Lonely Planet Japan Launch Party


Lonely Planet Tokyo update launch in Yurakucho, Tokyo.
New Lonely Planet Tokyo launch at 300 Bar Next, Yurakucho, Tokyo

Lonely Planet, the legendary guide book publisher, launched a new edition of Lonely Planet Japan last night, at a lively launch party in Tokyo’s Yurakucho district.

After an hour’s warm up at the basement 300 Bar Next, Lonely Planet’s North Asia Territory Manager, Tim Burland, took the mike, and introduced us all to the hefty blue, hot-off-the-press version of Lonely Planet Tokyo.

Tim Burland and Rebecca Milner at Lonely Planet Tokyo launch at Yurakucho.
Tim Burland and Rebecca Milner at Lonely Planet Tokyo launch.

Following him, author of Lonely Planet Pocket TokyoRebecca Milner, also addressed the crowd, with Burland resuming a little later with a commentated slide show to provide few more details about the books being launched. Among them, too, is the Lonely Planet Pocket Kyoto & Osaka.

300 Bar Next also calls itself “Ginza 300 Bar Next” – but is a million miles from the slick glass-fronted feel of Ginza, partaking more of the rough-and-ready, even grungy, atmosphere of Yurakucho and evoking, maybe, something of Lonely Planet’s original alternative vibe.

Slideshow at 300 Bar Next for Lonely Planet Tokyo new edition launch party.
Slideshow at 300 Bar Next for Lonely Planet Tokyo

I made a new acquaintance or two, and caught up with a couple more. I managed to exchange a word or two with Tim Burland, and briefly acquaint him with JapanVisitor.com.

Tokyo Lonely Planet launch party posters, at Ginza Bar Next 300, Yurakucho
Lonely Planet Tokyo new edition launch party posters

A chasm seems to remain between the online and offline worlds of publishing. Tim Burland hadn’t heard of JapanVisitor.com, and, to my surprise, hadn’t even heard of JapanGuide, which dominates the search engines for queries about Japan.

David @ JapanVisitor - my name tag at Lonely Planet launch party. Yurakucho, Tokyo on July 27, 2017
My name tag at the Lonely Planet Tokyo 2017 edition launch party

Lonely Planet will remain the leading guide book for its thoroughness, candidness, its sense of being completely on the traveler’s side, and the natural, familiar tone of its writing. It is a publication that aims to being the world together by facilitating travel: informing, sometimes teaching, warning where necessary, preparing us for the other, and ensuring that we at least survive comfortably enough – at best, edified, excited and energized enough – to want to do it over again.

Read reviews of Japan travel books.

© JapanVisitor.com

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LGBT-friendly magazine "Oriijin" launch party


Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of attending the LGBT-friendly Oriijin Magazine Launch Party in Tokyo. Oriijin is, as the name of the event suggests, a brand new magazine that is being marketed as “LGBT-friendly,” i.e., targeted at LGBT people and their allies.

First edition of Oriijin オリイジン a new LGBTQ-friendly magazine for Japan.
Orijiin – a new LGBTQ-friendly magazine for Japan.

The venue was a new space in Hirakawacho, Chiyoda ward, called Space 0 (Space Zero), on the basement floor of the Grid Building. This spacious, high-ceilinged venue has a chic vibe and even serves craft beer.

The entry fee included a complimentary copy of the very first Oriigin magazine and a free drink. I sat down with my drink and magazine, but hadn’t browsed far before I got talking to another participant, a member of the Fruits in Suits group that was organizing the event.

After half an hour or so, at about 7:30pm, the event got underway.

Diamond Publishing is the first mainstream publishing company in Japan to publish an LGBT-aligned magazine, and a representative of the company was there to say a few words for the occasion.

Oriijin launch party - the discussion panel is introduced.
Discussion panel at Oriijin launch party, in Space Zero, Chiyoda, Tokyo.

This was followed by a panel discusion began, comprising Morinaga Takahiko, President of the Japan LGBT Research Institute. Inc., Koizumi Shintaro, President of SK Travel Consulting, an LGBT-friendly travel company, and Goto Junichi, Editor of the Sexual Minorities and Homosexuality Guide and Editor of the LGBT Information Portal Website g-lad xx. The buzz was great between these very accomplished players on Japan’s LGBT scene – and English speakers among the crowd were kept fully abreast of everything thanks to the very switched on Japanese-English interpreting of Fruits in Suits organizer, Loren Sykes.

The 40-minute or so panel chat was followed by a Q&A-cum-sharing session that warmed up over time.

The first issue of Oriijin magazine is a glossy, 128-page affair with lots of big, mainstream advertisers. The title-theme for this first edition is “Living in the Age of the Heart and Diversity” (the “heart” having the meaning of the thing to be followed, as opposed to social norms).

Grid building, where the Oriijin launch party took place in Space 0 on the B1 floor.
Grid Building, Hirakawacho, Tokyo, where the Oriijin launch party took place

The articles span everything from biographical profiles of well-known LGBT figures in Japan, to social analysis, personal philosophy, fiction, political updates and commentary (e.g., an overview of the increasing number of moves by local authorities in Japan to secure the rights of LGBT residents) and just a touch of froth in the form of an astrology page near the end. It is a good-looking magazine with a lot of very solid content that is sure to help forge a new path for LGBT rights in Japan.

Incidentally the name Oriijin is “nijiiro” (“rainbow colors”) spelt backwards.

Oriijin is on sale in mainstream bookshops throughout Japan, and sells for 980 yen. Here’s wishing this brand new LGBT magazine a long and bright future.

Read more about gay Japan.

© JapanVisitor.com

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