Trip to Kinokuniya
I’m back from my summer vacation.
I’ve spent the past couple of days cursing my Email, snail mail, and voice mail. All mail can just die. I’m so happy to be home!
As I mentioned in my last post about my bookbinding-focused trip to San Francisco, June 5th was set to be quite a day. I’ll be writing a series of posts detailing each day on my itinerary. And yes, each stop was cool.
Well, except Chinatown, but I’ll get to that later.
One of my stops was at Kinokuniya, a bookstore that specializes in Japanese texts. I got the idea after reading a book review of Handmade Bookbinding by Yo Yamazaki on Kathrin’s Paperama blog and became obsessed with finding the book.
Then I became obsessed with finding other bookbinding books written in Japanese. I spent one late night looking at bookbinding books on Amazon Japan. I couldn’t read any of it, but I drooooooooled over the pictures nonetheless. Yes, I have a problem.
Considering that I didn’t have a trip to Japan planned any time soon, I printed out the Amazon Japan pages (including the ISBN numbers) and headed to Kinokuniya. So we’re on the bus heading towards Japantown when the bus comes to a halt. After a few minutes, we decide to hop out of the bus and walk – if the traffic is so bad, surely we can walk faster than the bus, right?
Then we notice that the traffic lights are out. And the buildings have no power. And then we get to Japantown.
Aha! But the Kinokuniya Building is not locked – we sneak in. At this point, stores are still open and folks seem hopeful that the power is coming back soon. We decide to have lunch and return afterwards. After a super-yummy meal, we return to the building.
The power is still out. The building is open, but now stores are closing.
Crap. Crap. Crap.
Even though Kinokuniya has a closed sign posted outside their door, they haven’t pulled down the gate. I approach a friendly face. “I came all the way from Vermont just to buy these books from you. Can you help me?” A kind man takes the papers from me, then talks to a saleswoman in Japanese. She takes the papers and heads off into the stacks.
She returns with one book – the Yo Yamazaki book. I happily hand over my cash. I hug my book. I am happy.
Of course, I can’t read any of it now. Although I can figure out some of the text by the pictures, I’ll need the help of a friend to translate (thanks Jill!). I still don’t care – it’s the best book ever.
Kinokuniya wins hands-down for the best customer service I have received in a long time. You guys rock!
Just out of curiosity, I did some research and discovered the scoop on the blackout – it seems there was an underground PG&E equipment explosion. I guess that’s a good reason for closing Japantown early…