Mari Goes Elsewhere · thinking out loud

Thinking Out Loud / December 7th

Last week I went on a short trip to Tokyo/Osaka, and spent part of a day in Jimbocho, Tokyo’s “Book Town”. The plan was to explore all of Jimbocho on our first day, but the weather was pretty bad – cloudy and rainy both – and we were all pretty hungry so we went to the Siddique branch there almost straight away. As usual, their curry’s yummy! Kishiko prefers Malaysian curry which is spicier, but I love Siddique’s butter chicken and keema.

huntingsnarkI figured that at the very least I’d like to pay a visit to Book House, by now my favourite children’s bookstore. It’s very near Siddique, so we found it easily. And as usual, went ooh and ahh at all the Moomin washi tapes, Wild Thing plushies, and cheburashka goodies. I got a book from the small corner for non-Japanese books this time (the last time I got a beautiful picture book by Miyazawa Kenji), Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark illustrated by Tove Jannson. Which I’ve never seen before, but after coming back I found a copy at our store, and promptly sold it  🙂

There’s a small room at the back of the store that’s a sort of gallery, and besides merchandise from books they also sell postcards by local artists and illustrators. There’s another bookstore above Book House called Kitazawa Bookstore that sells foreign books, all old and mostly so rare that we did not dare touch them, but they have a small shelf of old Puffin books for only about 400yen each. I found several George MacDonalds, Ursula Le Guins, and E Nesbits. If I hadn’t made a promise with Patricia that I wouldn’t buy anything (having spent a lot at Book House) I probably would have bought half a dozen children’s books there.
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We went in a couple of other bookstores – one is this amazing place that sells back issues of magazines, posters, and other music memorabilia from concert tickets to fanclub pamphlets. I managed to steer clear of the Arashi sections and was tempted by all the Runaways stuff (which were expensive!) before buying a figure of Hide for a friend. The other store I went to is a gem for those that love old manga – I’ve found very old versions of Ribon no Kishi there. This time I ended up getting this tiny illustration by Yoshihiro Tatsumi. The owner was like, “oh, you like Sumi-san?” although I couldn’t really hear, and he had to repeat himself before I knew what he said. I just told him that I love Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s works but find them hard to read in the original, so I rely on whatever’s been translated.
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I wish that the weather had been better, and we had more time to explore, because I really loved walking around the area. Now I’m kinda sad that my next trip to Japan doesn’t include Tokyo, because I want to go back to Jimbocho, and soon!
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