Friday, December 3, 2010
The Infinite Tragedy of Awesome Bookstores
Going into a really good bookstore makes me strangely sad. I was recently at San Francisco's Green Apple Books, and all I could think about was the fact that I could never hope to read all the great books that were laid out tantalizingly before me. Thank god, then, that my Japanese reading is as poor as it is - Tokyo is full of bookstores of such size to bring on body-wracking sobs of desperation. On top of that, they're cheap enough that the temptation to add just one more ridiculously cheap book to the pile can be overwhelming.
Today's haul was from the Book-Off in Akihabara, which has a small but cheap and, as you can see, occasionally spectacular English section. All of the English books were Y200 each, except for the Alex Garland, which was Y105. The Kobo Abe is a book I desperately needed, very specifically, for my current work. The brown one you can't see is Natsume Soseki's Botchan, a classic of the transition from traditional to modern Japan - and both of those, again, Y200 each! The two Japanese hardcovers - by Ryu Murakami (top) and Haruki Murakami (bottom) were also Y105 each. remix is an excellent, thoughtful hip hop and electronica magazine. Or, more properly, it was - it was recently bought and remade into a more commercial outlet. I'm buying up all the back-issues I can get my hands on, particularly those featuring interviews with Japanese hip hop acts. The issues here have interviews with Scha Dara Parr, Big Joe, Mic Jack Productions, and Muro (from 1999!). The most expensive thing in the whole stack is at the very bottom, a remix featuring an interview with Sapporo's The Blue Herb. And this was all just in an hour! It's enough to drive you to drink - or at least that's my excuse.