2012.03.19: Hon (Book) (Book Off GT 2012)
I'm back in Japan, so that means one thing—Book Off GT! For those who weren't around for last time, Book Off GT is a tradition between me and my friend and fellow graduate of the University of Iowa Japanese program, Dodzi. This year was—I think—our fourth.
Book Off is a national chain that sells used books, CDs, movies, and depending on the store, toys, trading cards, sporting goods, housewares, clothes, and more. For me, the appeal is not just a wide selection that varies from store to store but the crazy cheap (even with the horrible exchange rate) prices. Import manga in the US typically runs the cover price (say 600 yen) times the current exchange rate plus another thirty percent or so. So something I would order for ten or twelve dollars in the states is only $1.20. Of course now I'm not only after manga, games, and CDs, but also novels I can potentially pitch to editors for translation. Whether I was successful or not time will have to tell, but either way I'll be hobbling home with suitcases stuffed to the weight limit.
Usually we do our Book Off tour around Nagoya, using an all day transit pass to see how many stores we can hit in a day. This time, I have an international driver's permit and free use of Taeko-san's old, battered, teal, original-model Prius, so we decided to visit Book Offs from Okazaki to Nagoya, focusing more on enjoying ourselves and finding good books rather than speed. Still, we hit eleven. Here are some pictures:
#1: Okazaki South
A fairly average Book Off in terms of size, but we both started of with some fairly good finds here.
#2: Okazaki Seiyu
This one opened up since the last time I was in Japan, replacing a much smaller one that I used to visit almost every day during my lunch breaks at the Yamasa Language School. It also seems to have squeezed out many of the smaller non-chain stores I used to go to. I may talk about that in a later post. For now, lets just say I should have been impressed by the massive new store, but my feelings were mixed.
#4: Toyota South
#5: Toyota Asahi
As part of our pilgrimage, Dodzi got every store to put a stamp in a notebook for us. This store had the only employee who refused to do so. Of course, Dodzi and I were mature enough not to spend the rest of the day saying terrible things about it. At least that's what I'll write here.
#6: Toyota Main Store
This one was really good. Biggest selection of books outside Nagoya's flagship store. And this one has a public bathroom. We'll definitely come back here.
#10: Nagakute Green Road
What can I say, Book Off GT takes a terrible mental toll. Dodzi would set his camera down on my Gorilla Pod and set it to take a picture every five seconds for like a minute, and he'd get mad whenever I moved too much. So there you go.
I missed riding trains all day, since that's to me such a part of the Japan experience. But at the end of a public-transit-centric Book Off tour, we'd be lugging around thirty pounds of books each, our feet would be hurting, and we'd be fairly grumpy that we didn't make just one more store before closing. But here we are at the last store and just look at those smiles! I'm not sure if we'll do the car or trains next time, but I'm glad we did something different this year.