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NYC BookOff moving….

January 23, 2010 7 comments

Just as I reported on Asahiya several months back, I noticed this about BookOff.. they are moving…  This is news that would be of interest to people who frequent New York’s BookOff or visits. I blogged about this bookstore a while ago. This news of course, is better news than Asahiya’s closing several months back. I saw this news as I was in BookOff today, and tweeted about it, got some responses.. If you can’t read from the photo above…

animemiz: Oh my big news… on March 20, NYC BookOff is going to be closed for relocation to 45th betw. 5th and 6th to reopen estimate on April 17

So here are some thoughts.. I have been at this location since I was in High school, so I have seen them move thingss around, add and remove things. I have mixed feelings about this place moving. Some people may or not agree. I will try to list them out.

Mostly because I love bookstores, new or used this is also my family’s favorite used bookstore, to go and hang around for 3-4 hours. Plenty of New Yorkers would say it would be the Strand having top honors as being the Used bookstore, but BookOff has a niche. I usually end up batting my family off away from the English books/cds, but then go slightly nuts on my own for what I like. This is a bookstore that takes dvds, cds, books, games.. and review it for sale on the spot. This can probably mean… huge money losses for you, but one thing is good about this place is that once you bring it to them, that your bookshelf has blank spots in it. Still this is a used bookstore, so there is always the temptation to go and stock up on more books to buy.

Pros about BookOff Moving

  • Bigger location means more products space, or places to just browse through books, games, cds, dvds, magazines, stationary..
  • A fresh new look to the business

Cons about BookOff’s Move

  • The time that there is no BookOff to visit is kinda bad.. I am use to 365/7 schedule… so probably will have some widrawal symptoms.
  • Familiar spot is no more.
  • New Yorkers and visitors alike would have to get use to the new location, otherwise they’ll miss out on this Japanese Used super giant.
  • No more close proximity to the libraries, and familiar Japanese food/grocery sites.

Possibilities of BookOff’s Move

  • More air circulation – summer and winter it gets so crowded some times, that the air grows stale, especially on the second floor.
  • Cell phone reception is already crappy at the location of BookOff, so perhaps better cell phone reception?
  • Availability of a restroom facility? Since there is currently none at the BookOff location. There use to be, but that was a while ago.
  • Well I know that my bookstore hopping route is going to be changing slightly. This can be a bad or good thing, but one thing… up for speculations.. since it is probably not going to be like a rectangle path anymore from NYC Kinokuniya.

So what to do you think of my thoughts? Hmm.. I am going to have to process this some more.  Should look at my used Soymilk Desserts.. that I found for about $5 cheaper than at NYC Kinokuniya.. ;p

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Categories: Features

Asahiya Bookstore closing.. T_T

September 11, 2009 11 comments

What a dreadful soggy day. Weather and reality aside.

Okay I found out tonight as my friends and I made a round of bookstore hopping like always, and a sign was posted on Asahiya’s entrance, and it was saying that the store, due to circumstances was closing permanently. Their last day is on October 31, 2009. My friends and I were pretty crushed. One of my friends actually asked if it was a bad dream or not.

I also recently wrote an entry about them as well..

This feels like when they closed their location at Vanderbilt all over again.. no wonder there were having mad sales like mad. Now it would be more final.

They’re not using their point card system or not, rather – they’re not stamping any new marks. They’ll honor the stamps, if you have a full card, and then incomplete cards.. they’ll be counting each stamp as though it was $0.25 a mark.

I am wondering if Asahiya is closing for these reasons – Recession. No Sales. Competition from Kinokuniya nearby. I’ll try and see if I can take any more pictures to place up as a memory situation.

They would be having sales on DVDs/CDs toward the time of when the store is nearly closing. They cleared out a good portion of their anime sections already. My friends have been purchasing Nico dolls, Haruhi Suzumiya, and Lucky Star little figurines. There are some CLAMP in 3-D Wonderland figures available. I see trading cards, jigsaw puzzles at pretty insane prices. Some Evangelion, Bleach, Gurren Laggen accessories are still there… (sighs)

So another Japanese bookstore bites the dust. A long time ago there was four, and now with Asahiya closing, there would only be Bookoff and Kinokuniya left.

Categories: Features Tags:

Asahiya – Tucked out of the way Japanese bookstore..

August 30, 2009 3 comments

asahiya
Okay this bookstore is tucked away on a side street, so most people would go over to Kino or BookOff, here is Asahiya. It is located on E45th street between 5th and Madison. It use to be located on Vanderbilt and as other people would often say that the selections here wouldn’t be as much as Kino nearby. This place is a complete contrast to Kino, in only selling Japanese mangas, and no English graphic novels. Most of the products are also shrink wrapped, so it protects the products.

The bookstore is only one floor, as you walk into the store, there is a large row of magazines that get updated on a near weekly basics. You can also browse the magazines here, whereas it is shrink wrapped at Kino. The magazines are also more updated than Kino’s. So if you like to browse before you purchase then Asahiya is a place to go.

The cash register as I would place as a point of origin, is in the center of the room, with CDs/DVDs on the right of the room if you look dead straight into the room. The Japanese animation/mangas are in the back of the room to the right end, with a cart of discounted CDs/DVDs nearby. There are stationary products behind the cash register section. Also a Japanese learning section with the store’s few English titles on the left of the register. Toward the back of the room on the left side, before you go into the right end of the room, there is a small set of stairs with a television set.

What makes this place stand out is the point card that this store uses for customer loyalty and points aspect. BookOff did away with the system a while back, so only Asahiya of the three NYC bookstores would keep this style. If you fill up a card, it would be about -$10 discount. Each stamp is worth about $5.

Recently though, there have been a great deal of Japanese anime/stationary sales at this location. I picked up several plushes that were marked down really cheaply. Stationary, CDs, DVDs were also heavily discounted toward the back. A friend of mine picked up so many figures.

This is a bookstore to at least sample on a visit to New York City, it may be considered to be small, but quaint. On Fridays the bookstore cloes at 9pm, so my friends and I usually are at Asahiya until they close, and I have never noticed a PA system, rather their way of signaling closing is to to turn off the lights. Still this is a blog entry on featuring Asahiya, if you want more opinions or reviews, I would point out that there are more opinions of this location at yelp.com.

Categories: Features Tags:

Book Off – Japan’s Used Bookstore Giant in New York City

July 16, 2009 5 comments

book-off

I have been going to this location since I was in High school. Book Off is located in a tucked away block on East 41th street between 5th Avenue and Madison Street is Book Off, Japan’s largest chain of used Bookstores. This is a place to pick up used books, manga, cds, DVDs and video games. Anything that is sold in a book store is usually sold here, and for a reasonable price as well. The bookstore is also always looking for any of the above that a person has to sell. Dependent on the condition though, the seller of these items to the store will most likely not see as good as a return, unless they go sell it themselves or anyone wants to purchase it from them.

Inside the bookstore there are three levels. No elevators, and is usually a tight squeeze. The basement has Japanese language used books, while the first floor has CDs, DVDs, Video Games, English used books and stationary items. In between the first and second floor is a section on the English books of Japanese culture, novels, or learning tools. The second floor is an small alcove where there is the manga, artbooks, magazines, toys and a small Children section.

Seating is sparse throughout the store, so many people just stand. There are step ladders around the first floor and the basement, so that people can occasionally stand to on it to look for high reaching items, or perhaps sit on it? A popular sitting spot in the bookstore is the stairway that leads to the second floor.

Outside, E41th Street is known to bibilo-lovers as as Library Way, with plaques of literary expressions that commemorate NYPL and Grand Central’s partnership.

Also nearby Book Off, there is also the several more Japanese points of interest. There is the main Cafe Zaiya location, a Japanese small grocery, and a sushi restaurant. I love going to the grocery store, because of the Japanese food items, they also often have the television on showing Japanese food programing that I would never see otherwise. There is a small food location at the grocery store itself, only cash though. Zaiya offers set lunches on Monday to Fridays, and does take cash/credit. I have rarely stepped into the sushi restaurant, so not that much thoughts on it.

Of the four locations, I noticed Zaiya, the grocery store, and Book Off also having free Japanese periodicals available. Included in the Japanese periodicals is the monthly Chopsticks that is the English version highlighting all of the Japanese places of interests, and articles. Oh and Book Off seems to be the only place that has a bulletin board ad space for sale. So for those interested in looking at bulletins, or placing an ad Japanese relevent.. ^_^

Categories: Features Tags:

Kinokuniya – Main Store in New York City, with some musing on Shinjuku’s Kino

June 13, 2009 3 comments

kino

This is not from my mouth, but from the website. Kinokuniya, located at 1073 Avenue of the Americas (Bet. 40th and 41st St). Directly across the street from Bryant Park, behind the New York Public Library with the Stone Lions of Patience and Fortitude. How I love this part of Midtown..

I mention the book store frequently as Kino on my Twitter, and other mentions of it. Several years ago, Kino was located at 49th street and across from the Rockefeller Center, close to the Nintendo Store. Of course now it has moved to a larger location. While I am not sure on the success of that move, as I do miss the old store, and its quaint music announcing its closing time over the PA system, this move to the new location has tighten my bookstore hopping route, and probably has led to the store’s ability to market better its resources (Zaiya, not just Japanese books) and events (guests, workshops).

So of course I get to go to Bryant Park slightly more than usual. Better spot for cosplayers to meet up and photo shoot to their hearts content, although I have never gone to one. I recently caught an interview with John, who is the manager of the store, and yes now after my trip to Japan. I have to say Kino is a store of its own quality.

In the NYC branch, there are three levels, the basement, and the second floor, with the first floor in the middle. On the first floor, there are the magazines, English books on various Asian countries, cookbooks, a section of fashion including a line from Jlist.com, representations of the other two floors, and restroom facilities. There is an escalator going up to the second floor, and an elevator to the basement with stairs leading up and down to the various floors.

The second floor is where the store events, artbooks, DVDs, cds, mangas, graphic novels are. This is also the floor where there is an extension of Cafe Zaiya as a small cafe. I love going there to sit and enjoy a cold or hot drink, while I occasionally read, write, or look through some of my purchases. On Fridays when I am at that Zaiya, I am waiting for my friends to join me, from their weekly excursions in Chinatown. While there is not of a wide food selection as the Zaiya Library Way (41 Street) branch, across the Bryant Park, there are pastries, and drinks. There is a menu of Tea fortes, which is a specific type of tea bag that comes in a cute pot and a cup. Also drinks, and food here are served on glassware, which is different from the plastic/paper ware in the Library Way branch. It was at this second floor that I was able to see TMR, HAL-KALI and most recently Ai Kwashima, since there is a lot of collaboration with Samurai Beat Radio, and New York Anime Festival. I wrote about those experiences on this blog, under events.

The basement is where there is the stationary, more Japanese books, Japanese language guides, Washi paper/origami, and a specific Children section. Recently they’re having a specific sale on Bento Boxes and Photo albums. All pretty fancy, and very nice Japanese products.

There is a no photos policy allowed in the store, so of all the times I go to the store, there are no pictures on my part, because I am unsure of what is to be allowed in picture taking. So if you want to see the store, I would say you can visit the store yourself upon visiting NYC, or search for pictures on Flickr, or if there are comments, I would probably include some on my own flickr account.

One neat thing about this store, other than the location is the fact that often, they would get certain manga/graphic arts title earlier than let’s say Borders. Because I consistently go to the store, I purchased a membership to their Anime/Manga discount card, which only gives a 10% discount for every specific Anime product, not counting the Studio Ghibli products or Stationary items in the basement. Not really much to really like about the card itself, but as a patron, one must go where the supposedly discounts are. I really wish they can have a point card system like what Asahiya has or like what Book Off use to have, but so far no point card system in sight. Also the Anime/Manga membership card is set to expire next year, so who know what will happen next year.

I will continue to go to the store, so yep Kino hasn’t seen the last of me yet.

Oh I forgot to mention to other day when I wrote about this, the manga and publications in the store are mostly shrink wrapped, that is a practice that I saw in Japanese stores a lot, and this I really appreciate. To try and get people to purchase it though, there are sample copies to pursue. Still if they would adapt this format in Borders or Barns & Noble, won’t that be a better idea? I wonder though what would happen to the plastics though. ^_^

Kinokudyia

Prior to going to Japan, I learned from Peter of Jlist through his Twittering, that there was a six story Kino in Japan, so of course on my first full day of Tokyo before I went to Kyoto. I had my friend take me to Kino, and impressed I was! It is located at the New South Exit side of the Shinjuku Station, past a Starbucks, and Krispy Kreme, where there is always a mob of people waiting. Krispy Kreme in my opinion is really not all that, but since its an American business, what else can I say, globalization at work.

I went and enjoyed every last minute of it.. >_< Six stories.. my mind is just boggled by that fact, also they were the only bookstore that carried International books and so I wasn’t far from a source of books to purchase and read on the Tokyo Metro. I was pretty surprise to have ran out of reading materials, early on – so this place was a great place to go for English books, and yes this was the only bookstore I found to carry English titles. Everything is at the yen price, so it can end up costing more for the item, like the artbooks I purchase in Kino NYC or Asahiya, because after all English titles are imported in a Japanese country. Still I am grateful, and for this – I would definitely say that this is the bookstore to go to, if you’re an English tourist traveling to Tokyo, and need to find some English books.

Categories: Features

Overview of Japanese Bookstores in New York City Feature Announcement

April 25, 2009 2 comments

bookstore_by_sidteles

All right… I live in one of the most renown cities in the world. Well everyone should know it.. New York City. Now what makes this a great place for Japanese lovers? Other than the abundance of the Japanese culture things, like supermarkets, restaurants, clothing and department stores, there are the bookstores. I am going to be mentioning the three Japanese bookstores I frequent, and most of these places have branches in Japan as well. Those stores are what the tags indicate.

So if you are a book lover, knowing about these places do make time pass when you are in New York City. I have been thinking about this writing feature for months, and recently because of the spring weather decided to go out and take updated pictures of the bookstores themselves. I figure that as a frequent customer, I can mention what products they offer, and probably any of my tips for these stores. I do know that I can probably do this in Yelp.com, but since there are plenty of smaller reviews there, can do a bit of a cohesive review here.

So this is an announcement for a small feature of about three posts, with pictures, and what not. I googled these bookstores for a little bit and couldn’t seem to find much blog or web page activity other than Yelp to introduce much about these stores.

Categories: Features

Eroge Games – A female perspective.

April 19, 2009 13 comments

- Yume Miru Kusuri’s opening.

erog-collection

Okay the picture doesn’t have my entire collection of eroge, but it kinda covers what type of titles I have. I recall back in the defunct Female Blogger group blogging days, that there was one question, that tickled off a self-desire to want a follow up to wanting to write a post like this. It was either this or this or this. Not sure but I guess those topics are related. Or was it the fact that I read and reviewed Gay, hetero erotica? No matter, this was on my bucket of ideas to write.

Is it such an issue if a female plays Eroge? I do play the bl eroge, and have on my list several other non-eroge titles as well. There is that list I have on the left that says my list of what anime, doramas and games I am playing.

Now there are multiple reasons why I would play eroge. Sometimes I can be comfortable, other times I am pretty uncomfortable by this topic. It should be an open discourse in all matters of theory ne? Or should I blame my prudish tendencies? One of my Friday book store hopping friend always bears my wrath as I either poke or kick him, when he talks about this. Kinda double standard, but we have known each other since High School, and he’ s a great friend for putting up with my annoyance.

But getting off my tangent for the list.

One, playing eroge is the easiest PC games I can really play, plus it’s up my alley of being a librarian who read a lot of books. So text is not really an issue. Just time and patience is something that I face. Up to date now, I still have games that are in shrink wrapped, and have only finished 2 games completely.

Two, mostly a wishful thinking that some elements of it can actually be like an erotica romance novel. So far not really, but one can hope for that potential. I am more of the One true pair fan, so with the multiple endings, I do want to see which is considered the OTP pairing of mine. I do get to say at the end, which is consider my favorite pairing, and this is taking in light the sex scene. A person can dream about the pairing, no matter how odd they are.

Three, unlocking scenes. There’s that menu in each eroge game, with the CG or scenes. You can bet a dollar that I will skip a lot of the text, when I finished the game before having to go thru repeating the story. Plus some eroge games are pretty boring with some of the same long winded texts. There are also the consistent stereotypes that pervade games, so if one of my friend says “Ha” to me.. I am putting up a sign here as a disclaimer that I will consistently contradict myself. He questioned me last time why I was watching a harem anime, and tying this to the eroge games…isn’t this what eroge games are, whether they are harem or reverse harems or same sex harems?

Four, the experience and interactive sequence of the game kinda draws me in. Whenever I go to cons occasionally I have a set list of what eroge games I buy. They’re still translating them and I started to buy eroge when I was in college. After a lot of research from the various sites out there. I ordered my first set of games from Jlist, of which to this day I still like to order sometimes from. Since then I have found out that an acquaintance of mine do sell these games at East coast relevant cons to me, so I would go and support him as a buyer. Still trying to rationalize purchasing some more of the more hard core titles like Bible Black, which I hated the anime. I usually would prefer consensual and willing over non-consensual and rape. I hate that stuff, truly will and do.

Five, eroge, I believe are way better than porn, while a slight annoyance of mine is with the voices, this is way better and somewhat preferable than the real humans. There is a standard, and I think I can say that I like 2d a bit more than the real deal. I am not counting Hentai in this equation, and if I see my stats suddenly jump because I mention these taboo words, will probably smack my head and think arugh!

Six, as an outlet and as a female I believe we do have needs. There is not much female relevant material out there, other than josei  mangas from Luv Luv Press, which I do read – and think.. wow poor plot, with weak female characters and smut on every other page. There are very slight exceptions though, and all I kinda have to sigh and think here is another material that fuels the male fantasy. Don’t get me started on the issue that lesbian females are not meant for the private, and fantasies of the men. That not every girl would want to be your fantasy girl, or how porn, hentai, or even eroge games color it to be. One of my biggest grips is how often this market, as well as other markets.. hint hint to the Comics market, and this I recall back to when I attended NYCC and went to that female reader panel. There are female fans that would see this, and expect to receive some form of acknowledgment. I believe it is with my early exposure to some materials have me being able to accept this form of entertainment.

I will continue with reviewing, watching, purchasing and interacting with this type of genre, irregardless of what should probably happen. Eroge is something that probably shouldn’t be behind closed doors, and I do have this on my shelves… as with my large bookshelf of other alternative type of medias. As far as I am concerned, I will not be purchasing any adult games, or media while I am in Japan, so with all those Akihabara stores or even the Genshiken fan book I just read, it is not that big of a deal for me. The big deal is if I am able to get some limited items of other more general thing like cetain Black Lagoon or One Piece figures, then that would be all right for me in the world.

Categories: Features
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