Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Sorry for the lack of updates; I've been out of town, mainly visiting Manhattan. I brought back a bunch of Japanese-language manga, some of which I hope to report on eventually. I also brought back a couple of pieces of info which may be of interest to those who buy Japanese-language manga and live in, or plan to visit, the New York City area.

I don't know if this is a new thing since the last time I was there, or if I just didn't notice it before; but the Book-Off on 41st St. between 5th and Madison has a whole bunch of shounen-ai and yaoi manga. They aren't given an official section of their own, but the ones I saw were clustered on the back wall. As with all the manga there, they're not only cheaper than new manga, but they're not shrink-wrapped, so you can thumb through them before you buy. (Which I would recommend, particularly if you're only familiar with what's been published in the U.S.; otherwise you may be unpleasantly surprised. Some of the material in those books is significantly rougher than even the books that have been shrink-wrapped here, from what I've seen of the latter.)

(Incidentally, did you know that the Japanese actually have a word meaning "standing and browsing at a bookstore"? They call it "tachiyomi.")

A while ago I reported that the Asahiya in Manhattan (Asahiya and Kinokuniya are the two major Japanese bookstore chains with branches in the U.S.) had closed. Since then, it's reopened in a new location, on 45th St. between 5th and Madison (though the address of the building it's in is actually 360 Madison Ave.). Unfortunately, if my memory isn't playing me false, the new store is significantly smaller than the old one, including the manga section. So, while the old Asahiya had been a better place to find Japanese-language manga than the Manhattan Kinokuniya, particularly "alternative" titles, now the positions are reversed. Still, I did find two titles in Asahiya that either Kinokuniya didn't carry or I'd overlooked there.

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