Sunday, 30 March 2014


Another post with no real content. My excuse is that I was travelling for most of March, my second trip to Japan (mostly western Honshuu and Shikoku). Here, for YOKOMIZO Seishi readers, is a honjin, the one in Tsumago, north of Nagoya.
As you can see, it's not quite on the scale of the one in the 本陣殺人事件.

Apart from general tourism, I managed to bring back quite a few books (about forty, plus another fifteen in electronic form, since Amazon only sells ebooks if you're in the country). In particular, I visited the BookOff store in Kyoto, which was near my hotel on the Sanjo-dori, and got about twenty books, including some I'd wanted to read that were out of print.
By Laichuan Yinfu [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
That store also had the advantage that novels were arranged in author order, not the unfriendly publisher order that new book shops use in Japan. I looked in some other BookOff shops and found that some used the publisher ordering. All of them had a large selection of detective stories. The shops sell almost all their books either at 100 yen or at just over half list price. I couldn't work out what decided which of these prices the books went into. The state of the copies seemed about the same. At my current reading speed, I've got enough now (with what I already had) to last for a couple of years, so maybe I can get by without ordering any more until my next trip.

I put a couple of posts up in advance, and managed to write one while I was in Japan (not very easy on an Ipad). But I should get back into normal (but not very frequent) posting now.


  1. BookOff bases it prices on 'market prices', as well as how long a certain book has been in in the specific store you're at (all books will eventually drop to the lowest price of 105 yen (excluding special sales) if they stay unsold for too long).

    And I thought Sanjoudoori's BookOff's selection kinda changed for the worse when they opened the Shijou store (in OPA). A lot of books eventually go the Shijou store because it's bigger, it seems (Sanjou has longer opening times though).

    (I have to admit though, I went a lot more often to Furuhon Ichiba, a bit more up north)

    1. I can't compare, as I was only in Japan for a few weeks (and another few weeks a couple of years ago), and only visited a few BookOff stores; I was only in Kyoto for two nights and didn't look in any other bookshop there. I've looked in other more traditional antiquarian small bookshops sometimes, but I find them too confusing.

    2. Yeah, I find them a bit hard to use too, so I hardly went to them, even though there are quite some of them in Kyoto. But a lot of them are quite specific (like those in Tokyo, Jinbochou), so unless you now what you're looking for... They do have open book markets a couple of times a year in Kyoto, with stalls from a lot of these antiquarian bookshops (but of course, you'd have to be lucky enough to be there just when they're holding such a fair). The one time I went I did manage to pick some interesting books on sociolinguistics, which you'll usually never see at a BookOff.