Once you get into a set pattern of eating-commuting-sleeping, it can be hard to remember that a world exists outside your workplace, let alone the stations along your trainline. That being said, over the weekend some co-workers and I dragged ourselves out to Jimbôchô, Tokyo’s well-known secondhand bookstore district.
After tramping around for a while in the repressively muggy weather, we realised there was no way we’d be able to explore every bookstore in the area in one day — especially after we stopped at an antiquarian bookseller specialising in books on fine arts, and then spent half an hour rifling through their collection of Japanese prints.
For only 300 yen a pop, suffice it to say that I’ve officially completed my souvenir shopping duties.
One noticeable thing about many of the bookstores was their lack of manga sections, though given the prevalence of the Book Off chain in Japan, I guess it only makes sense to specialise in other areas. That meant we spotted plenty of non-comic AV and erotica, in addition to old and valuable books in both English and Japanese. (And Russian).
The outside of the distinguished building housing Isseido Booksellers, which included an entire shelf devoted solely to English books on mountaineering(!) (Below: A sneakershot of their second floor).
There were also plenty of stores in Jimbôchô that sold contemporary paperbacks and magazines, and even some that sold a mixture of books and knick-knacks, like the place below that was offering this irresistibly sexy cameltoe-stricken baseball player tote bag.
With only a little more than a month left in Tokyo, I hope I get another chance to return to Jimbôchô, if for no other reason than it’s sometimes important to set your work aside and go exploring.