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Confessions of a study-book-shop-o-holic

October 18, 2009

preview15In a no-shame-tell-all I confess to you my deepest darkest secret of a situation spiraled so out of control I’m beginning to think I need to check myself into rehab. What you’re about to witness is not for the faint of heart, you are hereby warned…and kids, please don’t try this at home!


Imagine this, you enter your favorite bookstore in search of a book to study Japanese, first you stop and have a look at what they’re offering at the ‘Recommended’ stand near the entrance before you head over to the foreign language section. Browsing past Arabic, Bulgarian and Catalonian you’re soon standing in front of the Japanese section. Previously you’ve done some research online, read some reviews and soon you’re holding that book in your hands that you’ve been looking for, and you thought no bookshop would carry that book. Glad as you are you start walking towards the check-out counter but not before you’ve glanced past the magazine isle and pick up the latest issue of PC Monthly (girls, Cosmo). On your way home on the bus you leaf through your newly bought book happy that you’ll soon be able to start studying Japanese effectively. This is your typical situation people.

Now this nutcase writing this article here has a whole new take on buying study books. People buy eggs by the dozen, people with large families buy cartons of milk by the dozen, kids in school learn how many there are in a dozen, but I buy Japanese study books by the DOZEN! Somehow people think, the more books you own, the smarter you will get, while this holds true for people who actually USE the books but not for people who buy Japanese study books by the dozen unless it was to teach a small class. Seriously, I just can’t control myself when I go all beserk at the bookstore having a bookgasm everytime I see newly published books. I mean, if you have one book in a series, OFCOURSE you gotta own the rest of the books in the series too! And those darn bookstores know how to play you out like an open card, putting on nice music, strategically placing a comfy armchair or two here and there, pilling up those hot offers like a spiral directly within your eyesight! No wonder overly-sensitive study-book-shop-o-holics like me fall right for it and rack up those study books faster than the newest Twilight novel sells. Below is my shameless book count list on Japanese study books and you will need to grab a chair…and your heart.




PS: Until I’m fluent I’ll probably keep racking up those study books unless I get suffocated first by the humongous pile of books next to my bed suddenly collapsing on me while I lie dreaming of buying even more books.

PS again: new confession, actually I also threw away a lot of (most of them never used) Japanese study books because they wouldn’t fit in my suitcase which was already overweight while I previously already sent 2 boxes of 20 kilo’s each containing books back home when I was moving from China back to Europe. I just dumped them shamelessly into the thrashcan, and to think some kids in Nepal don’t have study books… *crawls in a corner

PS again again: another confession, ‘never judge a book by its cover’…yea fuck that, the books I threw away all had ugly covers because I like pwetty covers!

23 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2009 4:50 am

    “Somehow people think, the more books you own, the smarter you will get, while this holds true for people who actually USE the books …”

    While you take the cake on the actual number of books, I have to say we share a similar trait. I have a couple of German books lying around. But then it’s not just learning books… I also have a whole bookshelf of novels waiting to be read… yet I continue to buy what I see…

    oh, by the way, I was having my mind on your book counted #24 – seeing your recommended note there reassures me, but do you think it’s worth the price tag? I think I saw somewhere that it’s $48 (and I’m thinking USD)

    • October 18, 2009 11:13 am

      Yea join the club, secretly it’s more fun to buy books than actually reading them, admit it 🙂

      About book count 24, actually, two of your prezzies came from it hehe. But I bought mine in China for (warning: what you’re about to see is equally shocking!)reader

      I know, it isn’t fair (但你离中国也不是很远啊,香港也应该有的但可能比大陆的贵一点)! But definitely worth the price 😀 (my price that is hehe)

      • October 18, 2009 11:32 am

        haha… I keep forgetting about the books from China!
        oh yeah, I just have to brave the border gate and get over to Gongbei to go to that “Book City”. Perhaps I should do that in the next couple weekends and see what I could get :3
        It’s just simplified chinese gives me a headache so navigating the bookstore and actually browsing the contents of the books… seem like heavy labour, haha!

        thanks a bunch! (both for the tips, and the prezzies that I still haven’t had time to look at)

      • October 18, 2009 11:35 am

        Haha, there’s hardly any Chinese in that one except for the cover sleeve 😛 Glad I could be of help 🙂

  2. creativityjapanese permalink
    October 18, 2009 4:51 pm

    Oh my goodness! You have SO many books! I’m still recovering from your blog~ lol!

  3. October 19, 2009 12:28 am

    I thought I had too many 日本語 books!! But you definitely out-book me easily!! (I love the white rabbit kanji flash cards though. I have them all ordered and everything all ready to just… use. Except I tend not to… lol.) I should see how many I have in all!! Though that might take a few days!!! >.<

  4. October 19, 2009 6:56 am

    That’s quite an impressive collection of Japanese books.

  5. October 19, 2009 8:09 pm

    It’s a shame that there aren’t so many libraries where I can buy books like these… =( Do you know any online stores where I can find them?

    P.S.: I recommended this blog to my Japanese Class’s classmates 😛 More visits for you!

    • October 19, 2009 8:50 pm

      Thanks a lot! Sure, there are lot’s of sites where your can order good books, take a look at: (popular, no fuss and fast)
      – (popular) (popular, huge offering) (has some offering along with other wacky Japanese stuff)
      – ofcourse,,, has lots too

      Most of the books I listed were published in China & Hong Kong and are therefore in Chinese, the above sites carry lots of popular study books targeted at English speakers. I’m sure you can find what you’re looking for at any of em 🙂

      • October 20, 2009 10:14 pm

        Thanks a lot for the list! I’ll check some of the books and see If I can use anyone at my level. By the way, I’m one step from buying the awesome Flash Cards from White Rabbit Press. Can you do a fast review of them? Would be awesome!

        PD: I printed some of the study tips you posted 😀

      • October 20, 2009 10:45 pm

        You don’t need a review, they’re THAT good! Having actual cards in your hands and each single card focuses only on one kanji will get your attention only on that single kanji, works much better than if you had a book with several single kanji on them, too cluttered and your attention is lost.
        Whats not to love about the cards, each card has:

        – the kanji to learn (big and clear)
        – up to 6 compounds/words/phrases using the kanji (with references to JLPT level)
        – kun/on reading
        – stroke order
        – radical reference
        and more info

        It’s basically your no-nonsense-get-the-job-done approach.
        I’d say, BUY IT, it’ll be the best purchase you’ve done concerning studying kanji (better than any book I’d say). Make no mistake though, this product is solely for learning kanji (and words) but one that cannot be missed if you want to advance in your Japanese studies. I knew of this product some time ago, but it has taken me only just now to actually order them, I should’ve done that a long time ago. Call me old fashioned, I like having actual physical cards in my hands over those SRS apps out there any day, just the fact already that you can take those cards anywhere without having to turn on and sit behind your computer. And somehow, the cards also motivate me to study (again, cus I can see the actual physical thing)
        BUY IT BUY IT BUY IT! 🙂

        And you will want the small cardgame box to go with it too.

  6. October 20, 2009 5:02 pm

    Whoaaah! thats a lot of books, I guess you need them when learning a language 🙂

  7. October 23, 2009 4:10 pm

    Wow. And I thought I’d amassed a boat load of books. As it turns out, it looks like you went for the QE2 and any nearby tug boats that would be able to hold out the excess.

    I must admit though, there is something completely satisfying about buying a new study book, especially one with ridiculous amounts of Japanese on the front, however the problem that you highlighted still remains: if you never use them, then what’s the point.

    The other problem is that it’s a complete travesty to throw away a book, so not only do you end up with a ton of books you don’t need, but you also end up with a ton of books you can’t throw away. Hmmm..

    • October 23, 2009 9:10 pm

      I think just buying new stuff in general is satisfactory, buy a new box of cookies open it, eat the first 2 cookies and then it gets shoved to the side for something else new…gawd that’s so awful, but SO me…hehe
      And the other problem with so many books is, even 2 lifetimes wouldn’t be enough to finish them, and then you switch from one book to the other and in the end none gets finished. But I’m making choices and hopefully sticking to them 🙂
      btw, love your site/blog-thingy. I’ll be adding it to my blogroll.
      Hopefully I’ll be able to break free from this standard theme soon, so confining bah, 🙂

      btw again, we should exchange guest blogging! I was actually thinking about that last week having other bloggers contributing articles!

  8. October 27, 2009 4:33 pm

    I really liked reading your post, it had so much homor in it! (and the bad thing is that most of it was even true!) Unfortunatly I have to go and can’t read your other posts, but I’ll promise; I’ll be back!

    Great job you did with the pictures! It must have been a hell of a job.
    Keep up the good work!

  9. April 5, 2010 12:52 pm

    Ha, I am exactly the same way. I just have a genuine interest in textbooks! They each have their own ways of explaining things, with different example text, etc. I, too, need to work on actually studying more, because yeah, buying all the books in the world will not help you if you don’t make the time to read them.

    • April 7, 2010 9:42 pm

      Hey Emily, I know, especially when the books look nice, they just scream ‘buy me!’ ‘buy me!’. I have no defense against this…! 🙂

  10. Miriam permalink
    July 8, 2010 4:22 pm

    Okay I know this is a super old post but I have to say I would definitely be a study book-o-holic if I had the money to spend. I have 3 at the moment and a kana flashcard set. I see all those book and I really really wanted to get them, just because of the covers! I just love the shiny covers and pictures, and when I see new books (although my bookstores are disgustingly terrible in Japanese textbooks) I feel a need to buy them (or at least keep them in my to-buy list for years). There is definitely something satisfying about shopping, especially books. It’s my cure 😛
    Great post, I love reading them, and I love your photos.

  11. May 28, 2013 7:18 am

    I can understandyou so well. But Japanese study books arejust too pretty, you cannot resist buying them. I also just love all books about design and couldn’t stop myself buying more and more in Tokyo even if my girlfriend was a steady reminder that we had to slow down because of the allowed weight of our suitcases.
    We ended up just buying another suticase 🙂

    Love your blog, it’s shame that you don’t continue with it. I started a project about Japanese design, art and yeah BOOKS as well 🙂 Maybe you want to take a look:

    Thanks for all your work, I really enjoy browsing here 🙂

    • Squire Starsquid permalink
      May 28, 2013 10:22 am

      thanks for visiting Kowski! Love your blog (bookmarked it)! I’ll create something new eventually, but for now I’m busy with photography (

  12. Amy permalink
    July 23, 2013 2:39 pm

    I am not the only one… thank goodness.


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