getting used photobooks from JapanPosted: 27/01/2012
I’m asked about a book by Watabe Yūkichi:
Any idea where I can get Alaska Eskimo?
Hmm, you could get a copy here (a dealer called “A Japanese Book”) for 120€, or from here (amazon.co.jp) for ¥10,030 and up. Ridiculous, isn’t it? But wait: here’s one for just ¥2100, and here’s one for ¥1800. Two days to go on this auction, where a copy is currently ¥1600.
Each of the reasonably priced options is explained in Japanese only, which itself may be a hurdle. And although I didn’t check, it’s very likely that each seller refuses either (a) to take payment in any way (e.g. Paypal) of which anybody outside Japan is likely to be capable or (b) to send a book outside Japan. (Despite all the bromides in Japan about “globalization”, the nation seems as parochial as ever. Counter-buzzword: ガラパゴス化, “Galápagos syndrome”.)
I imagine that there are a number of ways for people who don’t have Japanese reading ability, a Japanese address and a Japanese bank account to get stuff from any of these sources, but the only way I know of is Japan Exposures. JE is run by good people. Of course they will have to charge you for the extra work that they do, but the total should still cost less than from dealers that cater for those people outside Japan who are underinformed or impatient.
PS a follow-up on the auction