Traveling With Manga

As I leave for my trip tomorrow, I find myself with a bit of a dilemma. Do I pack manga or not? I wish I could bring enough for the entire trip, but doing so would probably mean packing more than one suitcase and nowadays that’s going to cost a lot of money.

Still, I’ve tried really hard to bring a good library to keep me entertained. Once I did it for a month I spent studying Spanish in Havana, Cuba. I wound up giving half of my library to a Cuban comic book fan in desperate need of more current material and the other half got ruined by rain leaking into my bedroom. If I’m lucky, I’ll stumble upon manga during my trip. I remember when I went to Argentina and wound up stumbling upon Cardcaptor Sakura being sold at ordinary new stands in the street. But I’ve tried to stop bringing much manga on my trips because it’s simply tough to bring so many heavy books when your trips are as active as the ones I usually go on…

Nevertheless, It’s tough to go without a manga fix for a long period of time, so here are my suggestions. I’m going to base them on the length and nature of the trip, but first, a suggestion that covers any sort of traveling you might do:

If you have an e-reader or other device that can play anime or allow you to read manga (without wireless handy), load it up and USE IT.

Man, I wish I had an e-reader. Maybe next year.

Now then!

For most trips, but especially if you’re flying:

-Try to avoid bringing more than 5-10 manga if you can manage it. Manga is heavy and airlines like to charge for luggage when they can. Domestic flights are usually the worst culprits, charging for every piece of luggage check, but international flights will also charge if you go overweight. You’ll also want to pack light if you expect to be doing a lot or expect to be shopping. You’ll want room in your luggage for all your goodies.

-Try paperback light novels. They’re lighter than manga, but are written in similar style. There are more than a few out in English including Twelve Kingdoms, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and the more mature Haikasoru line from Viz.

-Heck, try reading normal novels. There are a number of splendid books out there. I’m particularly fond of Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series at the moment, so I’ve gotten a bunch of his novels for my trip.

-If you’re studying Japanese, bring your dictionary and a couple of tankobon. It takes a lot longer when you’re trying to comprehend something in another language, so your entertainment value will be stretched further and you’ll improve your vocabulary!

For trips to conventions:

-I really only have one suggestion for this one- just bring some magazines for the trip over and then buy your fill of entertainment for the trip back. I always like to pack light for conventions anyway.

For boring trips to grandma’s:

-If you’ve got the space to do so, bring as much as you’d like to keep yourself entertained. But, if you can, see if you can’t get someone to take you to a local bookstore so you can stock up and only have to haul a heavy load one way.

-Sneak over to your cousin’s place, borrow their computer and read some digital manga. Oh, hey, look, here’s a bunch of FREE and LEGAL manga to read online.

That’s really it, there’s not a lot to packing manga for trips beyond common sense and a bit of cleverness.

And with that I’m off. You can look forward to a few guest posts in the next two weeks and perhaps a quick word from me when I can fit it in. Perhaps I’ll go looking for the Thai manga scene (I’ve been told they have one, but I’m not sure if Laos does) in between riding elephants and looking for tigers. 😀

(Yeah, I’m excited for the tigers and the elephants too.)

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