May 2012 UPDATE: Please read this blog post for more ways to obtain Japanese books! :)
I am a strong believer that books are a great way to become literate in any language!
Over the past few years I have managed to collect a modest number of good books, and here’s how I did it:
1) Japanese Language School Book Sales – First, find out if there is a school in your area. I would just google “Japanese Language School (Your City)”. – Then contact someone to see if they are having a sale or “Bazaar” anytime during the year.
2) Find a Japanese Person and Ask for Suggestions – They will probably be a wealth of information as far as Japanese resources in your area. They may know people who are moving back to Japan (moving sales are great places to buy books!) or may be willing to sell you/or let you borrow some of their books. Or perhaps there are Japanese Clubs in your area. High School/College teachers who teach Japanese may also be a great resource.
3) If you have a friend or relative in Japan, ask them to send you books. This is a great option if the book you want is not available anywhere in the U.S. BUT be aware that shipping will probably cost as much as the book!
4) Check your local libraries. Once in awhile, I spot books written in Japanese at the library. If you live in California, Washington, Hawaii, New York City or Illinois (where there are large Japanese populations), you may have better luck. If your local library doesn’t carry Japanese books, maybe you could ask them to!
If you’re really lucky, you may find something on eBay or Craigslist. (eBay has a lot nowdays!)
6) Surprisingly, Amazon.com had a modest selection…Click HERE so see my suggestions.
7) Amazon.jp, of course, has ALL the books we could possibly want. I like to look on Amazon.jp’s Best Children’s Books List to see what books are new and top-rated. Beware, shipping can add up but it’s cheaper than flying to Japan ;)
8 )Find a Japanese Bookstore- If you know of any, let me know and I’ll add it to this list: Columbus, OH: Hana Gifts. California, Chicago, New Jersey: Mitsuwa New York, California, Washington: Kinokuniya New York, California, Hawaii: Book-Off
If I had all the money in the world, I would hop on the plane to Japan and come home with a suitcase full of books :) Do YOU have any other tips? Please share!