Nisshin Library

[23 January 2024]

As retired staff, I have access to the Nagoya University library, but the campus is an hour away by bike or train, so I recently signed up for a card at the Nisshin City Library. It’s for than 15 minutes’ ride away (oh no!), but as it’s located a few hundred meters from the local recycle center, it’s “marginally close by” as they say in the accounting biz. It was cold and windy out today, but I had checked out some books,1 and one of them needed to be renewed today, so I gathered up the paper and containers for recycling, and dropped by the library on the way back. It’s an unusual building. It has architecture.

Backtracking just a bit, when I signed up for the card, I thought that the library had only Japanese books, and I was planning (and still am!) to read some page-turner detective stories in Japanese for language practice. But when visiting a local mall, I came across a little public-service book nook there with some chairs, return slots for the Nisshin library—and a few shelves of freebie books culled from the collection for passersby to make their own. There were some English books on the shelf, with Nisshin City Library stickers on them. That was a clue, and on a later visit I did some further exploration and found a bookcase of novels in English. Hence the English volume for renewal today.

While in the library, the device below caught my eye. It’s an artifact of the pandemic, which people have taken seriously here, a book sterilization unit for use by patrons. This was the first time I’d seen such a thing, and I’d be curious to know whether they are found anywhere else, particularly outside Japan. I checked with counter staff about taking this picture, just in case (people here are sensitive about privacy as well as communicable diseases). There was a simple application procedure, of course. Between the nascent tremor in my writing hand and my mostly read-only knowledge of kanji, I embarrassed myself pretty throughly while filling out the form. Staff were patient, though, and truth be told I’m far enough along in life that I no longer care. It was fine.

After taking the snap, I did the renewal, returned one book, and checked out another.2 And yes, I’m still a science fiction junkie with a taste for the dystopian.

  1. Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan (New York: Dell, 1988); Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle (London: Penguin, 1965). ↩︎

  2. William Gibson, Neuromancer (New York: Ace Books, 1984). ↩︎