Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Japan Diaries

Japan Diaries: Architecture and More
Aurora Fernández Per, Javier Mozas
a+t, 2019



Hardcover | 4-3/4 x 6-1/2 inches | 480 pages | # illustrations | Languages | ISBN: 978-8409098798 | 29.00 €

Publisher Description:
Two voices, those of Aurora Fernández Per and Javier Mozas, tell the story of three trips around Japan: Spring 1995, Autumn 2004 and Summer 2018. One common thread, architecture, drives them to travel around the most influential country in terms of international design. Using texts, photos and drawings they interpret buildings, landscapes and everyday scenes. The publishers of a+t magazine and founders of the a+t research group provide us with the traveller’s version, that of the person arriving at a new place and narrating what they have seen.
dDAB Commentary:
Both the "architecture" and the "more" from the subtitle of Japan Diaries are on display on its cover. The colorful background is an information panel on Yakuri Temple in Kagawa, and overlapping it is one of the many manga created by Aurora Fernánvdez Per and Javier Mozas to spice up their documentation of three trips to Japan over a decade and a half. Specifically, those bubbles on the cover are a means of describing the curved lines of the concrete structure of Toyo Ito's Tama Art University Library just outside Tokyo. With those two examples on the cover as a hint, Japan Diaries presents highlights from the trips that range from the contemporary architecture that Per and Mozas so skillfully present in their a+t magazines and books to the temples, gardens, shrines, and even bookstores, restaurants, and sweet shops they went to along the way.

This travelogue of the couple's Japanese explorations goes beyond the norm of such a book by the inclusion of a few things. First are the mangas: playful cartoons (first spread below) that describe simply the formal qualities of, or ideas behind, some of the buildings they visited. Second are the specially made maps (second spread) that track their journeys and point out places they visited but otherwise did not document or discuss in the book. Third are the photographs (third spread), which were taken by the authors and are straightforward but very, very good. Most of the photos are buildings and landscapes, but occasionally the "more" appears in the form of a street scene or a portrait of someone they met or a snapshot of a meal. "Diary" is an apt word for what they created, but the mangas, maps, and photos combine with their wide-eyed descriptions of places and buildings they find worth sharing to create a diary worth having — especially if you're planning a trip to Japan and are tired of searching online for sites worth seeing. 
Spreads:


Author Bio:
Aurora Fernández Per is Publisher and Editor in Chief of a+t architecture publishers, and architect Javier Mozas is Editorial Advisor.
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