Excuse the shoddy image quality, the photo came from my 3DS
Recently, I’ve decided to improve my Japanese by owning more Japanese-language reading material. Luckily, when I went to go eat with my friends at Mitsuwa Marketplace San Jose, I noticed that there was a Kinokuniya Book Store right next to it. Remembering that a merchant at Fanime recommended it to me for manga, light novels, and whatnot (God bless him), I decided to go there after feasting on tsukimi udon and takoyaki.
Much to my enjoyment, the place was filled with imported goods from Japan. There’s some English anime/manga-related stuff, but I really recommend Right Stuf for that kind of thing, unless you have an aversion to online shopping or something. The main draw of Kinokuniya, I should say, are the Japanese-language products — and there aren’t just books, there are tons of freshly imported CDs and home videos, and plenty of children’s books in both English and Japanese. The staff at this store were nice as well, which isn’t what I’d normally say about Asian stores, due to most cultures’ Chinese-influenced “neutral face” stance on shopkeeping.
I plan on grabbing other goods when I get some more cash, but for now I bought the first volume of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica — 4‑Koma Anthology Comic (魔法少女まどか☆マギカ 4コマアンソロジーコミック) and Pocket Monsters Special Vol.33 (ポケットモンスタ－ＳＰＥＣＩＡＬ <３３>). The latter is my first attempt to get back into the Pokemon fandom after all of these years by finishing up the DP saga of the Special manga, not to mention that I also have to play every god damn game and the entirety of Gen V which I never played. I’ve kept up with character designs, which is funny since my favorite female playable character is Mei, yet I haven’t played Black 2 and White 2, the games which she stars in. I’ve also amused myself with Game Freak’s recent anime-styled trailers of the games, which go out of their way to hire A+ Japanese voice actors for the characters even though they don’t include voice acting in the actual games anyway… yeah, makes sense. As for the actual anime “adaptation”, kiiinda don’t want to get back into that even though the recent openings have been baiting me. Nostalgia teases (Lizardon and Okorizaru?!) and Satoshi being voiced by Rica Matsumoto were always the upsides of the anime, but “Episode N” looks like it’s going to be a pretty plot-relevant and epic arc. But damn, Satoshi’s new moe moe eyes still bother me first and foremost. The original Red is crying on Mt. Silver as we speak.
Pokemon rambling aside, I’ll definitely be coming back to Kinokuniya instead of importing Japanese books myself online (too much of a hassle). Speaking of which, did you guys know that small-time Japanese light novels were, well, light and small? I’ve only ever seen and touched the big titles like Haruhi Suzumiya and Spice and Wolf (which is what we would consider regular-sized chapter books in terms of height and width), and along with the fact that light novels are a pretty niche market in the US, my mind was literally blown when I saw just how small these books were. They were TINY. I would have to put on my glasses (which I really should be wearing all the time) in order to read the furigana, if any.