books

Author insinuates Hayao Miyazaki isn’t right in the head, says The Wind Rises is full of lies

In listening to people talk about anime director Hayao Miyazaki, there’s a collection of words you’ll hear over and over. Genius. Visionary. Legend.

So it was a little surprising to hear the man behind one of Japan’s most popular films from the last year instead voice his suspicions that Miyazaki isn’t quite right in the head.

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【TBT】The avant-garde art of book stacking in stores of Japan

With bookstores in Japan overflowing with manga, novels and non-fiction, it takes a lot to stand out and get noticed. However, with the advent of the three styles of book stacking we’re going to show, it’s impossible for passersby not to stop and take a gander at these literary works.

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Wow, literature is cute! Hiroshima library designs anime mascots for decimal classifications

Nowadays, whenever we want to access to the vast wealth of knowledge humanity has amassed, all we have to do check Google, Wikipedia, or the RocketNews24 search box. But long ago, you had to go to a place called a library.

With an Internet search engine you can just type in what you’re looking for, but simply scrawling, say, “history of feudal Japan” on the wall of the library will not only fail to provide you with the information you seek, it’ll probably get you thrown out of the building. Instead, you’ve got to utilize a system of numbers used to organize written works. While the U.S. has the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress Classifications, Japan has its own framework, called the Nippon Decimal Classification.

For modern youths, though, having to look up books by a numeric code feels extremely cumbersome and inefficient. So how do you get young readers excited about using the Nippon Decimal Classification? By anthropomorphizing it as a team of cute anime characters. , of course!

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The science of Attack on Titan explained: Finally, a Titan tie-in that looks kinda cool

Who would win in a fight between a Titan and Ultraman? How were the Walls built? Seeing as Titans never eat or drink, are they surviving through photosynthesis? If these are the questions that keep you awake at night, then we’ve got some bedtime reading for you.

Kūsō Kagaku Dokuhon (空想科学読本, literally “fantasy science reader”) is a series that addresses, queries and explains the science behind popular Japanese anime and manga. This time around, writer Rikao Yanagita has turned his hand to the inescapable Attack on Titan series, in this 208-page illustrated work that promises to answer all your titanic scientific ponderings.

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Are Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid all dating the same prince?

If we’re going strictly by the Disney versions, most people could tell you that the respective heroines of The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White are respectively Ariel, Aurora, and Snow White. A tougher trivia question, though, is to name their three princes.

As the most recent of the bunch to appear on the screen, Ariel’s Eric might not be too hard to recall, but how many remember that Aurora’s betrothed is named Phillip? And as for Snow White, we never learn the name of the man who wakes her with a kiss, as not once in the movie is he referred to as “Prince Charming.”

Actually, if we go back further, to the original fairy tales these Disney classics were based on, many times the male lead is simply called “the prince.” While it’s possible this is because of their relatively small and interchangeable roles in those stories, one mother in Japan has another theory: the same prince stole the heart of the Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White.

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Kiki’s Delivery Service side story being written by original author – online now and free!

Recently, my wife and I went out to see the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service. As we waited for the film to start, we swapped impressions of the 1989 anime version of the story, which like the live-action version is an adaptation of author Eiko Kadono’s 1985 children’s novel of the same name.

My wife mentioned that one of her favorite characters was Osono, the owner of the bakery where witch-in-training Kiki boards. Osono’s actually got quite a few fans, due to her tough yet kind personality and mature outlook on life.

How exactly Osono managed to acquire those admirable traits is the subject of a new serial by Kadono, a coming of age story focused on the baker who would eventually serve as Kiki’s mentor.

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Concern as hundreds of copies of The Diary of Anne Frank found defaced in Tokyo public libraries

An investigation is currently underway after it became clear that more than 300 copies of The Diary of a Young Girl, the book containing the writings of Holocaust victim Anne Frank, have been torn and severely defaced over what is thought to be the past few weeks across a number of public libraries in Tokyo.

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Earthquake strikes Kanto region, ruins novelty goods store’s evening

At approximately 8:44 on the evening of 16 November, a magnitude-4 earthquake shook the Kanto area of Japan. Although some barely noticed the tremor, the quake dealt a sizeable blow to the Village Vanguard store in Sangenjaya, Tokyo.

Village Vanguard is a chain of book stores in Japan, but also the place to go for those looking for a Jamaican flag Zippo lighter, bag of freeze-dried astronaut food, DVD of Golden Eggs, and/or bag with a Dr. Pepper logo on it in a country that by and large neither knows of nor likes the drink.

Following the damage caused by the quake, an outpouring of support has been seen from netizens in Japan.

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“Buy from bookstores or they’ll disappear!” Frustrated bookseller implores crowd on final day of business

As you may have heard, e-books and the Internet are leading the charge to burn down libraries, destroying civilization, and generally ruin everyone’s day. While this may be a bit of an exaggeration, there’s no denying the impact that these disruptive technologies have had on how we read and where we buy our content.

This is true even in Japan, which has a rather significant publishing industry and a large pool of eager readers, where physical books and magazines have had high sales well into the 21st century. While the country is known for its technology, Japanese consumers have been slow to adopt new modes of purchasing their texts.

But all that’s starting to change.

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Worldwide best seller The Zombie Survival Guide finally gets a Japanese release

Japan is facing a potential crisis. While the rest of the world has been readying itself for the zombie apocalypse for years now thanks to the likes of author Max Brooks and his The Zombie Survival Guide, the inhabitants of the land of the rising sun have been given precious little to prepare them for life after society has been torn to shreds by the flesh-hungry living dead.

Thankfully, with World War Z–a movie loosely based on Brooks’ 2006 novel of the same name–finally hitting Japanese cinemas on August 10, the powers that be have decided it is time to arm the nation with the knowledge it’ll need to survive. Arriving in bookstores next month, a Japanese language version of The Zombie Survival Guide might just keep the country going until we can start rebuilding society.

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Man searching for ‘the meaning of life’ steals upwards of 800 books from a single store

A young man from Nanjing, China, has been arrested after stealing more than 800 social science textbooks, history compendiums and poetry books from a book shop in the town. When questioned by police, the young man maintained that he was searching for ‘the meaning of life’ within the books’ pages.

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The Japanese government teaches us the proper way to dry a book

Despite its image as a high-tech country, a lot of Japan’s government paperwork still takes the form of bound collection of hard copies of legal documents. The National Diet Library has the responsibility of housing countless numbers of these collections.

However, like a fiery balrog, water is the bane of physical printed documents (which admittedly have a bit of a problem with fire, too). The National Diet Library occasionally has to deal with restoring books that have become wet before water damage sets in. Recently, the library revealed its simple, easy to copy technique for properly drying out a soggy book.

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An easy expression to read: The amazing phone book sculptures of Long-Bin Chen

This may look like a stone sculpture, but in fact New York-based artist Long-Bin Chen used nothing but paper to produce the following series of carvings. That’s right, this is actually a stack of phone books, cut, shaped and coloured to form the face of Buddha. Check out the full gallery of Chen’s incredible work after the jump.

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Saving book worms from book germs: Libraries install Bacteria Elimination Boxes

Anyone who has ever worked in a library could probably tell you that wiping down the covers of the books in the children’s section is one of the most grimy and disgusting tasks you could ever be assigned. I’d personally rather clean the toilets with a wet wipe to be quite honest! Thankfully, in order to counteract at least the living layer of grime found on these and other books, many libraries in Japan have installed a Bacteria Elimination Box to kill off any harmful little microbes that previous patrons might have left behind. It’s the perfect piece of equipment for bibliophilic germaphobes exploring the stacks!

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The avant-garde art of book stacking in stores of Japan

With bookstores in Japan overflowing with manga, novels and non-fiction, it takes a lot to stand out and get noticed. However, with the advent of the three styles of book stacking we’re going to show, it’s impossible for passersby not to stop and take a gander at these literary works.

Read More

Peep Into the Enchanted Worlds of Snow White and a Christmas Wonderland With These Books That Open to 360 Degrees of Charm!

Peek through the pages of either of these two wonderful “360° Books” from any angle and you get treated to an intricate view of a fantasy world like you’ve never seen.  All you have to do is keep opening the pages until you’ve created a circle and the scene inside has taken shape. Read More

Attention, Hipster Bibliophiles: Brooklyn Parlor Is Tokyo’s Newest “It” Cafe

Generally speaking, cafes are good places to grab a cup of coffee and relax a bit, but a truly great cafe will have such delicious food and such a chill atmosphere that you can while away hours in complete contentment. If you are looking for a place like that in Tokyo, let us introduce you to Shinjuku’s Brooklyn Parlor. Read More

How Your Old Videogames, Books and CDs Could Help Educate a Child

Take a quick look around your home. See anything gathering dust? Any old books sitting on the shelf unloved? That AKB48 CD you bought last year but are too embarrassed to listen to? How about those Playstation2 games that you never got around to playing before your console died?

Well now’s your chance to have a good old clear-out. Grab a cardboard box and turn that stuff into an education for a less fortunate child.

Japanese recycling giant Book Off is working in conjunction with Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA) to provide books and learning materials for children who have found themselves homeless as a result of war or natural disasters. As well as donating the in-store buy-back value of any books, CDs, DVDs and videogames donated by regular folk like you and me, Book Off is pledging an extra 10% of that value to the charity.

In short, some less fortunate kids get an education; you make some space in your home and get to feel warm and fuzzy. Read More

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