If you love books as much as we do, you are probably familiar with the eternal struggle of bookworms around the world: discovering and buying books that you’ll truly enjoy. When it's Japanese literature you are looking for, the task can be even more challenging.
Whether you are studying Japanese, planning a trip, or just interested in this mysterious culture, we’re sharing our tips for buying Japanese books and novels.
Go Beyond the Big Box Stores
As you start to look for Japanese books to read, you may find that most mainstream book stores will only carry well-known Japanese authors, like Haruki Murakami. Don’t get us wrong - we love Murakami! But there are so many Japanese authors to discover that you won’t want to settle for just one.
The biggest problem you’ll face when looking for new authors? Not all Japanese books are translated into English. So, you may need a little assistance in finding the translated books. Which leads us to our next point...
Websites like Goodreads let you connect with friends and strangers to see what they’ve been reading and get a first-hand review of what they thought about a particular book or author.
In a perfect world, however, you’d have access to personalized book recommendations based on your tastes, so you wouldn’t have to scour the internet for hours looking for your next best read. Oh, wait - that’s exactly what Osusume does! Hello, perfect world :)
At Osusume Books, we only send the books we have read and loved, and we tailor each monthly pick to your tastes. It’s like being best friends with a Japanese bookworm!
Try Out Different Genres
Do you consider yourself an adventurous reader or do you tend to stick to the same type of story that you know you’ll love? If the answer is the latter, then we suggest that it's time to come out of your bookworm cocoon and try some new genres!
As you begin exploring Japanese literature, you’ll find that the books, the characters, the problems they face, and how they deal with them, can be quite different from Western literature. And for a good reason - Japanese culture is a treasure chest filled with centuries-old customs, traditions, and myths of which Westerners are just unaware. This means that reading Japanese novels can pack a few surprises along the way and may change your mind about a genre you previously didn’t enjoy.
So, don’t throw out the idea of trying a Japanese mystery novel - give it a try and you might just find a new genre to love.
Get a Map
As you dive deeper into Japanese culture, you’ll find that there’s so much more to the country than just its biggest city, Tokyo! We love keeping a map (or our phone) near us while reading so we can pinpoint a book's location. If you do travel to Japan one day, you’ll feel like much less of a stranger knowing its unique geography, regions, and neighborhoods.
When you pick up a Japanese novel, you’ll soon find that food is a huge part of their culture, and authors love talking about the food that their characters cook and eat! We recommend stocking up on some Japanese snacks or ordering take-out so you can really immerse yourself in the experience of reading a Japanese book. You may even try making some of the recipes that appear in the book.
As Toru said while eating a cucumber in Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, “It’s good when food tastes good. It makes you feel alive.”
The Bottom Line?
You can find the best Japanese books translated into English - and you won’t need to travel across the world to find them!