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Book Haul

A while ago, I went back to Japan to do some urgent errands. In addition to the Haruki Murakami Library, there was another place I really wanted to go to. Sushi restaurants? No. Although I went there of course (3 times). Driving License Center? No. Although I did go there. It was bookstores (Kinokuniya, Maruzen, and Tokyodo)! I had literally been dying for bookstores. As soon as I entered Kinokuniya, I was mesmerized by the books there. It was 18 months’ worth of books. So many books I wanted to buy. In the end, I purchased about 50 books. Of the 50 books, 3 (or 4?) books (in Japanese) I particularly look forward to are as follows.



“Hono” (which literally means “Flames”) & “Ore Ore” by Tomoyuki Hoshino

They got the Tanizaki Prize and Oe Prize respectively. “Hono” is a collection of short stories including my favorite story “Pink”. “Ore Ore” is about a telephone scam.


“Palm-of-the-Hand Stories” by Yasunari Kawabata

111 short stories are in this book. The stories was written over 40 years. I read “The Silver Fifty-Sen Pieces” a year ago and was strongly impressed by it. I’ve always wanted to get a copy of this. Another 110 to go.


“The Unwomanly Face of War” by Svetlana Alexievich translated by Midori Miura

This is a nonfiction written by a Belarusian journalist (Novel Prize laureate).


Another 3 books (in English & French) I particularly look forward to are..


“Granta Vol. 127: Japan”

Finally I got this book!


“The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James

Yes, I will read Henry James this year!


“La Douleur” by Marguerite Duras

This was totally a serendipitous encounter. I was unconsciously drawn to Duras.. (what does it signify?)


急用があり、日本に一時帰国した。村上春樹ライブラリーの他にどうしても行きたかたった場所がある。本屋だ(もちろん)。とにかく外国に住んでいると日本の本屋が恋しくて堪らなくなる時がある(というかいつも)。東京堂(「Book Hotel神保町」に泊まりながら)、紀伊國屋(新宿南店&本店)、丸善本店とはしごした。丸善で本を買い、大好きな東京ナポリタンを食べる。東京駅を視界に入れながら、アイスコーヒーを飲み、好きな本を読み、あれやこれやと考える。とても贅沢な時間である。ついついこれも、あれもと本を買い漁ってしまう。妻に半分(というか完全に)呆れられながら。50冊ほど買っただろうか。懐かしの紀伊國屋新宿南店(昔バイトしていた)のレジのアルバイトがとても感じが良くて感心した。「お客さんは僕の笑顔は求めていないと思います」という接客完全失格の20年前の自分を思わず重ねた。


東京にはかれこれ15年以上住んでいたのか。東京の本質は変わらない。やはり日本は母国だ。良い意味でも悪い意味でも。


特に楽しみにしている本

  • 『戦争は女の顔をしていない』スヴェトラーナ・アレクシエーヴィチ

  • 『影に対して』遠藤周作

  • 『掌の小説』川端康成

  • 『俺俺』星野智幸

  • 『日本近代文学の起源』柄谷行人

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