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, bookideasfuchu@blogspot.com 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

Monday, October 12, 2015

Halloween Read-A-Loud on Sunday, October 25, 2015

Please expect the following changes to our schedule!

Book Ideas will next be open on:
Saturday, October 17, 10am-5pm, instead of Sunday, the 18th
Sunday, October 25, 10am-5pm, instead of Saturday, the 24th

We're also happy to inform you that Becky Kikuchi will read aloud from Halloween books on Sunday, October 25 at 3pm!

1017 () 1025 () 111 () 午前10時から午後5時まで

Friday, October 2, 2015

"Spook" Ideas: Books for Halloween on Sunday, October 4, 2015

Book Ideas will be open this Sunday, October 4 from 10am to 5pm. Start looking forward to Halloween with our selection of holiday books!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Next Book Ideas Openings, September-November 2015

Saturday, September 26, 10am-5pm
Sunday, October 4, 10am-5pm
Saturday, October 10: CLOSED
"Oktoberfest" at the German School in Yokohama (DSTY)
All are invited to attend!
Sunday, October 18, 10am-5pm
Saturday, October 24, 10am-5pm
Sunday, November 1, 10am-5pm: HALLOWEEN

9月26日 (土) 10月4日 (日) 10月18日 (日) 10月24日 (土)
11月1日 (日) 午前10時から午後5時まで

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Book Ideas in Cactus Heaven on Saturday, September 12, 2015

Toshi will (hopefully!) finish setting up his cactus greenhouse in the Book Ideas garden this Saturday, September 12. Come by to check out the construction!

Book Ideas will also be open inside as usual from 10am to 5pm.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Explore South Sudan with Book Ideas on Saturday, August 29, 2015

Autumn is slowly returning to Tokyo! And Book Ideas will be open again this Saturday at our new location at Momijigaoka 1-38-9, between 10am and 5pm.

At 3pm, Toshi will talk about his recent travels and work on the topic of "Peace-building in the Republic of South Sudan".

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Book Ideas goes to Australia on Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dear Friends,

This seems to be the hottest summer in Tokyo yet...

Join us for conversation, books, and air-conditioning at Book Ideas this Sunday, August 9 at Momijigaoka 2-38-9, any time between 10am and 5pm.

On Sunday we will also welcome a special guest: our friend Ros, who is visiting from Australia. She is baking special "anzac" cookies for us, and can talk and answer questions about life "down under"!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Next Book Ideas Openings, July-August 2015

Posters, a stone walkway, rearranged bookshelves: our new space is taking shape! At our last opening on Sunday, July 19 we enjoyed the company of visitors who came to chat and browse through books.

In the near future we plan to be open every weekend at Momijigaoka 1-39-4, alternating between Saturdays and Sundays.

Our next openings will be on:

Saturday, July 25, 10am - 5pm
Sunday, August 9, 10am - 5pm
Saturday, August 15, 10am - 5pm
Sunday, August 23, 10am - 5pm
Saturday, August 29, 10am - 5pm

725 ()  89 ()  815()  823 ()  829 () 午前10時から午後5時まで

Please join us in our shady garden during these hot summer days!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Book Ideas on Sunday, July 19 and Saturday, July 25, 2015

Last Saturday, July 11, we held our opening event at the new, permanent location of Book Ideas at Momijigaoka 1-39-4.

The atmosphere was joyful and familiar. It was wonderful to spend time with our guests, whether sitting under a shady tree outside or chatting over coffee and cake inside. Thank you all so much for giving us your company, your well-wishes, and your support, now and in the past.

If you were unable to attend the opening or would like to spend some more time looking at books, exploring the location or meeting up with friends, we will be open on

Sunday, July 19, from 10am to 5pm and on
Saturday, July 25, from 10am to 5pm.  

We hope you understand that we are still in the process of moving in and organizing the space! As Book Ideas continues to take shape, please don't hesitate to communicate your ideas and wishes for the future.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Housewarming Party on Saturday, July 11, 2015

Dear Book Ideas members and users,

It's official!

We have a permanent home for Book Ideas and will be moving in over the months to come.

Join us on Saturday, July 11 for our first opening:

Come by any time between 10am and 5pm to get to know our new location and meet up with friends, old and new.

At 3pm we will serve coffee and cake. 

Our new address is: 

Momijigaoka 1-39-4
Fuchu-shi, Tokyo 183-0004

Thank you to Connie Koyama for designing our map!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Change Is Coming!

Introducing what might be the new, permanent home of Book Ideas

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Easter Egg Painting at Book Ideas on Saturday, April 4, 2015

It’s never too early to start looking forward to cherry blossoms, warmer weather, and: 

Our annual Easter egg painting event
from 3pm at Momijigaoka 2-8-13-605!

04月04日 (土) 午前10時から午後5時まで
復活祭の卵の色づけ午後 3

Book Ideas will be open for book lending and conversation from 10am to 5pm as usual. 

For a photo of the building, please scroll down the page. The post from Saturday, November 1, 2014 has a photo of the building. If you need additional information, please email or call me.