This pandemic brought out a lot of nostalgia (
and a tiny bit of regret for not jumping into the fun); as a self-forecast, the normal days are way too far into the future as we have yet to successfully curb the number of cases locally ( as of writing it’s becoming worse, but that’s not the topic of this post so I’m ending my grievances right here 🤐) it’s sad realization for me, and for many of us too, the burden just keeps on piling *sigh* so I just keep on looking back through the pictures that I accumulated from my past travels. Traveling is one of the things I sorely missed when the pandemic happened. And like I said it may take few years before things start to become completely our new normal (hopefully? here I am praying 🙏🏻) and that includes travel, so far all I have are memories, so yes, this is somewhat a throwback post!
Aside from normal tourist spots in our itinerary, one of my travel bucket-list was always *🥁* bookstore! Yep, yep, the one the sells books, yes that bookstore! Being a bookworm, bookstores makes me happy! But I don’t just go to bookstore! I want to see bookstore that sells Japanese manga! (if only I could travel to South Korea 😭, I wanna buy print copies of my fave webtoons too; that for now remains a dream); I haven’t bought manga in a year now, all thanks to shipping restriction, and well, money too! 💸 Here’s a trivia: all my Japanese manga in our bookshelves were bought overseas, usually during our travels! It was so much fun browsing aisles and aisles of manga! It was truly wonderland moment for me!
I remember my very first overseas bookstore with JP manga was Kinokuniya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! My sister and I was so giddy to see aisles of our favorite manga! The bookstore was so huge, we were overwhelmed by the titles we wanted to buy but we kept ourselves together and selected the titles we were collecting then (mine was Haikyuu, while my sis was Kuroko no Basket). It was so much fun that I wrote my mini adventures in Kinokuniya!
This was a bit different the following year when my younger sister (not the same sister ^) traveled to Hong Kong for her birthday (her treat!) with just the two of us! The first thing in our list (after eating) was visiting Asahiya Bookstore! Unlike in Kinokuniya the prices were in Yen! And again I was overwhelmed which ones to buy ‘cos you know my pocket money was very limited. If I remember correctly I brought home 10 volumes of manga? Another broke Mitchii travel episode! 💦
I think the only country that I visited so far that I didn’t get to visit even one bookstore was Singapore! But our travel itinerary (headed by my sister who I hadn’t seen since ’13, she planned the whole thing) was so jam-packed then (and we also went to Johor, Malaysia for Legoland), I don’t think we had a breather, by the time I went to back home my body was sore from all the things we done!
I guess my favorite bookstore, er, manga spree memory was of course, in the homeland itself—Japan! When I was searching for bookstores to visit, Book Off was always on top of the list! And you know what, it’s true! Apart from the vast collection, the prices were so cheap we hoarded manga like we were made of gold (before we left we sold some of our books so we could buy new ones, so we managed to hoard a bit lol) And yes, our luggage allotment exceeded (glad we bought additional in cases ty sissies!) weeb life is real! 💦 but we couldn’t help it then, everything was so cheap, and the amount of manga was wow! You just wanna buy them all!
Our drop off to *Taiwan Comic Base (sorry for the misspelled) in Taipei, Taiwan was completely coincidental! It was near our hostel so we decided to check it before we do our tourist-y thing! It was very chic kind of bookstore! I didn’t buy anything because I can’t read Mandarin even to save my life. But it was nice to browse! I saw some Japanese manga translated to Mandarin there. I also I visited another bookstore (which I don’t remember the name) while waiting for the fam, again all of them were in Mandarin and there was no point buying if I can’t read it. But bookstores are zen area for me, it was nice breather for all the walking and the activities we’d done.
I was eager on visiting Asahiya again when we went to HK last year (yes, before the whole travel restrictions happened) but again, the schedule was so hectic! If I knew that would be the last in probably a long time, I should have visited even if it was just me. Now, that we can’t go out like we used to (even just my local bookstore) I can’t help reminiscing all the fun time we had visiting these bookstores! I wonder when can we do that again? Time will tell…so digital and web shopping will suffice for now.