Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Cheer & New Year 2017

Thank you to everyone who attended our "Christmas Cheer" event on Friday, December 23!

Every year we celebrate German Christmas with a real tree, ornaments and decorations, and traditional treats. It was a great opportunity to get together and learn more about the holiday and each other.

Book Ideas is now closed for Winter Break.

Our first opening after the break will be on Saturday, January 7, 2017
The first Crafting Circle after the break will be on Wednesday, January 11, 2017

We wish all our users a Happy New Year and a peaceful start to 2017!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Upcoming Events & Openings: December 2016

Openings & Events

Sunday, December 4, 10am-5pm
Saturday, December 10, 10am-5pm 
Holiday Ornaments 
with Naoko Kikuchi at 3pm

Sunday, December 18, 10am-5pm 
Friday, December 23, 10am-5pm 
Christmas Cheer 
Our annual all-day holiday celebration 

Closed for Winter Break until Saturday, January 7, 2017 

Wednesday Crafting Circle 
December 7, December 14 and December 21, 10am-12pm
Closed for Winter Break until Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Note: Change to schedule of openings & Events of interest

Book Ideas will not be open on Saturday, November 26 as announced!
Instead, we will be open on Sunday, November 27 from 10am-5pm

We'd also like to share two events that might be of interest to our users:

The German church in Gotanda will hold its annual "Adventsbasar" on Saturday, November 26 from 1pm (http://www.kreuzkirche-tokyo.jp/basar-e.html)

The American School in Japan will hold its annual "Winterfest" on Saturday, December 3 from 10am-3pm

Monday, November 7, 2016

Upcoming Events & Openings: November 2016

Sunday, November 6 

Saturday, November 12

Sunday, November 20 

Holiday wreath-making 
with Hiroko Maekawa at 3pm 

Saturday, November 26 

Wednesday, November 16, 
November 23 and November 30 

Crafting Circle

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

"Crafting Circle": introducing a new service at Book Ideas

Crafting Circle
Sewing, knitting, stitching, 
crafting and chatting in English

From November 16, 2016
Every Wednesday morning from 10am-12pm

Bring along your craft project
Work in our comfortable space
Enjoy the company of others
Join in on the conversation--in English!

You do not need to join the group or attend regularly. There is no fee, but participants are asked to buy a drink.

At the 8th Annual General Meeting in February 2016 many of you used the questionnaire to give me feedback about Book Ideas: how you feel about the changes that have taken place since we started; your suggestions for what services we could provide in the future; and who we could “become” as an organization. 

For many years Book Ideas has been a neighborhood institution offering a place to check out books and chat in English. At our location in the Momijigaoka Bunka Center people felt comfortable coming in for a look, a chat, even sitting down and reading or letting the kids play, all on their way to the “regular” Japanese library next door. That feeling of a low-commitment, easily accessible public space has changed since we moved into our rented premises, which are tucked away in a side street off Hitomi Kaido. Now, a visit to Book Ideas requires more of an effort and is no longer a little side trip on the way to somewhere else.

Our clientele at the Bunka Center was very diverse. Sometimes unaccompanied kids attracted by our toys and games would peek in; young parents with young children stopped by; some college-aged students and many middle-aged women were curious about us; while us more “mature” women, with a sprinkling of men of all ages, constituted most of our customers. There were casual visitors who just came for the books and maybe a chat with me, but over time a group of regulars developed and many of us got to know each other personally. Since we moved to the new premises we seem to have kept many of those regulars, while the others are mostly staying away. And the occasional newcomer does still find their way to Book Ideas but the numbers are going down. 

Reflecting on these facts and your feedback from the questionnaire has inspired us to expand our services at Book Ideas. Every weekend will still be “open house” where anyone can come to talk, read, and check out books. We will still have monthly presentations on a variety of topics. However, in addition to these services, we are introducing new offerings for various age and interest groups!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Upcoming Events & Openings: October & November 2016

Saturday, October 15, 10am-5pm

Sunday, October 23, 10am-5pm

Sunday, October 30, 10am-5pm
Halloween! at 3pm
Story-reading with Becky 
& Halloween crafts 

Sunday, November 6, 10am-5pm 

Saturday, November 12, 10am-5pm

Sunday, November 20, 10am-5pm 
Holiday wreath-making 
with Hiroko Maekawa at 3pm

Saturday, November 26, 10am-5pm

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Faroe Islands": a talk with Sunnvá Asano on Saturday, October 1

Do you know where the Faroe Islands are?

Or what language Faroese people speak?

For an answer to these questions and many more, join us on
Saturday, October 1 at 3pm
for Sunnvá Asano's talk about the place where she was born and raised!

Upcoming Events & Openings: October 2016

Saturday, October 1, 10am-5pm 
"Faroe Islands": a talk with Sunnva Asano at 3pm 

Sunday, October 9, 10am-5pm 

Saturday, October 15, 10am-5pm 

Sunday, October 23, 10am-5pm 

Sunday, October 30, 10am-5pm 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Special Event: Celebrating "10 Years of Book Ideas" on Sunday, September 24

It has been 10 years since we first started Book Ideas in August 2006! 

We'd like to invite members old and new to join us for a "birthday" celebration on:

Sunday, September 25, 10am-5pm 
9月25日 (日) 午前10時から午後5時まで 
Rain or shine!

- BBQ sausages 
- Waffles and rice-cooker cake
- Story reading 
- Game corner 
- And, of course, coffee, tea, books and conversation!

Charges apply for food

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"Women Traveling Solo": a talk with Kanzaki-san on Sunday, September 18

Where in the world has Kanzaki-san not traveled...?! 
Join us at Book Ideas on:

Sunday, September 18 at 3pm
"Women Traveling Solo": a talk with Kanzaki-san

Come to hear about Kanzaki-san's interesting experiences and tips for traveling the world.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

"Iraq": a talk with Haider Reda on Saturday, September 10

Join us on Saturday, September 10 at 3pm
for a fascinating talk about a country and its people
and a personal account of growing up in

"Iraq": with Haider Reda

Friday, September 2, 2016

Book Ideas opening on Sunday, September 4: new/old books from Germany

This weekend we will be open as usual from 10am to 5pm. We’ll be sharing a special delivery: a big box full of books shipped from Germany!

These are mostly books in English, including novels, non-fiction books, and Marvel comic books.

Updated Schedule of Events: August & September

We're back!
Join us at the following events in August and September. Please note the changes we've made to the schedule.

 9月4日 (日) 9月10日 (土) 9月18日 (日) 9月25日 (日)

 Sunday, September 4  
New/old books from Germany

Saturday, September 10 
"Iraq": a talk with Haidar Reda 

Sunday, September 18  
"Women Traveling Solo": a talk with Kanzaki-san

Sunday, September 25 
Special event celebrating "10 Years of Book Ideas"

Please note: the talk by Sunnva Asano about the Faroe Islands will be rescheduled for October

Monday, May 30, 2016

Book Ideas now on Summer Break 2016

We will be open again from mid-August! 

Keep an eye on our blog for updates about special events and presentations following the break.

Image via crosswickslibrary.wordpress.com

"Childhood in the GDR": Presentation on Saturday, May 28

On Saturday, May 28, Book Ideas hosted the presentation, "Childhood in the GDR".

A big thank you to Reiner Büter, whose autobiographical talk about growing up in former East Germany was both informative and humorous. 

For almost two hours, Mr. Büter made history come alive for us. And with a group of eighteen attendees, our space was almost at maximum capacity!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Updates from Book Ideas: new set-up & events before summer break

We’ve done some “spring cleaning” at Book Ideas and have a few updates to share with you. 

1. New set-up! We now have a separate area for socializing and reading, and another for quietly browsing books.

The "common room"
Peaceful browsing

2. We will have two more openings before our summer break. If you’d like to return books before we close, especially overdue books, please bring them on:

  • Sunday, May 8
    5月8日 (日) 午前10時から午後5時まで 
  • Saturday, May 28, with a special presentation at 3pm
    “Childhood in the GDR”: a talk about growing up in former East Germany by Reiner Büter
    5月28日(土)午前10時から午後5時まで 午後3時
    『東ドイツで育った私』-ライナ ブータ 
You can also drop off the books anytime in the return box on the back veranda of Book Ideas. I will be away from May 29, so please do not leave any books there in my absence.

Please continue to check the blog for updates on dates and events. 

And don’t worry: Book Ideas will be back from vacation in the middle of August!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Book Ideas opening on Saturday, April 30

Please join us at the next Book Ideas opening this coming Saturday, April 30! We will be open from 10am to 5pm as usual.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Book Ideas opening on Sunday, April 24

Thanks to everyone who came to see the very talented Lily and her "springtime storytelling" session last Saturday, April 16. Kids and adults alike enjoyed listening to her read aloud!

Please join us at the next Book Ideas opening this coming Sunday, April 24. We will be open from 10am to 5pm as usual. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Introducing our "Mission Statement"

We've created a mission statement to describe our identity as "Book Ideas", to summarize the services we offer, and to clarify our goals and intentions. 

Please read on...and feel free to share!

Image via Shutterstock

In all of the countries my family has lived in and traveled to, we've collected books. 

After settling in Fuchu, Japan in 2004, my daughter and I held our first Book Ideas event in the Momijigaoka Bunka Center in August 2006 as a way to share our books with the public. Since July 2015, Book Ideas has a permanent home at Momijigaoka 1-38-9. 

It can be difficult to answer the question, “what is Book Ideas?” That’s because Book Ideas “is” many different things. Here are just a few examples: 

A library with nearly 3,000 books spanning a wide variety of genres 
- A place in which to relax and read 
- A place to discuss books and discover new titles 
- A place to attend book talks 
- A place to check out items 

An event space where we organize and host an unusual lineup of activities
- Including presentations on topics ranging from “South Sudan” to “Childhood in the GDR”, seasonal celebrations such as Easter egg painting and Halloween pumpkin carving, activities and crafts, offbeat events and events specially intended for target audiences, such as children’s sessions. 

A place for socializing, meeting new people, and catching up with friends!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Springtime storytelling on Saturday, April 16

Thank you to everyone who attended Vera Markert's interesting and important talk about feminism, women, and the Catholic Church last Saturday, April 9!

Next weekend on Saturday, April 16 we are welcoming Lily to Book Ideas for 

"Spring Tales"
A storytelling session at 3pm

Illustration by Arnold Lobel
We will be open from 10am to 5pm as usual

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

"Women in the Catholic Church": presentation on Saturday, April 9

Join us at Book Ideas this Saturday, April 9 at 3pm for a presentation! 

Special guest Vera Markert will give a talk about

"Women in the Catholic Church"

We will be open from 10am to 5pm as usual

Friday, April 1, 2016

Book Ideas Opening on Saturday, April 2

Come by to chat and browse, drink a cup of coffee, or admire the spring bloom! 

We will be open from 10am to 5pm as usual

Monday, March 28, 2016

Next Book Ideas Openings: April-August 2016

Please see below for our complete schedule of openings and events in spring/summer 2016!

"Spring Books" by Rebecca Cobb

Saturday, April 2 

Saturday, April 9 
Women in the Catholic Church”: 
a talk by Vera Markert at 3pm 

Saturday, April 16 
Spring Tales”: storytelling with Lily at 3pm 

Sunday, April 24 

Saturday, April 30 

Sunday, May 8 

Saturday, May 28 
"Childhood in the GDR": 
a talk about growing up in former East Germany 
by Reiner Büter at 3pm 

Book Ideas will be closed for summer vacation from the end of May until mid-August

4月: 2日 (土), 9日 (土) 16日 (土), 24日 (日), 30日 (土) 
5月: 8日 (日), 28日 (土) 午前10時から午後5時まで

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easter Egg Painting on Sunday, March 27

Join us at 3pm this coming Sunday for our annual Easter egg painting event. 

Eggs will be provided. Anyone can come to paint, decorate, and dye!

We will be open from 3pm until late

Monday, March 21, 2016

Updated Checkout Procedure

We have recently updated our checkout procedure. Read on for information about how long you can keep books, where and how to return them, and what to do if your items are overdue! 

The "Checkout Procedure" will also be permanently accessible on the blog under the "Important Pages" column on the bottom right-hand side of the screen.

Checkout Procedure - 本等を借りる手順の説明 

As of January 16, 2016, Book Ideas has around 2,777 titles available for checkout. 


At first checkout you must register in our sign-up book. This serves two purposes: with your permission you are added to our mailing list, enabling me to send you announcements about our opening dates. Secondly, I can contact you in case a book is not returned.


As of the 8th Annual General Meeting on February 27, 2016, the following changes are in effect. 
  • Materials may be borrowed for up to six months
  • If the item has not been returned after this time, users must contact Birgit by phone or email! 
  • Users are asked to return the materials to Book Ideas on an opening day OR 
  • to the return box on the veranda at the side of house at any time OR
  • to Birgit’s apartment, either in the mailbox or at the door
Thank you!

"Mottainai" with Book Ideas

On Sunday, March 20 we held our very first Recycle Event!

We are glad that many well-loved, secondhand items and books found new homes.

Please keep checking the blog for updates on the date of our next Recycle Event.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Next Book Ideas Openings: March and April, 2016

We are starting the spring with a series of special events and presentations!

Please join us on the following dates:

Sunday, March 20
Special Spring Recycle Event
*All day, rain or shine

Sunday, March 27
Easter egg painting at 3pm
*Open from 3pm until late

Saturday, April 2

Saturday, April 9
Women in the Catholic Church”: 
a talk by Vera Markert at 3pm 

Saturday, April 16
Spring Tales”: storytelling with Lily at 3pm

3: rain or shine 20(), 27()
4: 2日 (), 9日 () 16日 (),

Friday, March 11, 2016

Minutes of 8th Annual General Meeting on February 27, 2016

Thank you for supporting us during yet another year of Book Ideas! And thank you to everyone who attended the 8th Annual General Meeting and/or provided us with feedback about our service. Please read on for a summary of our discussion at the meeting. 

The Minutes will also be permanently accessible on the blog under the "Important Pages" column on the bottom right-hand side of the screen. 


Minutes of the 8th Book Ideas Annual General Meeting February 27, 2016

Report on the last 3.5 years of operation
Last meeting on 8/25/12 

Present: 6 members, 3 users, 1 visitor 

- Contrary to past years, neither agenda nor “Suggestions for Feedback” form sent out 
- A questionnaire hand-delivered to 14 and sent by mail to 3 members, emailed to all users, and posted on bookideasfuchu.blogspot.com. 16 filled-out questionnaires received 
- All members, users and presenters thanked for supporting Book Ideas, displaying and handing out our flyers, sharing snacks and helping in various other ways. Particular thanks to: Masako Kikuchi for always being there, making newcomers feel welcome, explaining Book Ideas in Japanese, and spreading the word among her many contacts; Mine Serizawa for maintaining our blog and brainstorming about the new Book Ideas; Hiroko Maekawa for “Otsuchi: Before & After”, Dorna for “Inner Mongolia”, Masako Kikuchi for “On a Recent Trip to Israel”, Yumi Sakamoto for “Tonga”, Ros Lam for “Australia”, Becky Kikuchi for “Halloween Stories”, and Toshi Serizawa for “South Sudan” 

Opening dates and times; venue

- Open a total of 108 times since Book Ideas started on August 19, 2006 
- Open only 12 times between August 25, 2012 and July 11, 2015, mostly on Saturdays from 10am to 5pm 
- Already open 26 times since opening at the new location on July 11, 2015 
- Usually held at Momijigaoka Bunka Center and occasionally in our apartment or community room of the apartment building at Momijigaoka 2-8-13. Since July 2016 held in the new rented space 
- Room at the Bunka Center a good choice because of size and location next to library (incidental visitors) 
- At new place hardly any set-up, no pressure to close on time, more library items. However, so far hardly any incidental visitors 

Visitors; books checked out 

- Bunka Center: visitors/opening, 20-40; items checked out, 13-42 by 5-13 people; incidental visitors: many 
- New place: visitors/opening, 2-12; items checked out, 2-17 by 2-8 people; incidental visitors: very few 
- No limit to number of items that can be checked out. Usually people return items on time but there are 13 books checked out since 2007-2009 that are presumably lost. Another 10 books are overdue; individual reminder mails have been sent out 
- English children's books still the most popular items Members/users; mailing list; blog 
- 17 members since 2011: 11 Japanese, 6 foreigners; 14 Fuchu residents, 1 from Saitama, 1 from Chofu, 1 from Koganei 
- Definition of “user”: anyone entering name and contact details in sign-up book when checking out an item for the first time. Only one person per family is asked to register 
- Currently 242 users. 3 asked to be removed and several have been removed by me. 
- Contacts deleted when email bounces back 3 times and no change of address is received
- Some visitors come once to explore, others come for a chat or only to borrow items. Some appreciate advice on books, especially regarding difficulty and level of English 
- Flyers cannot be attached to messages sent to cell phones. A blog was created in 2007 as an alternative resource to check for updates 
- Book titles can be searched via link on the blog 
- Interest in blog remains low 

Book Exchange 

- Success in first year, but discontinued because items remained at closing time Lending by sending 
- Implemented in 2012, this service enables users to receive books by mail and pay for postage on delivery 
- Only one person in Kanagawa used this service 
- It has not been advertised since then 

Summary of filled-out questionnaires 

- Most people are informed about Book Ideas through email 
- Most respondents prefer to receive mail once a month 
- Blog not widely accessed 
- No clear preference for Japanese translations of information

- Most people come more than once or visit regularly 
- Wide range of answers for how many times people would visit if Book Ideas were open more often 
- Most popular days: Saturday and Sunday 
- Most popular time of day: afternoon. Morning, lunchtime, evening chosen as well

Activities/additional services 
- Large majority enjoys presentations 
- Majority prefers presentations in English. Some prefer presentations in Japanese 
- Half of respondents for regularly-held recycle sales, half against 
- Slight majority for regular book exchanges 
- Majority interested in renting apartment and/or garden for personal events 
- Majority favors additional services: “baking” favorite, followed by “arts & crafts” and “presentations”. All other services also mentioned at least once 

Physical space; book collections 
- Nearly half of respondents would prefer to separate library space from socializing space 
- Top pick for kind of books to add to library: books from/about other countries 

Ideas for additional activities 
- Presentations: “Female Professionals in the Catholic Church”, “Growing up in Former East Germany”, “Kyrgyzstan”, “Faeroe Island”, “Growing up in Moscow” - Celebrations: Easter (egg painting), 4th of July (BBQ), Halloween (story reading/telling, pumpkin carving), Thanksgiving (sharing meal), Advent (Advent wreath, Santa Claus, St. Lucia, Christmas (ornaments), Carnival 
- Children’s sessions: reading aloud, acting out stories with handmade stick figures/puppets
- Blog: “Book tips” by Book Ideas users 
- Recycle event 
- Book Exchange 
- “Pop-up store”: offering retail space to external vendors? 
- Newsletter: News about various services in neighborhood 

Open discussion 

Who should be our target audience? 
- People from the neighborhood 
- People from anywhere interested in presentations, celebrations, specific books 
- Specific groups, e.g. AFWJ members, children 

How to encourage attendance of young(er) parents and children? 
- Separate children's and adults’ time 

How to encourage more users and new visitors to attend? 
- Presentations that catch people's attention 
- Organize events for target audience 
- Occasionally use the Bunka Center 

Conflicting objectives 
- Should we maintain current atmosphere and relationships (community feeling) or expand pool of users? 

Contact other community organizations 
- e.g. Sumire kai, represented by Shiba-san

Monday, February 22, 2016

Openings & Events at Book Ideas, February-March 2016

Book Ideas will be open on:   

Saturday, February 27 with Annual General Meeting at 3pm 
Sunday, March 6 
Saturday, March 12 

Please note this change in our schedule!

Saturday, March 19 with Recycle Event from 10am-5pm 

OR Sunday, March 20 in case of rain   

2月: 27日 (土) 

3月:  6日 (日), 12日 (土) 

Change! 19日 (土), 午前10時から午後5時までOR 20日 (日) in case of rain 

* Upcoming special events *

- Annual General Meeting on Saturday, February 27 at 3pm. Everyone is invited to attend. Hear about our plans for the future and give us your input! 

- Recycle Sale on Saturday, March 19 from 10am-5pm OR Sunday, March 20 in case of rain

- Annual flea market at the Tokyo Union Church in Omotesando. A must for lovers of books and clothing. http://www.tokyounion.org/wf-market 

Thursday, March 10, 4pm-6pm
Friday, March 11, 10am-5pm 
Saturday, March 12, 10am-12pm