This week we head over the seas once again, and embark on an adventure of the Japanese persuasion. Over the holidays, both Miss Mileto and Miss Courtenay made the trip to Japan for a holiday with their respective families, experiencing the weird, wacky and wonderful things it has to offer. Interested to hear their experience? Read on…
Big. Bright. Colourful. These are the best ways to describe a Japanese bookstore! Despite not knowing any Japanese, much of my free time was spent wandering through different stores browsing the manga section and secretly hoping that I would find a novel in English!
Although I couldn’t find any fiction novels in English, I was pleasantly surprised to find a fair amount of western novels. Like many people, I assumed that everyone in Japan just read manga (comic books) – how wrong I was! You’ll be happy to know that stores like ‘Kinokuniya’ & ‘Book Off’ are currently selling J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Sarah J. Mass’ Throne of Glass.
Turns out, the Japanese are big on reading – not only was there a bookshop around every corner, you can also find book vending machines on train platforms (how awesome is that!). Sadly I did not encounter any on my travels.
At the end of my trip I was lucky enough to spend a day at Osaka Castle. Osaka Castle was built by the Japanese warrior Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who ruled Japan in the latter half of the 16th century. Construction work began in 1583 and most buildings such as the castle tower were completed in 1585.
Today the castle is open to the general public as a museum – Osaka Castle Museum has a large variety of historical materials and the screen displays – there is also an awesome observation deck on the top level! My favourite part of the museum was the miniature figures and the panoramic screens (Panorama Vision) on the 5th floor. They were designed to show the scenes from the folding screen depicting the Summer War of Osaka.
During my visit to Japan over the Christmas holidays, we came across a Library…in the hotel. We jumped into the elevator to go up to our room and saw, written clearly on one of the buttons, the word ‘library’! We stopped in on the way to see and discovered a beautiful room with ornate chairs and chandeliers and a tiny, eclectic collection of books. It looks like they’ve decided to allocate this gorgeous space to pastime of reading – why not?! It just goes to show that a library really can be anywhere and anything, as long as it has space to read…and some reading material.
Have you ever visited Japan? What was your favourite thing about it? What did you find strange? Let us know in the comments! Stay tuned for our next #travelinglibrarian post!