Literary Tourist in Tokyo:
Did you know that Tokyo has it’s own Times Square? It’s called Shibuya Crossing, near the Metro station of the same name, and it’s chock full of huge video screens, bright lights, brand-name stores,
and hordes of orderly people crossing a broad, orderly intersection (hard to tell that this is one of the busiest in the world). There are also lottery tickets if that’s your thing,
and a resident faithful dog beside which thousands get their photos taken every day.
At the end of each day, so the story goes, Hachiko would wait for his master at the train station to greet him after work. One day, in 1925, the master failed to show up. He’d died of a heart attack. Nobody told Hachiko, who continued to go to the station every evening for nine straight years until he himself finally died.
Away from Hachiko, the noisy tourists, and the blaring billboards, along a small car-lined side-street, the book-lover will find tranquility. Book Off is a popular chain of secondhand bookstores in Japan.
Their headquarters is found near Shibuya. On the third floor of their multi-story building you’ll find a long wall full of English language novels and non-fiction titles. The store also sells magazines, DVDs, CDs, manga, anime, games and more. If the second-hand appeals, you might also want to drop in next door to the clothing store. If on the other hand, cats are of interest, as they are to so many bibliophiles, check out the nearby Cat Cafe Mocha.
You pay based on time spent with the felines.
We were in for about 15 minutes. It was hard to leave! Then it was over to another huge bookstore – well, floor, actually. The seventh to be specific, in this department store
Again, a long aisle was dedicated to English books, and I came across this box full of volumes on art,
going for very good prices.
Finally, once you’ve got your fill of books, you’ll probably need to listen to your tummy. No shortage of fueling
nearby. Then again, for those less inclined to eat, there’s always beer.