Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hooked on Books

So, the title of this post isn't just a nod to my cousin's book store in Missouri - I actually AM hooked on books! I think my New Year's resolution should have been to read more, because I started on New Year's Day and am now on my 9th book of the year! While it's nothing like jet-skiing or scuba diving, I like to think of it as my new hobby - I'm currently reading The Kite Runner, which I had "read" in college, but just enough to pass the test on it. I'm so glad that I decided to read it for REAL this time, because I can't put it down!

One of the things I used to enjoy back in the States was going to bookstores like Barnes and Noble when I was bored to browse. Here, I really have no use for the Japanese bookstores, as everything is written in Kanji symbols, so I, naturally, don't spend much time browsing their aisles. The other day, however, I happened to wander into one, because I noticed some English words - GLAMOUR! Yes, this one store had a few American magazines! In fact, they even had old issues of the same magazine - they had Feb '10, Jan '10, and even Dec '09 on their shelves! Crazy, since in America, the old issues are ripped from the stands as soon as the truck carrying the newest issue rolls in! Another thing I noticed - every American magazine was a little bit more expensive than in America - I guess because they have to travel all the way to Japan??? The Glamour Magazine I was looking at had a sticker placed over the American price of $3.99 that said Y1890 (1890 yen = $21.72 at the current conversion rate)! Wow! And the Architectural Digest with Jennifer Aniston on the cover - Y2583 ($29.68) - for ONE magazine! I was so close to purchasing it, just because I'm in love with Jennifer Aniston - never mind that that is more than what I pay for a year's subscription - but I curbed the urge. Who buys these magazines?!?

Although I wasn't heading toward the books at all, I couldn't help but wonder why all of them seemed to be stacked in piles upside down. When I went over to get a closer look, I realized my mistake - it seems that cars are not the only things that are backward in Japan! Books here are bound on the RIGHT side instead of the left. Maybe some of you reading this blog were fully aware of this, but I was not. I was confused. Doesn't it feel like they are starting a book at then END when they are reading? I asked myself. I guess it's not the end to them if it has a front cover on it. It's interesting how you grow up knowing things to be a certain way - even something as simple as a book. Then, when you put yourself in another culture, it takes a minute to realize that just because you've never seen books that open the opposite direction doesn't mean that is the WRONG way necessarily. I'm learning that it's all about perception - the way you've always perceived things based on your own culture. I'm sure they look at our books and wonder why they are backward as well!

Oh, yeah, and did I mention that Japanese read and write up to down instead of left to right:)

Side note: Matt is done with his deployment to Thailand! I am picking him up from the airport early tomorrow morning! Thanks everyone for your prayers and support while he was away!



  1. Wow, that is so interesting about their books. I didn't know that! Expensive magazines, I agree, I wonder who buys those! I'm sure you're glad Matt's home! Hope all is well!

  2. I had no idea about the books either! Thanks for educating us all. (I'm envious of your time for reading books...but, I am getting through one for small group and another for our women's Monday night group.) Glad you survived Matt's Thailand trip! Hugs and love to you both! xo