EDITOR’S NOTE: Half Price Books encourages you to travel more in 2016. Not the kind of travel that involves airplanes, passports and hotels, but the easier, more affordable kind — where you open a great book and let it take you somewhere. Throughout 2016 we’ll share about the world’s great destinations, along with our recommendations for the books, movies and music that will help you get there.
Already this year, we’ve taken a trip to Paris, France, San Francisco, California, with a detour to New Orleans, Louisiana then back across the pond to Rome, Italy. Last month’s stop was Chicago, Illinois and now we’ve landed in Tokyo, Japan.
In Japan’s dizzying capital, skyscrapers rub shoulders with Buddhist temples, and high art mingles with low. These dichotomies fuel Tokyo’s literary scene, which benefited in recent centuries from increased exposure to Western ideas and forms. Haruki Murakami is Japan’s best known modern writer; his surreal novels have been translated into 50 languages. Japan’s quirky pop culture, including karaoke, manga and anime, is on vivid display in Tokyo—and increasingly around the world.
HOW TO GET THERE
After Dark, Haruki Murakami Akira • Godzilla (1954) • Japan: Traditional Vocal and Instrumental Music, Ensemble Nipponia • Kazemachi Roman, Happy End • Kitchen, Banana Yoshimoto • Lost in Translation • Number9dream, David Mitchell • Out, Natsuo Kirino • A Personal Matter, Kenzaburō Ōe • Shakuhachi: The Japanese Flute, Konachiro Miyata • Solid State Survivor, Yellow Magic Orchestra • The Tokyo Blues, Horace Silver • Tokyo Olympiad • Tokyo Story
DID YOU KNOW?
- Rokujigen is a book cafe on Tokyo’s west side that serves as a hub for information about writer Haruki Murakami and is a gathering place for his fans. The cafe’s name means “six dimensions” in Japanese, and the only sign visible from the street is a small painted numeral 6.
- Two Japanese writers have won the Nobel Prize for Literature: Yasunari Kawabata in 1968 and Kenzaburō Ōe in 1994.
- Book Clock is a video installation by designer Masaaki Hiromura in which a hand flips through three books representing hours, minutes and seconds. It can be seen at the MUJI department store in Shibuya.
- Anime fans can visit The Ghibli Museum operated by Studio Ghibli, makers of Spirited Away and other internationally-distributed films.
If you don’t want to miss a stop on this journey, join the Half Price Books Booklovers Survey Club and we’ll send you an email each month with a new city alongside a quick survey. Plus, you’ll receive coupons to save throughout the year when you travel to your favorite Half Price Books.
Until next time!