Turn to the right at the Rycom intersection in Kitanakagusuku-village when driving up on Route 330 from the south (left when from the north), then keep going to the second traffic light. Ahead you’ll see King Tacos and Moringa on your left and Ramen Ichiban on your right, all popular eateries on a very busy road. Just opposite the Ramen Ichiban, you’ll find a small bookstore sitting quietly and humbly, that is Omar Books.
Named after a character in American novelist Peter Cameron’s ‘The City of Your Final Destination’, the bookstore was started in July, 2010 by an ex-librarian. Through the windows, you might sense this is a place to not hurry around or take a quick read to cram down on-the-edge info and handy tips for a job. Step inside and right in front of you is a table with books of seasonal selection. This time of year, the table is not to mention occupied with beautiful Christmas picture books dotted with humble woody decorations, catching the eyes of not only visitors but also passers-by on the street. Once inside, the visitors will be shielded from the noise outside and allowed to release their imagination guided by whatever falls into their hands from the bookshelves or the tables in the tranquillity filling this cosy place.
The hand-made book shelf occupying a wall showcases a mixture of new releases and second-hands, regular favourites and hidden classics, Japanese and non-Japanese. Sink in a sofa by the window, and you can immerse yourself in stories by the like of Haruki Murakami, Raymond Carver and Truman Capote, get carried away by the breath-taking photographs by Michio Hoshino, or stray into foreign eras and places along with essayists such as Atsuko Suga or Yuriko Takeda. Magazines of literature, art, film, and lifestyle could be inspiration for those with interest in Japanese subcultures. For children, various picture books await to unfold stories around the world. There’s another small table on which self-service of hot coffee is offered at 100 yen for a cup, inviting the customers to sit down and chat away over the favourite reading and the aroma of coffee.
The owner Ms Kawabata started the business out of the blue, from scratch. However, her affection for stories on paper makes the selection of the items refined and tasteful, and 7 year experience as a librarian at high schools helps the customers to chance upon something new, unknown, or eye-opener to unrealised aspects of their usual-selves. Drop in Omar Books, and the drop could feed your inner bookworms and love for arts in life.