Kinokuniya 2008: Better Late than Never

I bought only five books at the “12th Annual (sic) Kinokuniya Foreign Book Sale” in Umeda. Although I still haven’t finished some of the books I bought at the 11th annual (sic) sale, held in late 2006, I still had to buy something. The selection was smaller than in past years and the books a bit older than usual (many of the paperbacks I bought in ’06, had been published in ’05 – most of this year’s seemed to be, at best, from ’05 as well). It might be dawning on Kinokuniya that most of the expat population graze happily in the landmark store at Umeda station while waiting to meet friends, but actually sweat it out until the sale to actually buy something. And many just buy from Amazon. At any rate, the pickings were slimmer.

For the record, I will attempt to read this year:

Oh, Play That Thing, by Roddy Doyle (2004). Sequel to A Star Named Henry, which I liked.

Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell (2005). I bought The Tipping Point last time. I’m nothing if not a loyal reader.

The Master of Go, by Yasunari Kawabata (1954; trans. by Edward Seidensticker, 1972). I’ve never been able to get through his so-called masterpiece, Snow Country (I have that much in common with many Japanese friends). We’ll see how I do with this one. It’s encouragingly short.

Dogs and Demons, by Alex Kerr (2001). I’ve been holding off reading this one for some time. Its reputation as a cri de coeur of a disillusioned gaijin preceded it. I’ve read enough of those, listened to enough of them in bars, and try to avoid becoming one on this blog (with only a few slip-ups). But it was on sale for ¥700. What can you do?

Cooking with Beans (…Grains, Pulses and Legumes), by Nicola Graimes (2006). I’ve been trying to eat a bit more healthfully lately and I grabbed this the minute I saw it. It’s a gas. Hard-covered, pretty pictures, clear recipes, more or less readily available ingredients (exceptions – the Canadian staple, navy beans, and the Jamaican staple, black beans, which is frustrating). Hard-core food-porn, and nearly 60% off the Japanese cover price. Made the Spanish omelette recipe this morning with great success (secret ingredient: cannellini beans). Bargain of the year.

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