Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Books Moblo: A Unique, Used Bookstore In Kamakura
Written by Nakamura Akiko
Books Moblo in Kamakura is a great shop where you can find all manner of zines, from all across Japan. These zines are great for for domestic and international tourists, and many are limited edition works too!
Kamakura is famous for its old temples and antique houses. But not many people know about the unique bookstores and book cafes.
Books Moblo, which opened in 2011, is a used bookstore, handling "zine"s as well.
The store has a cozy atmosphere, and you can find a wide variety of books, from picture books, to photograph collections.
Tourists from abroad may think, "How can I enjoy visiting a used bookstore if I can't read Japanese?" The owner of Moblo Books has also selected books in foreign languages as well, so it's worth taking a look. Even if you can't read Japanese, it may be fun to see the foreign book selections, chosen by a Japanese.
Zine: A Way to Discover Japan
If you happen to visit Moblo, you must check the zines.
A zine is a private journal authored by an individual, without any ties to bookstores or publishing companies. Its origin is said to be in the late '80s to the '90s, published by the skateboarders in the American west coast. Lately there are fashionable zines published in Japan, as a way to promote tourism.
The author sells the zine through a special route, so its distribution and numbers are limited. After the zine is sold, you may never see it again, so its value resembles a used book, in a sense.
Nowadays, many zines are sent to Moblo Books for distribution, from all over Japan.
Even those who doesn't understand Japanese can enjoy the visual designs, and learn about the people's life in various area of Japan.
Recommendations for International Visitors
The owner, Mr. Kensuke Shouda, recommends this zine, published in Gunma prefecture. It is convenient for travelers from abroad, as it comes with English text, and can be read either as a magazine or a guidebook.
Mr. Shouda's wife, Shoko-san chose this book, "CAFE BIBLE". The author, Genki Numata, runs a kokeshi (*1) and matryoshka dolls shop in Kamakura. This book, currently out of print at general bookstores, introduces the "cafe" culture in Japan.
*1 Kokeshi: carved wooden doll, designed to look like a child, with the ball-shaped head on top of a cylinder-shaped body.
Get Away from the Web, Visit Books Moblo Instead!
In today's modern society, information flows through the web. Information about Japan can be easily accessed from overseas.
But currently, analog methods like these zines have also become popular. It may be due to the fact that books and magazines are something that you can touch and feel. Also, people may have realized how fun it is to browse a bookstore, without having to search through pages and pages of information instead.
At Books Moblo, you can see books that were written years ago, and books that can't be easily searched for online. Holding those kind of books in your hands is sure to give you something to think about in this modern age.
Address: 1-1-12, Ohmachi, Kamakura City, Kanagawa, 2F-D, WALK Ohmachi II,
Closed: Mondays, open if a national holiday
Credit Cards: Not accepted
Nearest Station: JR Kamakura Station
Access: 5 minute walk from east exit of JR Kamakura Station
Website: Books Moblo (Japanese)
Official Facebook: Books Moblo (Japanese)
Official Twitter: Books Moblo (Japanese)