What to buy when you’re in a Japanese Bookstore

Literary Tourist in Tokyo:

As noted in my previous post, while there are quite a few interesting English books to be had in the Jimbocho bookstore neighbourhood of Tokyo, there are obviously a lot more in Japanese. And I was able to get lots of shots of them, and the stores that sell them, but, do you think I could convince any of the owners to pose for the camera? Fat chance. Given their reserve, the trick, I’m convinced, for next time, is to plan things far in advance, get the approval of someone in authority, and be accompanied by a wise old dealer known to all, or perhaps an official from the local booksellers association!

Still, I was received very politely; just not, as is often the case in North America, with open arms.

But, on to the stores. First off, I was amazed by the number of post-it notes,

or whatever

they are, that these merchants use to display their wares. Also surprised that there wasn’t more Manga for sale. The only really good selection I saw was at this store:

Isseido Booksellers has a decent foreign language section on the second floor with a good number of books in English, mostly archeology and history, but the Japanese books, though incomprehensible, were much

more attractive

One thing that isn’t incomprehensible is the beauty of Ukiyo-e Japanese woodblock prints. They flourished between the 17th and 19th centuries. Subjects included female Continue reading “What to buy when you’re in a Japanese Bookstore”

‘Fat Cat’

This has to be one of my favourite bookstore cats ever. His name is ‘fat cat,’ lives in Plymouth, MA, at the Yankee Book and Art Gallery. As I recall, I bought an early David Godine title there. I’d just interviewed Godine, (listen here) and he’d named some of his more interesting books. This was one of them. Think it was in a slip case. Probably letterpress printed. Hopefully the title will come to me.

Theatres and bookstores abound in Peterborough, Ontario

I’ve been focusing attention on Peterborough, Ontario lately, scouring the ‘bushes’ for local literary ‘things to do and places to visit’. First point to make is that there are way more theatre companies here than you might expect, four at least. One of them, the Peterborough Theatre Guild has in fact been entertaining local audiences since 1965. The only troupe in the region to own its own building, the Guild traces its roots back to the work of Robertson Davies and his wife Brenda. According to Michael Peterman, professor emeritus at Trent University, the two were theatrical power-houses in the community during the 50s and 60s, writing, directing, and performing in many stage productions. Sometimes they even did makeup!

Another company, 4th Line Theatre, presents Canadian plays, “written by and about Canadians, from small town stories to Continue reading “Theatres and bookstores abound in Peterborough, Ontario”