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  • helloalissa

    on Jul 21

    Tsutaya in Kurume (Kamitsu)

    This is one of the bigger chains all over Japan, known not only for books, but also CDs, games, and DVD rentals. There are two in Kurume City – the other is close to Youme Town in Aikawa Machi. Outside the entrance was a fan with a built in mister, cooling off the customers as they walked into the building with air-con blasting. It's a little overwhelming in Tsutaya stores; sort of a bookstore for extroverts. First of all, it's really big. Some of their stores have multiple floors and even cafes inside (in Fukuoka City, Tsutaya stores usually have a Honeys Coffee shop), but this one is one giant floor. It is in the suburbs, after all. Next, on top of the air-con hum (a very loud hum), there are constant announcements about specials from staff, recordings / videos playing in different areas of the store promoting videos or albums, and I'm sure I heard some music playing in the background, in the in-between quieter times. It would have been nice to just hear this background music alone. I heard a song from Bjork, but just barely. There's a nice stationery section and tons of magazines, which is where I tend to gravitate. There's a good variety of cute school supplies, although the prices are not exactly competitive. If you want discounts, this isn't the place to buy stationery. Items are generally sold at list price, and I find most department store stationery sections sell items at a discounted price so with tax included, it's at list or lower. The CD and DVD area is much bigger, but I don't have a CD or DVD player to use those, so I don't bother looking around. I feel like Japan is sort of behind because I haven't owned a CD player for years. Staff at Tsutaya was wearing red Hawaiian shirts on the day I visited, which sort of reminded me of a Trader Joe's back in the states. Anyway, festive for the summer, and I'm guessing they rotate through different uniforms throughout the year. My favorite section is the magazine section, and there is a larger variety of magazines here. I especially like all the DIY and design magazines, plus the special edition issues and related books. The fashion and cooking magazines always have lots of free items included, and Tsutaya will open one of each of these magazines to display the bags or items so you can see them before buying. This way we can also flip through the magazine to make sure we want it. I really like when bookstores do this, otherwise we don't really know what we're paying for besides what the cover shows. A great place to escape from the summer heat for a while and flip through books on display and stand-and-read (tachi-yomi) some magazines. Next door (a different store, but connected to the Tsutaya) is a photo studio with costume rental, a purikura style (glamour shots with designs on top) photo booth, and machines to print out photos from your own camera / phone.

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