Year of Grace, Day 42. Loveletter lane

There used to be a little lane in Shibuya, Tokyo, called Loveletter Lane or Koibumi Yokocho. Before universal literacy, people would go and have their letters written by a scribe, and this one in Shibuya apparently specialized in love letters. By the 70s, the scribe was no longer there nor were his services needed, but the name of the little path lived on.

As a student in Tokyo, I used to get some bargains at a used book shop on this lane. It was run by an old man, and there were countless books piled in no particular order. It was the kind of bookshop that appealed to a real book addict  because going in there was a bit like hunting.  Now with age, I have become allergic to dust mites and can no longer linger as long as I wish to in such places.  I remember buying quite a number of old cookbooks in English from this shop — one was a Hungarian one with traditional recipes. There was one illustrated book on Japanese traditional ornamental knots that I had lusted after, but it cost 15,000 yen at the time. Quite a tidy sum.

Today I decided to go into some used book shops and I have to congratulate myself that I stuck to my intended purchase of only 3 books. Had I found other books that interested me, I might’ve been tempted to buy more. I am so glad and thankful that I was able to be a bit disciplined about book buying, as I often get carried away.  Sometimes having a dust allergy can be such an advantage. I have to say that I felt quite conscientious with my modest purchase. For that I can be thankful.

Other things to be grateful for: some lovely flowers, simple but honest food, and a brilliant sunny day.

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One thought on “Year of Grace, Day 42. Loveletter lane

  1. To encourage reading, my mother used to let us buy as many books as we wanted at a book store. She would refuse to buy us anything else and was borderline ridiculous about spending on clothing or shoes (especially considering which school we went to, i.e. IS), but when it came to books? We were allowed to buy as many as we wished! Later on I found out that this too was a bad habit. I used to march into Kinokuniya in Shinjuku and spend 50,000 JPY on books. I learned not to go to book stores frequently and to stay away from them if I was not supposed to be spending. Now I am located in a place where they don’t really have any bookstores that sell English books and so long as I stay away from Amazon, I’m fine. It’s Tuesday morning now and dawn is breaking here. Hope you have a nice week!

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