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Interview with Takehiro Hino, bookstore manager and author of “I Never Liked Bookstores.



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

On July 4, Oishi Trombo, a salaryman manga artist who loves books and manga, introduced Takehiro Hino, manager of the Tokiwa Shobo Shizu Station Building store. Mr. Hino, manager of Tokiwa Shobo Shizu Station Building, appeared on the stage. We asked him about what inspired him to write the essay published this May and what he loves more than books.

I never liked bookstores.

Celeina (MC): First of all, let me give you a brief profile. Takehiro Hino joined Tokiwa Shobo in 1993, and has been the manager of the Shizu Station Building branch of Tokiwa Shobo since 2013, marking 30 years as a bookseller.

Takano (MC): And you published a book titled “I Never Liked Bookstores” in May this year, while still being a bookseller. I am very curious about the title.

Hino: The president of the publishing company gave me this title. If it were me, I would have come up with a weirder title (laughs).

Celeina: What is the content of the book?

Hino: I literally didn’t like bookstores in the first place. I didn’t like books, but somehow I ended up working in a bookstore. Over the years, I began to think about the meaning of “why do I work in a bookstore? I wrote this book to sort that out.

Celeina: You did the book’s cover art, didn’t you, Mr. Oishi?

Hino: That’s right. I think that was one of the reasons I was introduced to you.

Takano: It is a selfish image, but I had an image that all bookstore clerks love bookstores, so the title has a great punch. Do you like bookstores now?

Hino: It’s not quite the same as liking it, but I feel like it’s my calling.

Takano: At what point did your feelings change?

Hino: Since the Great East Japan Earthquake, the world has been getting worse, and to put it another way, bookstores have been getting very difficult. I started to think about what I was going to do now that I was over 40 years old and why I became a bookseller. It wasn’t so much that there was a trigger, but rather I began to think vaguely about what I wanted to do with my life and what I wanted to do with my life.

I want to create a place where books and people can meet.

Celeina: What kind of store is Tokiwa Shobo Shizu Station Building, where you are the manager? Are there any particular points that you are particular about?

Hino: The building is directly connected to the station. Normally, it would be like a regular bookstore in front of the station, but we are a little particular about our selection. Of course we have the hottest books, but we also try to select interesting books that tend to get lost in the shadows and books that touch people’s hearts and minds. I feel that we need to create a place where readers and books can meet.

Celeina: When you select books, do you check the contents yourself?

Hino: can’t read all of them, but I look up the titles and authors, search social networking sites, and select books that I think look interesting or that I think should definitely be placed in the bookstore. I select books that I think are interesting and that I think should be placed in the store. I do it all by feel.

Celeina: Being able to make selections based on your intuition is truly a calling.

Takano: Do you have any new books that you would recommend?

Hino: Brady Mikako’s new book, “Respect,” is coming out in August. I love Mikako Brady. This novel is based on an incident that took place in London in 2014, where women who lost their homes rose up and occupied houses. The reason why I chose a subject that few Japanese know about is because Ms. Brady wants her readers to know about it. I think it is very meaningful, and I hope you will read it.

Celeina: Now let me send you a song. I asked Mr. Hino to choose a song that he would like everyone to listen to together on the radio at this time.

Hino: It is “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. This is the song that inspired Ms. Brady to write her novel. It may be an austere choice for this time of the day.

Things I love more than books

Celeina: What is your favorite thing to do outside of your work, Hino-san?

Hino: I have always loved music more than books. I used to go to rock festivals often, although it’s not so easy to go these days. I have been going to “Fuji Rock” since the first one and experienced that storm (laughs).

Celeina: Actually, this program is working as an official program of “Fuji Rock.

Takano: I would like to call you as a witness (laughs).

Hino: On the way back, the shuttle buses stopped, and it took us about five hours to get down the mountain. Then I took the first train back, took a nap, and started work in the afternoon. I can’t do that now (laughs).

Takano: Do you go to festivals these days?

Hino: I used to go every year until I was in my early 40s, but I rarely go anymore.

Celeina: But music festivals can be streamed now, so there are ways to enjoy them at home as well.

Hino: That’s true, but it’s still not as good as seeing it live.

Celeina: I heard that there will be an event at Tokiwa Shobo Shizu Station Building this month.

Hino: On Saturday, July 22, we are holding an event called “Shizu Small Book Fest. There is an event called “Book Festival” where publishers set up booths and sell their books, and we are going to hold a smaller version of it at the store. We have invited four publishers this time as well. Oishi Trombo will be there, as well as some secret guests, so please come and visit us.

Celeina: Now, you are introducing your friends to us through the “FIST BUMP” circle of friends connected by the “Goo-Touch” system.

Hino: It is Nanase Ueki, the manager of “Tabisuru Sewing Machine Shop,” which makes and sells handmade book covers in Yanaka. She also draws the cute illustrations on the book covers.

Celeina: How would you describe Ms. Ueki in one word?

Hino: Like the character on the book cover, she is a cute and friendly person, but she has a strong core.

Takano: I am looking forward to it. Tomorrow, I will connect you to Nase Ueki, illustrator and owner of the “Traveling Sewing Machine Shop.

Celeina: Today’s “FIST BUMP” was Takehiro Hino, manager of the Tokiwa Shobo Shizu Station Building store. Thank you very much.

Hino: Thank you very much.


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



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