Monday, April 16, 2007


Tetsu had a business trip to Tokyo last Friday and before he left he asked me what I wanted him to bring back as a present. Although you might think that since I'm American and live in Japan, that I'm very international and cosmopolitan but actually I sometimes lament that I've just become a country girl. All my English students (the ladies) are traveling around the world to far off and interesting places and using the English they've learned, but I stay in the back woods of Tochigi-prefecture. I've been to Tokyo maybe twice in the past 10 years. Tetsu too, rarely goes so both of us are country bumpkins! Anyway, I teased him and said bring me back something gorgeous from the Ginza but he said he bring back a box of dumplings! Dumplings!

He came back late Friday night and yes he is a country bumpkin. He talked about all the foreigners walking along the streets (like he'd never seen one in his life! Yoo hoo! Hello? You're looking at one!) the speed of the Bullet Train etc. He even brought back dumplings which we enjoyed with hot tea. But... best of all he brought back books!

Now, I can buy English books if I go to the neighboring city, but they are quite expensive. Still, compared to thirty years ago when I had to have my mother send me books from the States, I feel like I have access at my fingertips. For years and years I'd just keep re-reading the old English books that I had in my bookcase. (Practically memorized some of them!) Of course the internet has made everything possible and my fingers sometimes push buttons on that website before I have a chance to think!

Anyway, Tetsu's gift to me from Tokyo was a stack of books he bought at a used English bookstore! Amazing! There are many used book stores in Japan but English! Oh, I would have been in heaven! My poor husband has no idea what he bought me. If it had a #1 on the cover page he bought it. That's why there are a couple Danielle Steele and John Grisham books, not that I'm particularly a big fan of either. I'm not complaining! Yeah! This will keep me occupied at least until summer when I'll stock up again during my trip to the States! Oh, and one more pat on the back for Tetsu. All the books he picked out were in English. In the past he's thought of me at a bookstore and bought me a book and I'd have to tell him the thought was sweet but the book is in French!

Isn't that interesting that even a used bookstore will "cover" all the books you buy? This is true of most book stores in Japan. Maybe the reader doesn't want people to know what he is reading. I've never seen this done in the States.


Fiona said...

How fascinating that the books are covered - presumably this is once they have been sold?

Connie said...

Tanya, My good friend here who is from Japan brings me gifts on occasion and everything is always so carefully wrapped. It appears that presentation is of high importance in Japan. Is this just part of the culture & tradition there? It's easy to take for granted the ability here in the US to get books in English that I forget that for you it requires an effort to shop in the places that offer them. Happy Reading, my friend!

BJ said...

I'll paint you a rainbow as a gift from me,

Then hang it from heaven for the whole world to see.

On a canvas of love I'll cover your fears,

With a soft brush I'll dry all your tears.

I'll paint you a rainbow with feelings so deep,

My stroke will be gentle, my touch you may keep.

On a palette of words I will tenderly blend,

Colorful thoughts with bright verses to send.

I'll paint you a rainbow in reds, blues and gold,

Stretched like loving arms ready to enfold.

And deep in the center of the most vibrant hue,

I'll etch from memory the essence of you.

I'll paint you a rainbow, a bridge to my heart,

So loneliness and pain can begin to depart.

Just look up at the sky when life hits a bend,

I painted a rainbow for YOU.

My new website,

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

I have seen fabric "covers" that folks will slip their paperbacks into when at the beach or pool (presumably so we won't know what they're reading...) but haven't seen covers such as you showed upon purchasing books. Your husband is very thoughtful... all that and dumplings, too!

BJ said...

Hi Tanya,
Your welcome. Now I say, Thank You for visiting one of my sites.
My Newest site is,

The poem is an orginal but I can not take credit for writting it. I found it on a website.

YankeeQuilter said...

Is the wrapping to keep the book clean? I remember in school we were required to cover our books with brown paper to protect them - it was one of my favorite parts of starting the new school year! I was really surprised how expensive books are here in England. We Americans are really spoiled in that department.

Nancy said...

LOVE the paper covers! What a nifty thing to do.