Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Hello, Please!: Very Helpful Super Kawaii Characters from Japan by Matt Alt


After reading and enjoying Matt Alt's other book, PURE INVENTION, I was dying to get my hands on HELLO, PLEASE! Alt works as a localizer, which is someone who translates and adapts media from one country for consumption in another, which includes updating or providing reference for cultural differences, translations, idioms, and more. PURE INVENTION was a book about some of Japan's biggest contributions to global culture as a whole, and when I found out HELLO, PLEASE! was authored by the same dude, I was super psyched.

HELLO, PLEASE! is a publication from Chronicle Books. It seems to be out of print, since I didn't see it on their website and it didn't seem to be available in ebook or new. It's also a little dated. You'll get a kick out of the images of cell phones in here; they're all old flip phones with touch-press keypads. I actually follow this person called "Mondo Mascots" on Twitter and Instagram, who shares new images of Japanese mascots every day. This book is pretty short but contains tons of full-color illustrations, depicting mascots intended to advertise, warn, or convey helpful information.

I actually had the pleasure of going to Japan several years ago. There were mascots everywhere, on everything, and every city has its own. I didn't recognize any of these, except for Mr. Custom, who was on the wall of the Customs office in the airport I flew in from, and the train ones for Suica. The book is pretty small; about the size of a mass market paperback but a little shorter and wider, so it's not quite a coffee table book, even though that's basically what it is. I think it will appeal most to people who are already interested in Japan or who really enjoy looking at the funny and interesting mascots. I did.

4 out of 5 stars

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