I Love Book-Off

So you’re in Japan and want to find a good bargain, where should you go?… I first found out about Book-Off when I saw their advert in the Tokyo underground, I didn’t think much of it at the time, but when I visited their store in Ueno I fell in love!! Book-Off is basically a chain of stores that allows people to trade in their old books, DVDs, CDs and games – everything the store sells is second hand, but most of it is in excellent condition. First of all, I’ll just talk about books – I have found that manga in Japan is cheap… really cheap compared to England. Whilst the average volume of manga will cost you about £5-£6, here in Japan one volume is on average about 500 Yen – about £2!! Book-Off sells manga even cheaper than that, and so it is a fantastic place to get a bargain if you’re a manga fan and can read Japanese! (Side note, another good place to check out for second hand manga is the Mandrake, its fantastic 😉 )

Ok, so you’ve got your manga fix, what about DVDs? Well, new DVDs in Japan are expensive, and I still don’t understand why but that’s the way it is – one movie can set you back as much as 5000 Yen (about £22, would be more only the £ is strong against the Yen atm) DVDs in Book-Off are still a bit expensive but obviously not as much as you would pay for a brand new copy. I bought a Street Fighter DVD/Manga pack for about 2,200 Yen, it retails for 3000 Yen brand new. CDs… well I didn’t check out the CD section! If you like American bands then you will be happy to know that American CDs are available here in HMV, and they’re cheap compared to the Japanese counterparts – I just bought Jimmy Eat World’s new album brand new for about £8, the new Starting Line album is only about £5.50 over here!!

Anyway, back to the case in hand, the biggest area where you will make savings is if you’re a gamer and interested in quite old games like me. The only reason why I actually fell in love with Book Off is the insanely awesome games section that I have experienced in each branch that I have visited. Here is the biggest example of a bargain and I mean big… the original uncensored version of Biohazard (Resident Evil in the west) is pretty rare to find in the west considering it was never officially released in America or in Europe – on Ebay you’ll find the average copy goes for about £20-£30. I bought the original version of Biohazard today… for 105 Yen… to put that into perspective 105 Yen is about 45p. I bought the original uncensored Biohazard for 45p…. Amazing. It’s obviously not going to mean much if you’re not a gamer, but I was literally astonished at how incredible that purchase was. It doesn’t stop there either, I bought Parasite Eve 1 and 2 for about 500 Yen together, and the original Ghost in the Shell PlayStation game for about 200 Yen. Unsurprisingly though the newer games such as the PS2 games are more expensive, averaging in the region of about 2000 to 3000 Yen, but for original PlayStation games, it’s a total bargain. Yep, I love Book-Off… if you are an avid gamer and can play Japanese games on your system then you HAVE to visit Book-Off, you’d be a complete fool not to!…

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