It means “to drive oneself into penury”.
A glaring sign of how full my days have been recently: more than two weeks after returning home from Singapore, I have yet to finish emptying my luggage. But hobbies come first, so before I tip out the plundered hotel toiletries and souvenir air sickness bags, I’ll need to go through the spoils of my nighttime raids on the Lion City’s well-stocked asylum for committed bibliomaniacs.
Good bookshops are easy to find in my corner of the world, but when it comes to Japanese books in particular – raw manga, linguistic materials, artbooks, magazines and so forth – Kinokuniya’s main branch on Orchard Road is miles above anything we have back home. Needless to say, I made the most of my stay in Singapore by frequenting the country’s greatest national treasure as often as humanly possible. (The generous 20% anniversary discount they were offering on the National Day weekend added even more urgency to my mission.)
Here’s a quick rundown of what I burned my hard-earned cash on.
BOOKS AND MAGAZINES
An “official box” (= fanbook + box with special goodies) for the Hayate no Gotoku! anime series. I should wear the included Hakuou Academy official pin on my shirt collar one of these days – a form of undercover cosplay, if you will (since I don’t expect anyone at work to recognise the fictional school’s phoenix crest for what it is).
I already had the first volume of Tanigawa Nagaru’s Suzumiya Haruhi light novel series, but when I saw this new, slightly larger-format edition from Kadokawa’s Tsubasa Bunko imprint sitting on a shelf of books for younger readers, I cracked it open to see how it differed from the original release. The key difference: all of the kanji in this edition were given the full furigana treatment. I grabbed a copy for reading practice.
Magazines. Voice Newtype August 2009, featuring the Haruhi Five (with the K-ON! Gang, the Summer Wars Duo and other supporting roles thrown in for good measure). Haruhi also features in Newtype September 2009, which comes with a lavishly illustrated TYPE-MOON insert and a great poster of Nagato clad in summer kimono (from the Arc That Shall Not Be Named). Evangelion takes centre stage in Newtype August 2009, the bonus item for which is a small but quite well-made figure of someone called Mari Illustrious (these names… oh, the humanity…).
Yet another Nagato fanbook. That’s right, Diego has once again bitten the poisoned hook of the Dark Kadokawa Empire’s merchandising war machine. I have nothing to say in my defence, except that the caption on the cover strip (長門は、みんなの嫁です) isn’t far off the mark. Ouch.
Finally, we come to AVVENIRE – a collection of splendid full-colour art from all three seasons of the ARIA animated series. I could have gotten this in Japan for a much lower price and in better condition (together with the three hardbound artbooks for the ARIA manga series), but for some reason, I didn’t. Now that error has been rectified and my ARIA artbook collection is complete.
Most of the series I’m currently following in English aren’t expected to see new releases until later this year, so Hayate 12 and Ouran 14 are the only translated manga in my haul.
The awkwardly-titled “Gorgeous Characters Guide” for the Hikaru no Go manga series. And yes, as a matter of fact there is a rather horrible pun in the book’s strange title (碁ジャス☆キャラクターズガイド, ahahaha) – but I’m prepared to overlook it for the wealth of content between the covers.
Volume 40.5 of TeniPuri. I’m not following this series at all, but I’ve been collecting the special character-guide volumes (identified by the 0.5 in their numbers) since I saw the anime a couple of years ago.
I completed my elementary Japanese studies using the Minna no Nihongo series, covering about three-fifths through regular classwork and the remainder through rapid self-study sessions (using materials borrowed from the Japan Foundation library) in preparation for JLPT 3. Wanting to thoroughly revise the parts I rushed through before last year’s exam without having to borrow and re-borrow the books every week, I picked up the main textbook and supplementary volume of MnN’s second half, as well as a kanji coursebook from the same series that should see me about halfway through the expected kanji content of JLPT 2.
After I’ve finished with MnN, I plan to take my Japanese a little further using the newly revised An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese. The material covered in the book probably won’t fit seamlessly into the MnN system – it is, after all, linked to the rival “Genki” series of introductory-level Japanese coursebooks – but I did examine the contents beforehand and it seems compatible enough for my purposes. (On top of that, the audio in the included CDs is the best I’ve heard in a Japanese language course: crisp, clear, very natural in pace and intonation.)
Japanese books (either raw or in translation) comprise just part of Kinokuniya’s massive 500,000-title collection. But with the shops back home not lagging too far behind in their English-language offerings, there was no real need to stock up on tomes that would probably be available on my native turf anyway. A novel about the Third Punic War, a couple of children’s books for my sister’s collection, some freebies – that’s about it for my non-Japanese pickings.