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SNOW SHOVELING Shuichi Nakamura talks about “Dating Bookstore” and his influence from Haruki Murakami



A circle of friends connected by gootouchi! The “FIST BUMP” corner of the radio program “GRAND MARQUEE” features people who live and enjoy Tokyo in a relay format.

On June 26, Shuichi Nakamura of SNOW SHOVELING, a bookstore in Fukazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo! He is a freelance graphic designer. We asked him about why he opened the bookstore while working as a freelance graphic designer, how he enjoys SNOW SHOVELING, which calls itself a “dating bookstore,” and what he is glad about living in two locations.

From Graphic Designer to Bookstore

Celeina (MC): First of all, let me give you a brief profile: I was born in 1976. After working as a freelance graphic designer, in September 2012 she opened “SNOW SHOVELING,” a bookstore where she personally selects and arranges books. He has been organizing various projects and events based on the concept of “a space to enjoy chance encounters with books, things, and people, a self-proclaimed encounter bookstore. Crowdfunding “I’ll start a mobile bookstore, a bookstore “like a hideout” will come to your town “like a circus”! (~August 31, 2023).

Takano (MC): What do you mean by “encounter bookstore”?

Nakamura: To be serious, it means that books and people meet. There are some hints.

Takano: Not only books and people meet, but also people and people meet.

Nakamura: That is what we are focusing on.

Takano: I see. The T-shirt you are wearing is very nice, isn’t it?

Celeina: “We Are The Book People. We are the book people.

Nakamura: It’s a bit of a “Taxi Driver” homage.

Celeina: Do you also like movies?

Nakamura: Yes, I do.

Celeina: By the way, when you watch a movie, if there is an original story, do you read the book first? Do you watch the movie?

Nakamura: From what is there.

Celeina: I see!

Nakamura: Sometimes the book comes first, and sometimes the movie comes first. However, I try not to watch the original works that I like.

Takano: Why is that?

Nakamura: I have a history of being hurt in various ways (laughs).

Takano: I think I understand a little. I like novels so much that I have a fixed image of them.

Nakamura: Because I become the director.

Takano: I understand. I even imagine the faces of the characters.

Celeina: As I mentioned in my profile earlier, it has been 11 years since you opened “SNOW SHOVELING”.

Nakamura: That’s right.

Celeina: Why did you open a bookstore while you were working as a freelance graphic designer?

Nakamura: I simply wanted to send out my own message. Design work is a job of receiving orders, and I felt that I had reached my limit in satisfying my clients. I thought that if I could create my own place, release 100% of myself, and get together with people who can feel it, I would simply be happier.

Celeina: You want to hear directly from the customers at the bookstore, don’t you?

Nakamura: Yes, that’s right. It is interesting to have that kind of live experience when you are doing it.

Celeina: It may be similar to the feeling of artists wanting to perform directly in front of the audience.

Nakamura: I am not an artist, so I don’t know, but you may be right.

A bookstore where you can meet people as well as books

Celeina: I have only seen pictures of SNOW SHOVELING, but it looks very stylish. The antique furniture and ……, these are used books, right?

Nakamura: It is a mixture of old and new books.

Takano: It looks a bit like your study, Nakamura-san.

Nakamura: When I think about it, yes. I try not to make it look like a store. I try to make it feel like you are in someone’s room or study.

Takano: When you go to SNOW SHOVELING, you are likely to have chance encounters with books. I feel that people who like the same books can get close to each other.

Nakamura: I wanted to create such a place. When you are on the train and see someone reading a book you like, don’t you want to talk to them?

Celeina: I understand! I’m too embarrassed to cover my book, but I understand that fantasy (laughs).

Nakamura: If I did that on the Yamanote Line, it would be embarrassing or possibly hurtful. I think that if I create my own place and create an atmosphere where it is okay to do such things, something like a small miracle will happen, and that is why I am running this kind of store.

Celeina: I go to SNOW SHOVELING, take off the book cover, and read a book (laughs).

Takano: And I’m sure they’ll say, “I’m reading this book!” and that’s how all kinds of interactions are born.

Nakamura: If the air is safe and secure, I think it can be done. If you take away the fear of being ignored.

Celeina: By the way, can you do it on your own?

Nakamura: I will do it.

Takano: He said he would coordinate it (laughs). (laughs) But books are more deeply woven into the fabric than liking food or clothing brands. It’s not like our hearts are connected, but I feel closer to them. I’m going to take the book cover, too (laughs).

Celeina: We asked Mr. Nakamura to choose a song that he would like everyone to listen to together on the radio at this time. What song would it be?

Nakamura: I chose a song called “Flowers In The Window” by Travis.

Celeina: Why did you choose the song?

Nakamura: This song reminds me of the scene of loving flowers in the window. It makes me feel a little warm. I want to send love to the world because I feel that the world is currently a bleak place and there is a lack of love (laughs).

Living in two locations in admiration of Haruki Murakami

Takano: When you go to SNOW SHOVELING, can you ask Mr. Nakamura to recommend books based on your current feelings and so on?

Nakamura: I do that rather often.

Takano: I have a broken heart…like …….

Celeina: I want to take a new step forward. Can you do something more niche?

Nakamura: It’s more of a big happy story.

Takano: You have a great capacity for comedy. For example, I am going on a trip to Tokushima next week, what book would you like to read on the way there and back?

Nakamura: I just kind of popped out with a suggestion, which is a rather common or well-known work, but I would recommend Haruki Murakami’s “Kafka on the Seashore”.

Takano: You go to Shikoku in the book, right?

Nakamura: That’s right.

Takano: Isn’t this drawer of yours amazing, Nakamura-san?

Celeina: It’s just too much. You are too good at what you do.

Takano: So, even when I don’t know what to read, I can go to …….

Nakamura: Just take it easy.

Takano: That’s what I mean. Do you like Haruki Murakami?

Nakamura: I do.

Takano: SNOW SHOVELING also means “cultural snow shoveling,” a phrase from Haruki Murakami’s “Dance Dance Dance,” right?

Nakamura: Yes, it is. That’s the kind of wording that came up. That word is a metaphor, though.

Takano: Someone has to do it.

Nakamura: That’s right. I call it cultural snow shoveling as an analogy to shoveling snow, and I liked that phrase so much that I named the restaurant after it, like a little love letter.

Takano: I would like to have another hour or so of Haruki Murakami talk (laughs).

Celeina: By the way, I heard that you are now living in two locations.

Nakamura: Yes, I am. We are playing at a mountain lodge.

Celeina: Playing! How long have you been doing this?

Nakamura: About 5 years.

Celeina: While traveling back and forth from Tokyo.

Nakamura: There is a village on the western edge of Kanagawa Prefecture, where I live in a cabin one or two days a week.

Takano: Why do you live in a cabin?

Nakamura: This is going to sound very serious, but I want to be a human being, or a person who is free from technology. I mean, I don’t have an iPhone or anything like that, but to put it bluntly, I try to make a fire. I am trying to do that kind of thing here and there.

Takano: When you are in the lodge, do you read a book while making a fire?

Nakamura: Exactly. I also listen to records.

Takano: It is a Haruki Murakami way of life.

Nakamura: In Murakami’s books, such as “Kafka by the Sea” and “The Killing of the Knight Commander,” there is a setting in which he lives in a cabin-like place. I was rather fascinated by that.

Takano: I like that. I have a yearning to live in two places, and I would like some advice.

Nakamura: I would like to give you some advice. It takes less than two hours each way, but it is like self counseling.

Celeina: Time to face yourself.

Nakamura: I’m used to going this way, so if I just look at the traffic lights, my thoughts start to flow, and suddenly I get good ideas about things I’m concerned about. The time I spend on the road is quite a lift.

Celeina: That’s wonderful. I think I got a little hint for my life. Now, “FIST BUMP” is a circle of friends connected by “go-touch”, and you introduce your friends to us.

Nakamura: I would like to introduce a friend of mine named Shingo Kurono, who works in various fields such as graphic and product design.

Celeina: What is your relationship with him?

Nakamura: He picked me up at a bar (laughs).

Celeina: In a word?

Nakamura: A meister by day and a drunkard by night.

Takano: Tomorrow, we welcome Mr. Shingo Kurono, a product designer who is a “Meister by day, Drunker by night”.

Celeina: FIST BUMP: Today we have Shuichi Nakamura of SNOW SHOVELING, a bookstore in Fukajawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo. Thank you very much.

Nakamura: Thank you very much.


J-WAVE (81.3FM) Mon-Thu 16:00 – 18:50
Navigator: Shinya Takano, Celeina Ann



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