I am in the throes of packing up all the things I don’t need right now or won’t need in the coming three and a half months before I visit America and move to Korea. Junkyu already took some of my books and clothes and video games with him to Korea last time he came, but next time he comes I am going to be able to fill up the two suitcases my family left in my apartment before they went back home.
Last year, I bought a Kindle so that it would help me cut down on buying physical books, which I love but are hard to move. I really fell in love with it and I went a long time without reading a physical book. However, when my mom and grandma visited, we went to a few bookstores that sell English books and I went a little crazy. I loved the feeling of actually flipping through the books, smelling them, looking at the gorgeous covers, reading the first few pages to see if I liked the writing.
I decided it was okay for me to buy a few paperbacks (the four paperbacks in the picture) but I had also ordered a hardback book on Korea, which came in the mail recently. There is just something about having a physical copy of a book, especially a history type book, one that I can see myself wanting to pick and reference again and again. I also have Cinder in hardback, which is nice and chunky, but I got that a long time ago through the Book Outlet. I am currently reading Cinder, which I love so far, so hopefully I can finish it in time for Junkyu to take it with him to Korea.
I need to give him the rest of my books and winter clothes and some shoes (which I have a ton of since I don’t normally fit into Asian shoes) and hopefully the stuff I keep around will be able to fit into my own two suitcases and two carry-on bags when I leave Japan. I am starting to declutter, clean, and minimize so that packing during my last month or so will be a breeze instead of a nightmare.
When I lived in Kyoto as a student, I had to send a good two or three boxes of books and clothes home, which cost a lot and took forever, and that time, too, my dad visited Japan and was able to take an entire suitcase of my stuff back with him. The place I live in now is probably three times bigger than my old dorm room, so I guess I should be worried, but honestly I have the same amount of stuff as I did then.
I am excited to be able to buy lots more physical books in Korea, since I know that I probably won’t be moving overseas again after this year. I have moved so many times in my life (over 20, easy) so I am pretty good at knowing how much stuff will fit in a suitcase. The problem is, my precious books are scattered over four places right now. My beloved Harry Potter book collection is at my mom’s house. A lot of my manga is at my dad’s. I have tons of novels and more manga here in Japan, and the books Junkyu took are now in Korea. Books are probably my most highly prized possessions, so it’s hard not being able to have them all in one place.
As much as I love reading on my Kindle, since it’s lightweight, sturdy, and easy to take to read on the train, I foresee myself buying tons of books in Korea just because I can. I already have a list of Korean books I want to buy to motivate me in my studies, and when I was in Osaka, I spent an hour in a bookstore alone, taking pictures of all the books that seemed interesting. Every time I saw a good one, I thought, ‘Oh, I HAVE to have this in hardback,’ and I got excited imagining my bookshelf filling up with pretty books.
My dad says we have a disease. Neither of us can pass by a bookstore without going in, and we have an even harder time going into a bookstore without buying anything. Books are probably the last thing you should collect when you live abroad and constantly move around (besides maybe sports equipment, which reminds me, I have a set of kyudo arrows I need to figure out what to do with) and yet they are my favorite thing to own. For the next four months, though, it will just be me and my Kindle.