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Book plug 1: Just In Tokyo Posted on 09/26/2002.

Though not indispensible, a remarkably helpful guidebook for my Tokyo sojourn was Justin Hall's Just In Tokyo. While you can read a lot of Justin's Japan musings for free, I can heartily recommend ponying up the $9.95 for the book. Why?

a) It's easier to carry a book than the Web
b) Justin has a bunch of great "only in the book" material, particularly to do with language and Tokyo neighborhoods, that are as good as you'll find in any travel guide, and perhaps better, because it's filtered through Justin's delightfully skewed perspective. Suffice to say that "Just In Tokyo" is, I think, the only guidebook ever to make me laugh out loud. A lot.

Admittedly, the guide is not exhaustive, and you will want a more traditional book as well. (I used Lonely Planet's, which was pretty good.) As a somewhat shy traveler, what I most enjoyed about Justin's book was its understanding, and allowance, of the fact that Tokyo is remarkably disorienting, and Justin understands, and he makes you feel okay for remaining uncomfortable, and does what he can to help ease you into your surroundings.

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