Local Business with Favorites – A second-hand bookstore in Shimokitazawa, July Books
Do you have a favorite store in your neighborhood? Maybe it has its own unique atmosphere. And when you enter such a shop, you feel as if you were welcomed into a place that is public yet private at the same time.
Sometimes we go there not only to shop, but also to enjoying sound interaction or just to meet someone new, don’t we?
There is a small bookshop named “July Books” in Shimokitazawa, one of the cultural downtown Tokyo.
The town is located on the west of Tokyo, and known as a hip and cozy area that often transmits youth culture. The area has many stores which includes secondhand clothes handmade goods, bars, live houses and small theatres within its narrow alleys.
One of those attractive shops is July Books. Managed by book lover Noriko Miyashige, July Books is going to celebrate its third anniversary this autumn.
It is a relaxing space that sells old books preferred by Miyashige herself – picture books, comics and travel journals, for example.
Though it is not necessarily super convenient like Amazon, it offers a full experience to get acquainted with books the old fashioned analog way by exploring the content between the covers.
Miyashige explains that she has expanded the relationship with people in Shimokitazawa through “July Books.”
Last year she joined “The First Shimokitazawa Book Summit,” held by local businesses, and had a good time with booksellers from nearby shops.
She says that everyone values the close relationship between sellers, although they are competitors in a way. This is one of the charms she pointed out as “close human distance” distinctive of the town.
Her first vision for the bookshop
When Miyashige launched her store in November 2011, she imaged it to be stacked with her favorite books. Before opening the store she worked at Tsutaya Tokyo Roppongi and Shibuya Publishing & Booksellers.
The experience of working at the big booksellers helped her conceive of her concept for the new store.
However, the most drastic trigger for her decision to start “July Books” was the Great East Japan Earthquake on the eleventh of March in 2011. She says,
Everything worked out quicker than expected. Miyashige easily found a good property in Shimokitazawa within half a year of the earthquake.
The reason she selected Shimokitazawa, a familiar place for her before the earthquake, for the location was also the influence of 3/11. She says,
Now what is most pleasant for her is to communicate with various visitors. She looks back to two years ago, and says,
The future which local business opens up
After opening July Books, Miyashige’s view of local shops has changed. She says,
Try to live in your favorite place and to work on what you enjoy, as Miyashige does. If you have an “favorites” and you follow your bliss drastically, you might find in due time what to do and where to do it.
And a local business that begins with that spark can also impress other people, and become a hub of an original community for them to spend their tiny happiness in everyday life.
[via Greenz.jp written by Yuto Miyamoto]