Monday, June 13, 2011

Bookaholics Anonymous

Hi, my name is Claire and I'm a Bookaholic.

(Hi Claire!)

It's been 2 days since my last purchase...

I had a trip to Tokyo this weekend. It was SCBWI Tokyo's Writers Night and it was also my first time out of Iwate since the earthquake. Not a moment too soon. I needed to get out.

I took the night bus down, which meant getting into Shinjuku (a ward of Tokyo) at 7 am, when check-in isn't til 3. I dropped my bags off at the hotel and then wandered around in search of something to do. I ended up at 3D Pirate's of the Caribbean (in Japanese- lol) and KFC, because in Japanese fast food restaurants and cafe's you can sit all day so long as you bought something.

Unfortunately, the cinema is right in front of Kinokuniya- the largest bookstore chain in Japan. Before I go on, you have to understand that Kinokuniya is one of two bookstores (the other is Maruzen) that stock a decent size English section. Junkyudo, the chain bookstore in my capital has one bookcase of English novels, and most of them are either classics or books recently converted into movies.

Every time I'm in Tokyo or Sapporo or Sendai, I find myself at Kinokuniya or Maruzen. The 8-story Kinokuniya in Shinjuku has half a floor of English novels. (Swoon!)

When I go to a bookstore, I have to make deals with myself before I enter.

Only 4 books this time Claire.
Only spending 50 bucks.
Only 20 minutes.

But the biggest factor these days is usually that I will have to lug whatever I buy from Shinjuku to Ueno on the loop line, into Hard Rock cafe while I eat my steak (yes, I have steak at Hard Rock everytime I leave Tokyo), then onto the Shinkansen to Ninohe, then onto IGR (aka Dinkville express). That's a lot of lugging. And it results in me not buying more than a few books.

On Saturday, I managed to limit myself to 5 items- 4 books and a box set of 3 of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series. I get to the counter and pay for my books, hand over my Kinokuniya point card and then this conversation happens.

Store Clerk: Will you take them with you?
Claire: Huh?
SC: Do you want to take the books with you?
Claire: What do you mean?
SC: Well, we can mail them anywhere in Japan.
Claire: What???? Sure!

I mentally do a happy dance while I write my address in kanji. I don't have to lug the books back with me! Woohoo! It takes all my willpower not to a have a Herbal Essences moment.

And then the fullness of the realisation hits me. The only thing that really limits me is the ability to lug the books about. And that's no longer a problem. My July/August business trip to Tokyo is going to turn into a book buying trip. So is the October trip to Kobe for the Japan Writers Conference. Darn you, Kinokuniya, for being the biggest book store chain in Japan and having 56 stores around the country.


Bad juju.

Meh, all's well that ends in books.

Any more bookaholics out there?

It's Monday, that's what's on my mind.

(PS, yes I am aware that I own a Kindle and therefore do not need ot freak out at English books in bookstores. But since when has being rational had anything to do with addiction?)


Sana Castellano said...

BOOOOOKKSSS - you make me feel like i am living in a LIBRARY! =P =D
-a variation of the katy perry song.

Marsha Sigman said...

Hello, my name is Marsha and I a bookaholic.

I'm not sure there is a cure for us. All we can do is make sure we pay the light bill before we shop. Oh, hell who am I kidding? We can read by candle light if we have too.

Claire Dawn said...

I love these comments. Sana, I'll be singing that all day!

Marsha, I keep flashlights handy at all times. I tell people it's for natural disasters, but not being able to read is a disaster in it's own right!