Taipei Books Shopping

Presenting my spoils of the war; from the only (and best kind of) shopping I did in Taipei much to the disgruntlement of my this-is-not-real-shopping-shopping mad travel companion.

My primary aim this book shopping trip had been to get hold of one of Natsuhiko Kyogokua‘s books. Introduced to his works last year during D-Cup’s year end party when I had casually flipped through a manga version of Mouryou no Hako lying around, I had become so taken with it that I went out and placed an order for the set with my local dealer the week after. (NTV has an anime version of the series. I have a thing for the intelligent but mysterious book dealer + part-time shinto priest, Akihiko Chuzenji. What’s there not to like?)

Despite the number of works with yokai themes in Kyogokua’s works, their presence is presented as mainly that of as a fable or moral warning; thus his shelf moniker really falls under that of the mystery genre. Unfortunately over in Taipei, I was beset by a number of confusing and similar titles under different publishers and became wary of the possibility of having the same book in different editions. I decided to play it safe and wound up with purchasing one book of the lot; Kosetsu Hyaku Monogatari.

(Having heard that the novelist was a former designer and placed great emphasis on the design and lay out of his Japanese novels, I’m sad to report that the same did not follow through for his mandarin translation as far as I can see. It’s still a great book, and I am only half through it.)

My food-book lust reined its head and I wound up picking up a book about chopsticks (and how they are not really only chopsticks. Okay. I have yet to get on with that one to figure out the author’s point.) and a handy Japanese translated illustrated how-to guide for food tips. I have fond memories of learning how to cut vegetables from as a student Down Under from a Japanese cookbook hence I made a silent promise to put the book to good use in the near future when I (again) potter away in the kitchen.

Our side trip to Yilan and Luodong basically resulted in a not-very-useful-if-you-don’t-drive-afterall 3-day magazine guide book to Yilan. My sole takeaway from our visit to Kavalan, the Taiwanese whiskey distillery  there was a illustrated Whiskey 101 for Dummies guidebook.

A book about the history of noodles manifested on my second last day at Eslite. This was almost akin to winning a Golden Ticket; I’ve pored for years through stores, looking for such a book but alas, to no avil. There are countless of books about noodles; western or asian style, but they were all cookbooks rather than one that depicted history or origins of,  the kind of anthropology and archaeology of noodles book I really wanted to read. Unfortunately, despite the cheery yellow cover, a quick skim over the contents did not look overtly encouraging and I got a shock when I realized that this was a mandarin translated work from an European writer. (I think I will keep up my dream of writing my own book about noodles a little longer.)

Rounding up the food-themed book stash was Takagi Naoko‘s new food themed slice of life and two other fiction books. In my defense, one was Ito Ogawa’s Rinco’s Restaurant which already has a movie adaption staring Shibasaki Kou out and it’s really hard to ignore another book whose title loosely translates to “Goodbye, Vegetables Apartments!“.

Regretfully I didn’t manage to add to my collection of Yumemakura Baku’s Onmyouji series but I couldn’t remember where my collection was up to. Likewise forgotten were the works of Shigeru Mizuki and completing my Senoo Kappa collection. I even missed out on the comic strip series, Neko Ramen. I repent, truly…

For the next trip, I might utilize their too-handy online book shopping instead. It would make hunting down some of the more elusive titles much easier, not to mention the handy pick-up of the books at a 7-11 nearby whereever I would be staying. Still, nothing would ever beat my love for browsing bookstores; the handling of books, the thrilling sensation of finding an interesting or must-buy book from the shelves and of course the satisfaction after a good day of finds from the bookstores.


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