水曜日, 7月 28, 2004

Used Foreign Book Store in Kobe

    Wantage Books in Shin-Kobe is a small used bookstore packed full of foreign (English) paperbacks. The prices are very good, mostly about 200-300 yen, and they have a lot of Lonely Planet books. I bought Lonely Planet Taiwan and one for Tanzania & Zanzibar. (300 yen each). My next vacations after China will probably be Zanzibar and then New Zealand, at the request of friends :) - someday I want to go to Bali and Taiwan too.
    To find it, take JR or the subway to Shin-Kobe station. If JR, go across the walkway to the big hotel building. If the subway, you're already at that building- walk outside and down the hill. After you walk downhill to the other side of the building, you should see a Yoshinoya and a Fuji film place across the street. Cross the street, and head down the narrow road to the right of the film place. You'll see a sign in English for the bookstore.
    Awhile back I told you to go to Manyo bookstore in Sannomiya for used English books--but they don't have much of a selection compared with Wantage, since Wantage is ALL English books. Wantage is also better because if they don't take your books that you want to sell, they will at least donate them to a charity, book sale or bazaar, while Manyo will just offer to throw them away for you.
    The problem with Wantage is that it closes early, 5:30 on weekdays, and it's only open M-F. After discovering its existence on the Internet I rushed there after school yesterday. They had a lot of great books I'd already read, and others I'd never heard of, so it was hard to know what to choose. I took a lot of time looking through them because they are so crammed into the bookstore it's hard to see all of them, and most of the rows of books have another layer of books behind them. I wound up getting maybe 10 books. I read while having a salad at the nearby Wendy's and while taking the train home, but when I got home all I felt like doing (I should have been packing and cleaning, but) was playing Dragon Quest 1 on Super Famicon. OK, I tried playing Final Fantasy 1 awhile back--sometimes I just miss those really old games--and it was really bad. Not fun. And I had a thief character in my party and then I discovered that the thief character is completely useless, because he never gets to steal anything! So I was utterly discouraged. But Dragon Quest 1, that is actually fun. It's REALLY old. Older than Final Fantasy 1. But it's better. It's FUN.
    I was just called away from writing this post by a phone call from the vice principal. He told me to come down to the principal's office. Sounds scary, but actually it was just the yearly ritual of bowing deeply while the principal hands me a piece of paper with my job title written on it. This is symbolic of renewing my contract for another year. The whole time he was talking I was just mentally preparing myself to bow low enough to be respectful to the most high-ranking person in the school. This is where those boring school award ceremony assemblies actually have some kind of use; you can mentally practice the procedure for receiving something with both hands and bowing.
    Every time I talk to the principal, he asks me if I've adjusted to life in Japan. That's probably all we'll ever talk about. I've been here now for exactly a year and two days. I adjusted in the first month. But that's okay. I always say yes and he smiles and looks pleased.