CONTRIBUTED BY JEANINE CZUBIK
A few months ago, I was looking for a suitable study guide to prepare for the Japanese language proficiency exam later this year. A fellow teacher at the international language school where I work led me to the three-story Junkudo near Kokusai-dori. She told me it is the largest bookstore on island and it is certainly on par with the average Barnes & Noble in the states.
There are five or six aisles (think Wal-Mart length aisles!) of English books – British and American classics, politics, fiction and non-fiction best sellers, travel, photography, architecture, linguistics, Okinawan history, children’s, abridged classics for pre-teens, and a huge kids section in the back to help raise a bilingual child. Down one of the aisles, there is even a mini-museum of fossilized bones and animal skins.
I can tell from reading this site that there are some avid readers out here. Readers, who like me, may love Amazon’s incomparable selection and speedy service, but miss the relaxation of leisurely strolling through a bookstore, flipping through a book simply because the title or cover art struck you. Perhaps enjoying the quiet and relaxation of a latte without the chance of running into someone you know.
Like your favorite bookstore back home, there is an Italian coffee bar on the first floor of Junkudo, but you can order a real meal in addition to your coffee. Instead of big comfy chairs to collapse in, there are simple wooden benches at the end of every aisle. It may not be exactly like your bookstore back home, but with the largest selection of English books on island, it just might become your favorite bookstore in Okinawa.
Hours: Daily 1000-2200
Directions: 58 South to Maejima (just before signs to Kokusai –dori). Turn left at the Family Mart and follow under the monorail. Junkudo is on the right side down about one block. Parking garage is across the street – Junkudo will validate up to 2 hours when you make a purchase. To find the English books, take the escalator to the third floor, head to the aisles to your right.