book off

If you`re in japan right now and you haven`t been to a Book Off, you`re missing out on a lot. Its basically a nationwide chainstore (they have some branches in the states too) that sells secondhand (japanese) books, mangas/dvds etc dirt cheap. Most of their manga for example goes for ¥105, which is pretty crazy. They`ve got new and old series/volumes which makes them better than a regular bookstore. My good friend Noli was actually the one who suggested that I go when I told him I needed some manga to practice my kanji reading (definitely a good idea by the way – it also helps with context/grammar use/informal japanese).
I think I`ll just quote him at this point: “While I have found single-shop bookstores that have been as nice, I have yet to find another chain as awesome as Book Off. What’s really great is that there’s a whole host of stores that the company created, including Hard Off (unfortunate name), Off House, Mode Off, Garage Off, and Box Shop. Hard Off is actually a decent place if you wanna get cheap games…”
Don`t forget of course that since its a secondhand store they also buy old stuff from customers which is great if you`re short on cash. Another reason people go to the place (I think) is to browse through the pages of manga and check out the art/story etc, which you can`t do at a regular bookstore because the volumes are wrapped closed with clear film – I`ve even seen some people make lists as they walk down the book aisle. True, some regular bookstores have viewbooks but thats only in a few cases. If people like what they see at Book Off, they might then decide to go buy a new version at a regular bookstore. Perhaps, not quite what the Book Off people had in mind.
I myself have bought a load of manga and its honestly come in very handy. For those of you who don`t know, some manga comes ready with furigana (hiragana reading on top of the kanji) which is great. Once you feel you can graduate from that, all you have to do is buy furigana-less manga and if you have a kanji dictionary its even better, because searching for a kanji helps you dissect the character and thus memorise it.


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