Danchi-Do @ Gondo

Oh dear, what a miserable weather we have been under in recent London. How much I miss a cold but sunny wintry sky of Nagano!!! It’s so depressing to find every morning that an endless blanket of texture-less grey sky spreading above us…
While antique shops in Nagano was a disappointingly minor affair, I was very happy to discover their used book trading was alive and kicking. Like the aforementioned vintage bookshop, Yureki-Shobo, unique used bookshops were spouting all over the city.

A used bookshop, Danchi-Do, was located in the middle of the Gondo arcade…


This place used to be a fruit seller…


The shop was filled with used magazines and books but also with some unexpected objects…


A shallow conical object hung on the upper left was a braided straw hat and a stick with inscription propped against the wall was a cane. They were traditionally carried by a pilgrim travelling from a temple to temple.
And a pile of the boxes on the right were cigar boxes! It was ¥300 each.

Some books were bundled-up and on top of them, there were old suitcases. And above them, I found two masks and a cluster of dolls in the box…


Those masks were of Ebisu (恵比寿) – the Japanese god of fishermen, luck, and workingmen, as well as the guardian of the health of small children. Their smiling face is infectious, don’t you agree? A small blue chair was a typical swivel chair found in any Japanese children’s room.
The shop floor resembled someone’s attic stuffed with all sorts of bygone items.

A tray of toys…


Toy cars, ¥300 each…


Comparing with Yureki-Shobo, books were displayed in rather a haphazard manner. However, it increased a sense of treasure hunting…


From the ceiling, charts and theatre posters were hung…


The shop also dealt with framed artworks too…


In spite of being a cold afternoon, locals were showing keen interest in what Danchi-Do offered…


People were flicking through pages of old magazines, studying covers of books and stroking spines of the books with their finger tips. A good supply of nostalgic books would be a perfect antidote for Nagano’s long & cold winter. I bought a book for my mum and a magazine for me and headed home, carefully treading over icy pavement…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

2 thoughts on “Danchi-Do @ Gondo

  1. I probably would have bought the masks because they look nice and the straw hat too. But I would ask what was written on them first. Hehe. I’m sure these are a lot of treasures there!

    • If I had more room in my case, I would have bought more than a magazine. When I weighed my case at the airport, it was more than I was allowed to carry…😱
      I don’t know what was inscribed on that hat but it must be Buddhist sutra.

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