Taking the world less travelled

Want Cheap Japanese Books? Go to a Bookfest!

Posted by on Jun 26, 2007 in Language | 1 comment

Recently I had the pleasure of going to my local bookfest. For those not in the know, my local bookfest, run twice a year, is where a lot of second hand books are sold. These books have been donated to a local charity (lifeline – you donate old clothes etc to them and they go to people in need. It is also a phone help line for free counselling), and so all the money raised goes towards a good cause.

In my bookfest there are three sections: High Quality (really old books in good condition, hard cover books, etc – most priced around $7), Priced (each book is priced, around $3 each) and Unpriced (the book is priced by type of book, fiction and non fiction are $1, I think childrens books are 50c). I joyfully went around each section, picking up books… Over all for the day I got 20 books for $35 which is fantastic! I got two High Quality books, a couple Priced, but most were in the Unpriced section.

You may be wondering why the hell I’m posting about this here. Well… I got some fantastic bargins on Japanese books! I couldn’t believe my luck. I got:

bullet 2 Japanese novels. Of course my Japanese isn’t good enough to read them yet, but I can’t wait till I can!
bullet Loney Planet’s Japanese Phrasebook. It was only $1 so I had to get it. It has the romaji, kanji/kana and English, with lots and lots of phrases and vocabulary. I will be adding some new words to my flash card program with this!
bullet A English phrasebook written in Japanese. Yes, the complete opposite of my lonely planet phrasebook. It has the kanji/kana, English, then katakana to explain how to pronounce the English. It’s pretty cool, I’m pleased with this find!
bullet A JLPT Level 2 Study Guide Text Book. Something like this would cost me $40 to get in real life, and here I have it for $1! Sure, I might not need to use it for a little while yet, but I’m hoping over the next two years or so I’ll get up to around this level. Hopefully!
bullet Three JLPT Level 1 Study Guide Text Books! Yep, three of these! Again what a bargin for only $1 each. I am planning to get to this level eventually ;)
bullet Three books I have no idea what the hell they are about! OK, so one has “The Japan Foundation Japanese Language Institute” written in English down the bottom, and one has the Kanji for “read” on the cover, so I’m hoping they are just readers. Ah, but they could be “The Idiot’s Guide To Bricklaying” for all I know! One day I’ll be laughing at myself thinking “why did I buy these??” but for now I’m happy with them! (I keep meaning to bring them to my Japanese friends and asking what they are about, but I’m a bit scared as to what they might be!!)
bullet Kenkyusha’s New Pocket Japanese-English Dictionary. I haven’t actually got a Japanese paper dictionary up until now. I just have been using the net. This was only $3 and is small, but it was the best one I saw out of the dictionaries there (there were a few!). One day I want to buy a more expensive one anyway, or possibly an electronic one.
bullet And finally, More Making Out In Japanese. I got this one for a bit of fun! It is all in romaji/english which is a bit of a turn off, and who knows how much out of date slang is in it, but it’s for shits and giggles, not serious Japanese learning (although, I might learn a thing or two from it!).

I also got some cheap fiction books, with nothing to do with Japan except for a book called Ninja by Eric Van Lustbader, simply for the reason it has “Ninja” in the title. It’ll probably be crap, but NINJA!

So head to your local bookfest now!! I also saw:

bullet A lot of manga in Chinese. Dammit, they were Japanese stories I knew and loved, but the Chinese translations. If only I was learning Chinese.
bullet Japanese for Busy People If only it wasn’t such a crap text book I might have got it.
bullet Lots of Japanese-English and English-Japanese dictionaries. If you are thinking of shelling out around $30 or so for a dictionary, don’t!

So check out your local area for a second hand book sale. I live close to the city so there are quite a few around me. This bookfest, in particular, is fairly large (and popular – I got there 30mins after it opened, at 8:30am on a Saturday, and it was already packed!) and has a “foreign language” section. I got a fair bit from that section as well as the “reference” section. Anyway, check out your local second hand book sales because you might find some really cheap materials to help you on your quest to learning a second language.

(We were also searching for an Indian food cook book. Could you believe it, there was thousands of Italian, Casseroles, Mexican, every type of food cook book under the sun but no Indian/Curry cook books! So, it’s all about the luck of the draw. So good luck on your book hunting!)


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  1. ETSUKO

    Whats up! Great idea, but could this really do the job?

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