Studious looks under the train tracks

This bookshop under the train tracks has always fascinated me, but the chance to photograph it, along with a customer just as interesting, has remained frustratingly elusive. Until, that is, I saw the fella below.

And yet in the end, getting an image of him catching my eye, rather than a book catching his, turned out to be the best result.

Tokyo bookshop under the train tracks


  1. AF says

    This guy looks like a “movies critic” calculating and analysing the work of a movie director. One wonders what was going on his mind when he was caught in the act of thinking.

    • says

      He does have that look, doesn’t he?

      Actually, he was trying to work out what I was photographing. After I pressed the shutter, he looked behind him to see what on earth I was photographing. Then back at me one more time after seeing nothing. No idea at all that he was the focus of the shot.

  2. Coli says

    Looks like a really interesting place. What station is this above or line? Do you suppose the books have an oden smell to them being so close to that shop?

    • says

      It is. Or at least it is to me. There are a good number of yakitori places nearby too. Both under the tracks and right by them. So the books could have all manner of smells!

      It’s right by Koenji station — a little west of Shinjuku.

  3. Bernadette Marchetti says

    Wow. That is the perfect judgmental look! He needs to be pacing behind a mahogany desk in a posh suit, trying to avoid going home to his wife (who happens to be the sun-visored woman from three weeks ago).

  4. Squidpuppy says

    Those all look like rather “heavy” tomes, not the sort of light novels, or flimsy paperbacks you see folks reading on trains, no? Could you tell if there was a specialization? Was the proprietor behind you? Did you notice if this gentleman bought anything?

    • says

      I assume so, yes. Haven’t actually stopped to look at the books to be honest. No English ones! Just like the setting. So not sure if it’s a specialist shop. Will check next time.

      There’s an inside part too, so the owner was presumably in there. As for the fella in the picture, I left him there after taking the photo, so don’t know if he bought anything it not.

  5. says

    Great moment, love the way he looks over his glasses which gives him that judgemental look!
    When I visited the Kanda bookmarket the tables were also filled with these heavy tomes; the wife told me there were mostly books about Buddhism and they created quite a bit of interest from, what I would reckon, retired men; I wonder what is in these bookcases.

    • says

      Cheers! It’s a wonderful look, isn’t it?

      Like I said above, I’m not sure what kinds of book it stocks. Or if it specialises in any particular topic. But I’ll check next time.

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