travelogue by noted comic book artist and food blogger Abby Denson, husband Matt, friend Yuuko, and sidekick, Kitty Sweet Tooth, will present Japan in a unique and fascinating way.