Though this post is being made one week after the event, it’s better late than never as they say, and I’d like to commemorate the life and times of the New York City branch of Asahiya Bookstores, which saw its last day on October 31st, 2009.
I did not become aware of Asahiya until many years after it opened, and even then I didn’t visit it very often, but for me it was a very special store. After I came back from Japan, the story in Genshiken was at its absolute climax with Ogiue at the forefront, and it was through Asahiya that I would buy issues of Monthly Afternoon so I could continue to keep up with the story, and it was also through them that I bought the remaining collected volumes that were not out when I was in Japan, namely volumes 7, 8, and 9. Since then, while I would also buy from Kinokuniya occasionally and Book Off especially, Asahiya was my go-to place for Genshiken-related goods, which included the first volume of Jigopuri that I reviewed. From a rational point of view, I know that Kinokuniya would have served the same function had I ordered from them, but that was not the choice I made, and call me silly or sentimental, but I had grown attached to Asahiya for that reason. It also didn’t hurt that they tended to have better prices on items compared to Kinokuniya.
So despite the paucity of hamburger and hamburger-related materials on Halloween, I made one last stop at Asahiya, where most of the manga had already been bought out, and everything remaining was either $1 or $2. I picked up a ton of manga, including another title about fujoshi.
It’s always a funny feeling when you’re at a Going Out of Business sale at a store you frequented (earlier in the year geeks in NYC saw the demise of gaming store Neutral Ground). You’re enjoying the really good deals you’re getting, but you’re doing so at the cost of having the store fold in the first place. I got a similar feeling from scooping up sweet DVD deals from the ashes of Geneon USA, and while the savings are nice I can’t help but feel we lose much more as a result.
The end of Asahiya NYC. The end of Geocities. It really does feel like the end of an era.