Summer in Japan (Tentaibutsurigaku): My (not so) Little Bookstore Can’t Be This Cool!

I’ve gotten a little bit behind on chronicling my time here in Japan due to a combination of getting engrossed in research (I forgot about how much time I throw into it), spending a lot of time trying to learn more Japanese (I’m focusing much more on reading and speaking than writing, but on the whole I’m improving!), traveling (I was gone almost all last week), and my laptop screen breaking. However, I’m now back in Kashiwa and ready to start posting all about the stuff I’ve done in the last two weeks.

I can’t believe it’s already almost been three weeks!

Now you can see why doing pretty much anything was quite difficult. Bonus points if you can recognize my desktop background!

Doing any work (or anything, for that matter) with this screen is pretty much impossible. Also, can anyone identify what show my background is from? Give yourself a bonus point if you can name both the characters and an additional one if you actually recognize the background picture.

So last time I talked about arriving in Japan, some of my first impressions, a bit of the stuff I’ll probably be focusing on during my time here, school uniforms, my visit to an anime-focused arcade, and a little bit about visiting Ginza. This time, I’m going to talk about some of the other stuff I did during my first week or so (6/11 – 6/15) here, again focused more on the anime stuff.

Also, let’s play a game! I’m going to be posting a bunch of a pictures with anime-related stuff. For every show or manga you recognize (other than Eva, which I discuss later), give yourself a point and note it down. List them all in a comment, along with anything else you want to say, The person with the most points gets not only the prestige of gloating over his/her fellow otaku, but possibly a prize!

So first off, I ended up dropping by a bookstore in the shopping mall nearby the Kashiwanoha-campus subway stop along with my adviser. He’s been here for about two years, and was looking for easy-ish books to read in order to practice his Japanese. I, on the other hand, was on the lookout for another type of book. And I’m guessing you know which one.

Imagine my despair at seeing the "English" section of the bookstore.

Imagine my despair at seeing the “English” section of the bookstore, prominently featuring Stephanie Meyer.

After looking around for a bit (the English section had some nice bilingual novels, and I picked up a copy of The Great Gatsby), I went up to one of the employees and got a chance to practice my Japanese. as I asked around for the section:

Romaji: Sumimasen, raito noberu wa doko desu ka.
Or, translated: Excuse me, where are the light novels?

Soon I was greeted to a fantastic sight:


Isn’t this glorious?

You have no idea how excited I was when I saw this for the first time. Or how many weird looks I got when I pulled out my phone and started taking a crap-ton of pictures. First, let’s get to the image dump (I apologize for the pictures that are oriented weirdly – blame WordPress):

IMG_0543 IMG_0544 IMG_0545 IMG_0546 IMG_0547 IMG_0548 IMG_0550 IMG_0551 IMG_0552 IMG_0553 IMG_0554 IMG_0555 IMG_0557 IMG_0558 IMG_0559

Still keeping track? ;)

Obviously I was pretty excited (enough to spend like 2300 yen on the LN jacket collection book) and actually a bit surprised at the amount of light novels in a more-or-less standard bookstore. Although in retrospect I probably should’ve realized it sooner. Given the sheer quantity that is now being adapted into anime, and assuming the base that the studios are drawing from are significantly larger than what we see (similar to manga), I should’ve imagined that the genre itself is quite large. It’s always cool to experience the revelation first-hand though.

Speaking of LN, one of the things that I’m interested in is how much LN adaptations compare to the real thing. Many viewers can point out a whole slew of trends that these shows seem to exhibit and conform to, and I’m curious as to whether those are present in the books too or modified to fit the show. This would definitely be fun to attempt if my Japanese gets to a decent enough reading level by the end of the summer (and who knows – maybe I’ll find time to do some more back in school), but right now I’m just starting at them from a distance– reveling in awe at their physical proximity as I embrace my inner otaku. And of course, reading the stories themselves, since in most cases I’ve enjoyed the shows and also don’t mind young adult targeted fiction – easy reads are fun if you don’t try and analyze the shit out of them and mostly just enjoy the story. As are most books. And mostly everything actually. In my opinion, analysis should be something done for enjoyment, not a requirement for enjoying something. Makes things a lot more fun and broadens your selection.

For example, how well does HenNeko fit into LN adaptation trends?

For example, how well does this fit into LN adaptation trends?

There’s also another interesting thing I discovered while at the bookstore and have only been continually amazed at since – how absolutely huge Eva is in Japan, especially after the release of the third movie (reviews/discussions I liked here, here, and here). In the bookstore I encountered my first real “anime” poster (I’d gone here before I’d gone to Akihabara you see), and — of course — it was about Eva.


I’ve also been floored by just how commercialized it is! I’ve seen Eva x [insert everything here] all over the place. There’s coffee that comes with Eva figures.


I actually had bought this before coming to Japan, and here I’ve realized there’s more that’ve been released since the third movie aired. Gaggggghhhhhh – got more collecting to do!

There’s Eva figures with razors.

Now I'm REALLY tempted to buy these.

Now I’m REALLY tempted to buy these. And never use the razors, of course – just prop them up in a figure cabinet and wish that I was a razor so Asuka could hold me like that. That’s completely normal, right? (a response from rebeccableich: …*sigh*)

And Eva candy and snacks.

wdfverghtyhytnj evangelion-merchandise-bigEven Eva trading cards are sold in most convenience stores!

This is at the convenience store right next to campus, but I've seen them everywhere.

This is at the convenience store right next to campus, but I’ve seen them everywhere.

Supposedly there is an Eva store in Harujuku, which I might try dropping by at some point later in the summer so I can blow even more cash on the franchise. I’ve also encountered more posters throughout my travels, and I’ll post them when I get around to it.

Anyways, I’ll finish off this half-post half-ramble with a nice picture of one of the weirder things I’ve encountered so far: the “mascot” for Mister Donut.



On a side note, at this point I’m more than happy to answer any questions about how well you can survive in Japan as a tourist/visitor since I’ve traveled around both Tokyo and a couple other areas  now and have been here for a couple weeks, so feel free to ask anything if you’re curious!

12 responses to “Summer in Japan (Tentaibutsurigaku): My (not so) Little Bookstore Can’t Be This Cool!

  1. Haruhi and most likely Yuki. Third character is most likely Mikuru (from the homoerotic nature of the pixels that are clear)

    • from the homoerotic nature of the pixels that are clear

      So clear.

      Sadly, it’s just Haruhi and Yuki – Mikuru would be a welcome yuri-esque addition and provide a good reason for the homoerotic pixelated censorship though! ;)

  2. Broken desktop wallpaper: Based on hair colors and orange hair ribbon, could it be Haruhi and Yuki glomping Kyon? On second thought, maybe Itsuki…

    All the rest: Even if I don’t recognize some, most of the titles are rather easy to read even with minimal Japanese skills, you know?
    -Hataraku Maou-sama
    -Shingeki no Kyojin
    -Kokoro Connect
    -Girls Und Panzer
    -SAO (duh)
    -kagerou days
    -Accel World
    -escApe spEEd (kool outdated kana)
    -Tomorrow I will die (and you will revive? cut off)
    -Tsuki tsuki
    -Bad Student in Magic High School
    -My sister is a vampire
    -Alice Reloaded
    -黒鋼の魔紋修復士 (Kuro no Hiera-Glaphicos, bullshit English name? something about magic)
    -??? Asterisk (looked full title up, 学戦都市アスタリス Academy Battle City Asterisk)
    -(extrapolated from volume title) 殺人姫と林監学校–> サイコメ PsyCome, Psycho Love Comedy
    -Fuyuu Gakuen no Alice & Shirley (Floating Academy?)
    -and probably much more but I already wasted too much time squinting

    Everybody already knows Evangelion is THE 90s show Japan will never let go of (besides shows and franchises that are too big to stop, i.e. Detective Conan, Pokemon, etc.) Any candidates from the 2000s?

  3. The mangas from the bookstore in Lalaport here is a bit more expensive than those from Akihabara :p
    btw, if you like Eva goods, travel to Hakone (around Fuji Mt), you know…. it is the base of 3rd Tokyo =p

  4. Pingback: You Can (Not) Redo: Back to Blogging | Chromatic Aberration Everywhere·

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