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 BUYLINE
Shibuya’s Zenmall (29-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku; 03-3770-1641), known for offering large clothing for men, is holding a two-day Early Bird Pre-Summer Sale. The sale will take place on the mornings of April 12 (Sat) and 13 (Sun) for three hours (9am-noon) each day. During these times, nearly everything will be marked 20-80 percent off. Some of the bargains include suits with a spare pair of pants for \9,800 (sizes 3-8L), and summer casual jackets for \8,000 (3-6L). Imported designer suits by makers like Calvin Klein and Boss are also marked down to \39,000 and \59,000, respectively. Those who spend over \10,000 can take part in the Cash Grabbing Contest, where shoppers can dig into a box full of cash. Spend over \30,000 for two chances to grab, and \50,000 for three. Don't miss this rare opportunity, as it could be one of the few chances for those looking to buy large sizes in Japan, especially at affordable prices.
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IN STORE ARCHIVE:
535: Anything goes
Add a little spunk to your life at Tokyo's zakka housewares shops. Hanna Kite visits five of the best.
531: To a tee
Tokyo’s hottest T-shirt shops boast designs by some of Japan’s top talents. Hanna Kite dresses down.
527: Treasure chests
Hanna Kite checks out five Tokyo jewelers that offer the perfect setting for your next shopping excursion.
523: Arts and crafts movement
Trina O’Hara goes in search of the Japanese creative spirit.
519: Bra-vo
Move over, Hello Kitty. Sexy has finally replaced cute in Tokyo's lingerie stores. Hanna Kite reports.
515: Bowled over
Trina O'Hara tracks down the latest tableware to suit any time of day.
511: East meets nest
Trina O'Hara finds that Tokyo's flea markets and shrine sales suit all types of personalities and interests.
503: The write stuff
Hanna Kite takes notes at Tokyo's finest pen and paper boutiques.
499: Blasts from the past
Tokyo trendsetters have a knack for making old fashions new again. Jennifer Au goes back in time at the city's coolest vintage clothing stores.
495: In the bag
From haute to mass-market, designer to dowdy, Tokyo has a tote to suit every taste and budget. Jennifer Au tracks down the best.
491: Paper chase
Steve Trautlein goes on a search for Tokyo's best English booksellers.
487: Happy trails
A love affair with the great outdoors is easily consummated at these Tokyo retailers. Steve Trautlein gears up.
483: Top hats
Whether it’s a rooftop barbecue, a riverside picnic or an afternoon stroll, there will be times this summer when you’ll want to keep the sun off your face. †Martin Webb hunts down Tokyo’s best headwear suppliers so you can stay shady in style.
479: Oriental express
This summer, all things Asian are hot stuff. Martin Webb finds out how to get the look without breaking the bank.
474: Haute haven
Forget Roppongi Hills’ aspirations to be the city’s cultural hub. This is the consumer capital of the world, and it’s all about shopping. Martin Webb reports.
468: New kit on the block
Backed by street-wise fashion chain store Beams, these seven new stores are upping the style quotient in Daikanyama. Martin Webb sizes up this brand new shopping experience.
463: Can buy me love
Stuck for ideas about how to make Valentine’s Day extra memorable this year? Martin Webb shops around for some great gift ideas for lucky ladies.
452: Perfect timing
For the rushed residents of our fair metropolis, keeping an eye on time is one of life's little necessities.
448: House of style
The newly open Marunouchi Building is drawing legions of eager shoppers from all over Japan
445: Present perfect
Tired of wasting your yen on last-minute gifts at duty free?
441: Toy story
Martin Webb tackles every parent's annual ennui and finds playthings that could earn you more peace and quiet than you bargained for
437: Natural selection
Seven new "select shops" are giving style seekers an excuse to keep spending
433: Window shopping
Stephen Cotterill indulges his yen and peers into the retail oasis that is Glassarea Aoyama
429: Jet, set, go!
With the holiday high season just around the corner, trendy travelers are in hot pursuit of packing accessories
425: Loud and clear
No home is complete without a sound system, and for audiophiles, time at home revolves around those little black boxes
421: Red brick revival
Once at the heart of Yokohama's bustling port industry, Akarenga Soko has a new lease of life as an exclusive entertainment and retail complex
417: Eye browse
An eyewear boom has seen new stores open and old favorites prosper
413: Sporting goodies
Shibuya sportswear
409: Go Figure
An army of action figures
405: Puff 'n' Stuff
Tokyo's best cigar shops
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Paper chase

Steve Trautlein goes on a search for Tokyo's best English booksellers.

Kinokuniya

The good news for Tokyo bibliophiles is that the city has tons of bookstores; the bad news is, unless you're looking for Harry Potter or the latest David Beckham pictography, most shops hold little of interest. But with so many gaijin about and a populace forced to learn English until the end of high school, Tokyo does indeed have a bookstore to suit every taste, from the cluster of shops in the Kanda-Jimbocho area to tiny furo honya (used bookstores) to the city's gleaming megastores.

 

The big boys
These mega shops are well-known but are worth a visit nonetheless. The seventh floor of Tower Records in Shibuya has the best range of English-language magazines at great prices, stocking everything from Time to High Times. They also carry a large number of trade paperbacks, culture and entertainment books. The fifth floor of the Shinjuku branch of Kinokuniya has perhaps Tokyo's largest selection of English-language books, with lots of titles on Japan, magazines, fiction and a great lit-crit section. It's the place to go for that new hardcover but, unfortunately, prices are quite high. On the other side of town is Maruzen's main shop in Nihonbashi, with English books on the fourth floor. An ESL teacher's delight, they offer many textbooks, activity resources and more. Maruzen also has a shelf full of maps-both French and English-and dictionaries in a wide variety of languages, plus a great selection of art books on the second floor. Just up the street is Yaesu, a chaotic store that's served as a bibliophile's delight since the '70s. The seventh floor has lots of English books, including paperbacks, film and art titles. They also stock textbooks and calendars.

Tower Records
Open daily 10am-11pm. 1-22-4 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3496-3661. Nearest stn: Shibuya.

Kinokuniya
Open daily 8am-10pm. Takashimaya Times Square, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5361-3301. Nearest stn: Shinjuku, south exit.

Maruzen
Open daily 10am-8pm, Sun and hols until 7pm. 2-3-10 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku. Tel: 03-3272-7211. Nearest stn: Nihonbashi (subway) or Tokyo (JR).

Yaesu
Open daily 10am-7:30pm, second and fourth Sun till 6pm. 2-5 Yaesu, Chuo-ku. Tel: 03-3281-1811. nearest stn: Tokyo, Yaesu south exit.

 

Kanda-Jimbocho area
Surrounded by several colleges, including prestigious Meiji University, Kanda-Jimbocho is home to a high concentration of used bookstores. In contrast to the pristine, well-ordered condition of most of Japan's retailers, the shops here, specializing in everything from first editions to vintage magazines to movie posters, are chaotic and messy, with stock that spills outside into sidewalk bins. It's an area that rewards poking around. A good bet is to walk down Yasukuni Dori, starting at the A1 exit of Jimbocho station and away from the big intersection. First is Ogawa Tosho, which stocks mostly first-edition English-language literary criticism and literary biography. Kitazawa Shoten, one of the bigger and more orderly shops, has a gorgeous granite-and-brick facade and offers new and slightly used humanities books. Unfortunately, their second-floor rare book section is now by appointment only. The second floor of Isseido Shoten is notable for its selection of antique English books on arts, travel and the Orient. The Charles E. Tuttle shop, now known as Tokyo Random Walk, is the bookstore of the renowned Japan publishers, with a large selection of magazines, erotica, and steeply discounted second-floor titles. The area's lynchpin is the flagship store of publishers Sanseido, where English books, magazines and postcards occupy a corner on the fifth floor. Just a little farther on, across the Meidai Dori intersection, lies Subun-so, which has rare, antique and first-edition English books on the second floor.

Ogawa Tosho
Open Tue-Sun 10am-6pm, closed Mon and hols. 2-7 Kanda-Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-3262-0908. Nearest stn: Jimbocho, exit A1. www.book-wave.com (Japanese)

Kitazawa Shoten
Open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, closed Sun and hols. 2-5 Kanda-Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-3263-0011. Nearest stn: Jimbocho, exit A1. www.kitazawa.co.jp

Isseido Shoten
Open Mon-Sat 10am-6:30pm, hols 10:30am-6pm, closed Sun. 1-7 Kanda-Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-3292-0071. Nearest stn: Jimbocho, exit A7.

Charles E. Tuttle/Tokyo Random Walk
Open Mon-Sat 10:30am-8pm, Sun 11am-7pm. 1-3 Kanda-Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-3291-7071. Nearest stn: Jimbocho, exit A7. www.bookshop.co.jp (Japanese)

Sanseido Bookstore
Open daily 10am-7:30pm. 1-1 Kanda-Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-3896-6332. Nearest stn: Jimbocho, exit A7. www.books-sanseido.co.jp (Japanese)

Subun-so

Subun-so
Open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, closed Sun and hols. 3-3 Kanda-Ogawamachi, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-3292-7877. Nearest stn: Jimbocho, exit A7.

 

 

Used books
Good Day Books has long been a favorite haunt of expat bookworms and is the one Tokyo shop many of us couldn't imagine living without. Just steps from Ebisu station, Good Day is heavy on paperback novels but also stocks drama, poetry, biography, history, business, travel and science titles, among others. A small but well-put-together selection of new books complements the pre-owned ones, and high turnover ensures that there are always good finds of Japan language-learning and travel books. Caravan Books, open since November near the west exit of Ikebukuro station, offers a large selection of paperbacks, travel books, and non-fiction. Their fiction inventory is online, so you can see what looks good before you go, and just this month they've added a café service with light meals and drinks-including beer and wine. Caravan is small but offers seats so browsers can take books on a test run before purchasing, and they host monthly wine and cheese parties. Blue Parrot Books on Aoyama Dori, also open since November, is a tiny but well-stocked used bookstore in a great location. They have bargain bins holding CDs, books and manga, in addition to weekly sales. All three of these shops offer some type of book exchange; call or check their websites for details. Though not technically used, the discounted books corner on the seventh floor of the main branch of Yaesu features great deals, including Penguin paperbacks for ¥500 and Taschen art books for under ¥1,000.

Good Day Books
Open Mon, Wed-Sat 11am-8pm; Sun and hols 11am-6pm; closed Tues. 1-11-2 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5421-0957. www.gooddaybooks.com (also offers info on Tokyo-area book clubs).

Caravan Books
Open Mon-Thu 11am-8pm, Fri-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun noon-6pm. 2-21-5 Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku. Tel: 03-5951-6406. www.booksatcaravan.com

The Blue Parrot
Call for open hours. 2F Aoyama Seven Heights Bldg, 1-7-5 Shibuya. Tel: 03-5485-5558. Nearest stn: Shibuya, east exit or Omotesando, exit B2. www.blueparrottokyo.com

Yaesu
Open daily 10am-7:30pm, second and fourth Sun till 6pm. 2-5 Yaesu, Chuo-ku. Tel: 03-3281-1811. nearest stn: Tokyo, Yaesu south exit.

 

Art and children's bookstores
Tokyo boasts many shops catering to picture-book aficionados, be they young readers or art lovers. For the latter, Shimada Yosho, a charmingly cluttered store in Aoyama, features a mind-boggling diversity of titles. In addition to books on obscure subjects like WWII military uniforms and 19th-century hand-painted porcelain, they sell conventional coffee-table tomes, including design annuals, interiors guides, cookbooks, gardening, automotive and, of course, photography, art and art history books. The bookstores attached to Watari-um, GA, Nadiff and Logos galleries have a wide variety of Japanese and imported art books; Nadiff is the most attractive, and Logos offers the biggest selection. The main branch of Aoyama Book Center has a large art section, while their Roppongi branch has fewer volumes but houses them in a cool second-floor loft area that looks down on Roppongi Dori. For the little ones, Crayon House has mostly Japanese titles, but the 10,000 foreign selections and kid-friendly atmosphere make it an expat family favorite. Fiona in Jiyugaoka is tiny but well-stocked with kid-lit and activity materials, everything from picture books to the complete works of Jack London. The Maruzen store listed above has an excellent kids department, with English, Japanese and French titles, while Tokyo's English-language used bookstores also carry children's books.

Shimada Yosho
Open daily 11am-8pm. 5-5-25 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku. Tel: 3407-3863. Nearest stn: Omotesando, exit A5.

On Sundays (Watari-um Gallery).
Open Tue-Sun 11am-8pm. 3-7-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3470-1424. Nearest stn: Gaienmae, exit 2.

GA
Open Tue-Sun 12-6:30pm. 3-12-14 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3403-1581. Nearest stn: Yoyogi or Harajuku. www.ga-ada.co.jp

Logos
Open daily 10am-8:30pm. Parco Dept Store, B1F Part 1, 15-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3477-5873. Nearest stn: Shibuya, Hachiko exit.

Nadiff Gallery

Nadiff Gallery
Open daily 11am-8pm. B1F Casa Real, 4-9-8 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3403-8814. Nearest stn: Omotesando, exit A2. www.nadiff.com (Japanese)

Aoyama Book Center
Open daily 10am-10pm. Cosmos Bldg, 5-53-67 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5485-5511. Nearest stn: Omotesando stn, exit B2. www.aoyamabc.co.jp (Japanese)

Crayon House
Open daily 11am-7pm. 3-8-15 Kita Aoyama, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3406-6492. Nearest stn: Omotesando.

Fiona
Open daily 11am-8pm. 5-41-5 Okusawa, Setagaya-ku. Nearest stn: Jiyugaoka, towards Den-en-Chofu. Tel: 03-3721-8186. www.fiona.co.jp

Photos by Steve Trautlein

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