Yatsugatake walk vol.8

a perfect guide of Yatsugatake area for tourists

Mountains, literature and people (P.6)

Whatever occurs, it is all connected to books

The small bookstore was named the “Mountain bookcase” because, “I love mountains, and because I like the sound of “mountain.” The owner, Ms. Ishigaki, was born and raised at the foot of Yatsugatake in Fujimi town, Nagano prefecture. Since she was a child, she loved books. In school, she was a member of the library committee and frequently explored bookstores. Whenever something captured her interest, she studied about it from books and contemplated on it while walking. “You could say that at each turning point in my life, there was a book.”
Additionally, after reading a book about life in foreign countries, she became fascinated with its liberal education and entered the Jiyunomori Gakuen Highschool in Saitama prefecture. “I had heard it was located in the mountains, but it was nothing like Fujimi. These are not mountains!” I felt. It was the first time I realized I grew up surrounded by mountains. “You know, our family did not even have a car. On our days off, we would often take the dog with us to the mountains to pick wild vegetables and mushrooms, rather than going away.” The mountains were close by. "I've never been very good at doing something well-prepared. That's why I still don't undertake any serious climbing. “I go for walks in places like Mt.Kurumayama or Kirigamine without hesitation. But the kinds of trees and scenery here are completely different, that's nice you know.”
The “Mountain Bookcase,” offers a wide selection of novels, essays, magazines, photo books, and others, selected by Ms. Ishigaki.
“Needless to say, the prospect of recommending a good book is fun, but there is one more thing: I would also like to provide a place for communication through books.”
Today, the number of online bookstores is increasing, but there is much to say for selling books while talking about it in a store. “Regardless if you are traveling, watching a movie, or listening to someone's story... everything, absolutely everything leads to a book.”
When you walk through life with a book at your side, the path you are walking on will ultimately lead to a book.

Junko Ishigaki
Born in Fujimi town, Suwa gun, Nagano prefecture. She is the author of an irregular series of articles in the free online magazine "BEEK" (beekmagazine.com) about the appeal of Yamanashi. She also writes, “On reading/ Yomujikan”, stories about everyday life with books. Store relocation scheduled for April 2020. For more information, visit her website.

Somehow, I thought to go to the mountains...

Akio Higuchi is the author of many mountain adventure novels. Most are set in the mountains of the Minami Alps, where he has lived for the past 20 years. 'You know, mine isn't literature; it's entertainment.' Nimbly drawing a line. “I want them to be enjoyable to read: a little out of the ordinary, where the reader has a little of a laugh and says, “Is this possible?” And I want them to finish with a happy end.” Indeed, Mr. Higuchi's work weaves in environmental and social issues without creating a sense of heaviness. Their breathtaking speedy development is impressive.
“I love "Hard-boiled.” Moreover, I wanted to write in a way congruent with myself in this time and age and that is why I came here.”
Regarding the mountains, he said, “I initially moved here just to undertake some fly-fishing and was uninterested in peak hunting (climbing mountains for the purpose to reach the top).” He had got into fishing in his late twenties. “I just kind of started going,” he says, while taking out an outdoor knife. He explains that it was a present from Shinji Nagashima, the manga artist who drew 'Judo Ichokusen', for his birthday they were at a pub in Asagaya.” “So I thought, "let's go to the mountains," and went to Mt. Takao, but I was not satisfied. After that, I went to Nishi Tanzawa."
However, when I moved into the (Minami Alps)area, the fishing was moderate. Rather, he became fascinated with mountain climbing. “I have a habit of climbing the same places I like. I guess the Minami Alps suited me. I think the Minami Alps were right for me. Especially Mt. Kitadake which I climb twice a year.” “It is only logical that living in the mountains has an impact on the content and style. This comes up naturally when I am writing.” However, although you could say that the world of Mr. Higuchi's work is somewhat absurd, what makes his work world persuasive is the way he depicts with overwhelming reality the mountains he himself traverses. The combination of "somehow" and "because I'm myself." is what creates high-quality entertainment.

Akio Higuchi
In 2008, he won both, the 27th Japan Adventure Novel Society Grand Prize and the 12th Oyabu Haruhiko Prize for 'Yakusoko no chi" (Promised Land). In 2013, he won the 2nd Ekinaka Bookstore Award with "Midnight run!" He is a monkey dog handler to drive away monkeys and also participates in local conservation.