Monday, February 1, 2016

Annual General Meeting & Questionnaire

We are always trying to offer you a better service!

Please help us do so by filling out a questionnaire about your experiences at Book Ideas. 

You can copy the questionnaire below and send us your reply by email to

We will then prepare a summary of your comments and discuss it at our upcoming Annual General Meeting on Saturday, February 27 at 3pm. 

Please also feel free to join us at the meeting. We are open to any new ideas and appreciate any help in making Book Ideas more useful and relevant. 

Thank you very much for your time and input!


Questionnaire - 質問票

Please help us make Book Ideas a better service! Put an “x” next to your answers below. You can mark more than one answer to some questions! You may also write longer responses to any of the questions.
ブックアイディアのサービス向上のために、ご協力ください! 以下の質問に対して、該当する回答がありましたら「x」の印を付けて回答してください。一つの質問に対して複数の回答をすることも可能です。また、それぞれの質問に関して、提案やお考えなどありましたら記入お願いいたします。

Publicity/advertisement - 広報と宣伝 

How do you know about our opening days/times?
__ Email 電子メイル                      __ Flyers 広告チラシ 
__ Blog ブログ                            __ Word of mouth 口コミ・人づて   
__ Asahi Newspaper 朝日新聞
Do you find our blog useful?
__ Yes はい      __ No いいえ

Should there be more information on our blog?
If “yes”, what kind?
__ Yes :
__ No いいえ

Would Japanese translations of flyers and blog posts be useful to you? 
__ Yes はい     __ No いいえ

How often would you like to receive email reminders about Book Ideas openings?
__ Once a week 1週間に1度      __ Once a month 1ヶ月に1度
__ Other: 
その他 (ご希望を記入ください):

Attendance - ブックアイディアへの参加 

About how many times did you visit Book Ideas last year? 

About how many times would you visit Book Ideas if we were open more often?

What day/s of the week would you prefer to visit?
__ Monday 月曜日      __ Tuesday火曜日      __ Wednesday 水曜日
__ Thursday  木曜日   __ Friday 金曜日         __ Saturday 土曜日        
__ Sunday 日曜日

What time/s of the day would you prefer to visit? 
__ Morning 朝・午前           __ Lunchtime   
__ Afternoon 午後・夕方  __ Evening 
Activities at Book Ideas - ブックアイディアの活動 

Do you enjoy attending presentations?
__ Yes はい      __ No いいえ 

In what language/s would you like to hear presentations?
__ English 英語      __ Japanese日本語
__ Other: 

Are you interested in regular recycle sales?
__ Yes はい       __ No いいえ 

Are you interested in regular book exchanges?
__ Yes はい       __ No いいえ

Are you interested in renting the apartment and/or garden of Book Ideas (for teaching, parties, or other events)?
 __ Yes はい      __ No いいえ 

Would you like Book Ideas to offer other services? 
If “yes”, which services?
ブックアイディアが現在提供するサービス以外に、他のサービスを提供してもらいたいと思いますか? もし回答が「はい」でしたら、どのようなサービスを期待されるか、希望がありましたらお答えください。
__ Yes はい:
__ Children’s sessions 子供向きのセッション 
__ Arts and crafts アートとクラフ
__ Game time ゲーム     
__ Book presentations 本の紹介  
__ Baking パンや菓子のベーキング 
__ Presentations on seasonal festivals 季節折々のフェスティバルの紹介 
__ Other: 
         その他 (ご希望を記入ください):
__ No いいえ

Physical space and set-up - ブックアイディアのレイアウトと蔵書について 

Would you prefer the “library space” to be separate from the “socializing space”? 
__ Yes はい       __ No いいえ

If we add more books to the collection, what kind of books would you be most interested to check out? 
__ English adult fiction 英語のフィクション 
__ Nature books 自然環境分野の本
__ Books from/about other countries 外国の本や外国の事情に関する本
__ Education 教育分野の本   
__ Psychology 心理学分野の本             
__ Books in German ドイツ語の本 
__ Other:
     その他 (ご希望を記入ください)

Thank you!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Next Book Ideas Openings: January 31 - March 20, 2016

2016 has already gotten off to an exciting start...

Share your first impressions of the new year at our next openings on:

Sunday, January 3
Saturday, February 6
Sunday, February 14
Saturday, February 20
Saturday, February 27 
with Annual General Meeting at 3pm
Sunday, March 6
Saturday, March 12
Sunday, March 20 
with Recycle Sale

1月:  31日 (日)
2月:: 6日 (土), 14日 (日), 20日 (土), 27日 (土)
3月:  6日 (日), 12日 (土), 20日 (日),午前10時から午後5時まで

Sunday, January 17, 2016

New Treasures

We have added over 100 titles to the collection since our last official book list update. There are now 2,777 books, magazines, games, DVDs and more available for checkout!

The list is organized alphabetically by author and by category. We have also added several new categories, including:

- Disability
- Fairytales and Folklore
- Non-fiction
- Poetry
- Religion, Spirituality, Philosophy

Please click on the link called "Updated January 16, 2016" under "Complete Book List" on the right-hand side of the screen to browse the collection. We will be updating the list regularly.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Book Ideas Openings in 2016

Happy New Year! 

Thank you for your support and friendship in the year 2015.  

Now that our winter break is over, we will be open as usual from 10am to 5pm on weekends, alternating between Saturdays and Sundays.

Our next openings are on:

Saturday, January 9, 2016
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Saturday, January 23, 2016

1:  9 (), 17 (), 23 (), 午前10時から午後5時まで

Please note the special events planned for the winter/early spring:

Annual General Meeting: tentatively scheduled for Saturday, February 24 at 3pm
Recycle Sale with books and more!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Last Book Ideas openings before Winter Break!

This Sunday, November 15, we had a lovely day at Book Ideas. The sun came out and visitors were able to sit in the garden! 

Please note that Book Ideas will only be open two more times before we close for Winter Break. These openings will be on: 

Saturday, November 21, 2015
Sunday, November 29, 2015 - *the first of Advent*

Our first opening after Winter Break will be on 
Saturday, January 9, 2016

Book Ideas might be closed, but you can still enjoy wintertime and the holiday season with these events in Tokyo!

- International Festival at TUFS University 
(Gaigosai Festival) in Fuchu, from Thursday, November 19 to Monday, November 23
During the Gaigosai Festival, students set up booths in the central plaza of the campus and serve unique dishes from their area of language and cultural study. Attracted by savory smells from the booths, many local residents also visit the plaza, and many others, including embassy staff members and foreign residents in Japan, also drop by. The festival is thus open to outside guests to come and enjoy foods they can rarely enjoy elsewhere.

- Advent Bazaar at the Kreuzkirche Gotanda (German Protestant Church) on Saturday, November 28 from 1pm
Throughout the year, many helpers have provided industriously for andcrafted goods like Christmas ornaments, cards, gifts and Christmas wreaths. Candles, Stollen and gifts of many kinds are for sale. Ginger bread and Marzipan have been imported directly from Germany. Families have donated homemade cakes and cookies for our guests to enjoy. Our youth bakes fresh waffles, we serve mulled wine, warm soup, bratwurst - the typical scent of a Christmas market in Germany.

- Winterfest at the American School in Japan in Chofu on Saturday, December 5, from 10am to 3pm

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Next Book Ideas Openings, November 2015

 Sunday, November 1, 10am-5pm,
Saturday, November 7, 10am-5pm
Sunday, November 15, 10am- 5pm
Saturday, November 21, 10am-5pm
Sunday, November 29, 10am-5pm 

11月1日 (日), 7日 (土), 15 (日), 21 (土), 29 (日)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

"The Fork in the Road": an article about Book Ideas in the AFWJ Journal

In October we published the article "The Fork in the Road" in the Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese (AFWJ) Journal. We're sharing it here for anyone interested in reading about how Book Ideas started, how it has developed over time, and our thoughts about its future. It might also give our members, users, and friends an answer to the question, "why are we doing this?!

The Fork in the Road
Book Ideas: a community library of foreign books and future book café?

We’ve been on the road for nine whole years: me, the many boxes of books that I’ve moved from location to location on a handcart, and Book Ideas.

I first wrote about Book Ideas for the AFWJ Journal in November 2006, documenting the beginning of our journey; and again later, in the context of “neighborhood involvement”, the topic of the April 2013 journal, under the title, “If it wasn’t for my Neighbors in Fuchu”. All this time, my mobile library has been an opportunity to bring books collected from all over the world to curious readers; to connect neighbors and make friends, to share experiences from home and abroad; and to find my own feet in Tokyo.

Now, all of these books finally have a permanent home. This summer Book Ideas moved into a rented space in Fuchu with a lease for exactly three years.

A Work in Progress

After dreaming about this moment almost since the beginning of Book Ideas, it was an incredible pleasure to unpack my books; to decide on which shelf, on which wall, under which category to group each one, and to bring order to the garden around the house. And it is a great relief not to have to unpack, sort, display, and repack everything at the end of the day, especially after a long week at my school.

Although I am only renting the ground floor of the house, both the one-room apartment and the garden are beautifully large by Tokyo standards. While the inside was good to go after some cleaning, the garden poses an ongoing challenge. Not only because I’m not exactly a gardening expert, but also because I am working largely with found and re-purposed objects: like discarded flower pots, or stones and pebbles that are transformed into walkways. To a visitor, it might look not so much like a work in progress as a full-blown construction site!

Construction will continue when my husband finds time between overseas assignments to build his “vinyl house”, the greenhouse in which he plans to raise cacti from seed. It’s his own parallel dream to my book library/café. In a way, the new Book Ideas is a joint project between us...and a celebration of our thirty years of marriage in August.

Hard Questions

The work I’ve been doing at our new location leaves me exhausted and happy. But I am no longer situated in the public space of the Bunka Center, where we often received “accidental” visitors. We are less visible and will have to work harder to inform people about our location and opening hours. People might no longer feel comfortable to casually wander in, take a look, and leave again after satisfying their curiosity (and maybe seeing what on earth this foreigner is doing here!). And there is less space for tables where kids can play board games or with dolls, where their parents can sit together to chat, less space for larger groups to gather when we host presentations, and for quiet reading corners.

But while I trust that all these issues can be sorted out over time with the help of advertisement and creative use of space, the bigger question has become: what is Book Ideas? Will we remain a city-registered group that offers reading material for free? In time, will I expand into to a coffeehouse business?

The answer to the last two questions is “yes”, and the challenge really lies in combining the two in practice. I’d like to remain being a community service operation where visitors can wander in just to browse without any obligations, but also to eventually sell coffee and baked goods for those with a sweet tooth to enjoy while reading.

The luxury of books

It might be hard to understand that I’m paying rent for the space, but not charging for the service. But the parameters of the project are clear. Our contract is limited to three years and not renewable. After that, we can take stock and decide whether to continue, perhaps in another space. The costs have been calculated and deemed bearable for us, with two wage earners in the family and an adult child whom we no longer have to support financially, and well worth the joy and satisfaction of seeing a dream realized.

I have told the Book Ideas regulars that I compare this undertaking with booking a trip around the world, or buying a fancy car, or with any other luxury that some of us do afford. It just so happens that for me, the urge to travel has pretty much been satisfied and neither diamonds nor a car can compare with the pleasure of leafing through a copy of The Gingerbread Man from the 1950s, when I grew up. Or of trying to imagine the person who owned it before me, or, best of all, to share it with a visitor who can treasure it in their own particular way.

For Visitors: Where, When, Why?

Book Ideas is located at Momijigaoka 1-39-4, just off Hitomi Kaido Road. It’s a five-minute walk from Tama Station on the Seibu-Tamagawa Line. For the time being, we’re open between 10am and 5pm, once a week on weekends, alternating between Saturday and Sundays. Our blog, is updated regularly with news about openings and special events. You’ll also find photos, more information about our history and location, as well as a comprehensive list of our books.

Book Ideas is a space for discovery and special encounters. We have books, old and new, in every imaginable size, on many different topics and in different languages. I’m especially proud of our large selection of children’s books! And I’d like to think that Book Ideas is for everyone, whether you’re a bookworm, a conversationalist, or a parent with kids who’ve exhausted the library at home or school; whether you’re looking for a peaceful garden in which to read and drink coffee or are just someone who is curious about other people, countries, and lifestyles.

by Birgit Zorb-Serizawa; edited by Mine Serizawa, co-founder of Book Ideas