Comiket 99 Zine Reviews: The Travelogues

Personal travel diaries were aplenty at Comiket 99.  Some were pretty straightforward, detailing a destination(s); an itinerary with dates, travel routes, foods consumed, sites seen, etc.; and random musings about how each day went.  Others, however, went a step further in identifying a theme and sticking to it throughout.  Several recommendations follow regarding that latter approach.

A well-designed map of a hip Tokyo neighborhood

Title: KOENJI+++
Creator: Asteroid / Minami Fuji
Online store:

Minami Fuji, who runs his label #Cometgraph / 彗星図案社 and is behind numerous other projects, first and foremost is a designer.  This is reflected in his online portfolio at  This was also reflected in an interesting variety of carefully curated products at his table: a couple of astronomy-inspired cigarette/business card cases, and a map of Koenji featuring his favorite 23 clothing shops, 11 galleries and 20 cafes.  The map unfolds to an aesthetically pleasing poster of said sites featuring a hip Tokyo neighborhood where one-of-a-kind boutique shops are ubiquitous and vintage clothes can be had for a steal.

Order the KOENJI+++ map at

Travels inspired by classical music

Titles: Various
Creator: fiddlefaddle_c
Online store:

fiddlefaddle_c writes about a variety of topics.  There’s one zine that focuses on fruit tea that can be found in supermarkets – notably imports that are available in Japan – complete with five-star ratings for acidity, richness, sweetness and aroma.  But the more intriguing publications focus on travel influenced by the great classical music composers of yesteryear.  The home of Franz Josef Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Schubert, Austria is an obvious destination.  However, it was through Он чудак ~変わり者プロコフィエフの亡命旅 (roughly translating to the Exile Journey of Odd Prokofiev) that I learned of the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev making a two-month pit stop in Japan in 1918.  Heading to the United States for more professional opportunities during World War I and the Russian Revolution, this zine documents Prokofiev’s time in the Land of the Rising Sun as he took a break from his train and sea journey. What did he do?  Where did he go?  The full-color publication includes photos.

Order Он чудак ~変わり者プロコフィエフの亡命旅 at

Train travel with a twist

The front cover of Starlight Encore (courtesy of Melon Books)

There are plenty of train fans, or densha otaku, in Japan, which is understandable given the sheer number of models and shinkansen that transport more passengers within its borders than any other country in the world.  As such, many different types of densha otaku exist.  The following zines focus on the aesthetics of train travel through photography.

Title: スタァライト・アンコール -されど夜路はつづく- (loosely translates to Starlight Encore -However, the Night Road Continues-)
Creators: 鳥山欽也, あさゆきはじめ, 瀬田川史人

Starlight Encore shines a nocturnal spotlight on the sleeper trains that double as overnight moving accommodations.  It’s a how-to guide on what to expect before and during boarding complemented by warm imagery.  Most of the zine focuses on the West Express Ginga line that made its debut in 2020, which promises a leisurely sojourn between destinations as opposed to the breakneck speeds of Japan’s famous shinkansen.

Order Starlight Encore:

Titles: Dream Subway and Dream Subway 2
Creator: Katsuya Sumimoto (“sumikatsu”)
Online store:

Sumikatsu has been an amateur airplane and train photographer for more than 20 years, but one wouldn’t know it after browsing through his highly professional images in Dream Subway and Dream Subway 2.  Trains are depicted rolling through tunnels and an ethereal underground world.  He shoots these photos not as an insider or passive observer from a platform, but facing the subject head on, simultaneously providing a sense of wonderment and danger.  The trains shown are both in Japan and overseas.  He also maintains a blog at

Order the Dream Subway volumes at and

The front cover of Dream Subway 2 (courtesy of

Shinto shrines in Taiwan

Title: 高津本陣 通販部 (loosely translated as “Visit the ruins of a shrine in Taiwan”)
Creator: Takatsu Honjin (高津本陣) circle
Online store:

Like fiddlefaddle_c, the Takatsu Honjin circle has an eclectic array of interests.  Creative writing, numerous trips to Taiwan and maid novels are just a few of these.  However, from a travel perspective, it is 高津本陣 通販部 (a guide to Shinto shrines across Taiwan) that stands out. Full-color, 98 pages in length and featuring 26 shrines, the zine – really, a book – comes with a separate map on where to find these.  Although Shinto is prevalent throughout Japan, the religion did not venture too far outside of its borders, so this volume is both a worthy travelogue and an interesting historical account.  The circle blog is available at

Order 高津本陣 通販部 at

The front cover of 高津本陣 通販部 (courtesy of