By Sherilyn Siy
In 2016, the Eslite Spectrum Department Store in central Taipei was named one of the "world's coolest department stores" by CNN, ranking alongside Selfridges of London and Le Bon Marche of Paris. Eslite Spectrum is famous for its bookstores that spotlight art and humanities-related books. When Eslite Spectrum expanded into retail, they focused on lifestyle products and local designers. People were drawn to the store's handicraft classes, coffee shops, art galleries and cultural performances and Eslite Spectrum became a tangible expression of the intersection between "books and living".
Eslite Spectrum Nihonbashi (誠品生活日本橋) is located at the second floor of the new Coredo Muromachi Terrace and has four zones. Along the 30-meter long "literary corridor" are books carefully curated by the store's specialists. There is no clear beginning or end to the bookstore. Shelves and tables of books give way to an attractive Taiwanese tea salon decorated with vibrant red tea cannisters, a stationary and miscellaneous goods zone, a workshop zone with various art and craft products and outfitted with glass blowing kilns, and a cooking demonstration space and restaurant area where Taiwanese flavors can be sampled. Within the bookstore is a space dedicated as a creative platform expo where book signing events and author lectures will be held. You will find over 50 Taiwanese brands offering the best of Taiwan. The world famous Taiwanese retail brand brings the same sensibilities and core values of "Humanity, art, creativity, life" to Japan, but they were also inspired by the history and culture of Nihonbashi and the Edo spirit of blending the ancient and modern.
I wanted to spend more time browsing all the carefully selected titles, but I also wanted to linger at the displays of nostalgic Taiwanese goods and dioramas. Strolling along the corridor, Eslite Spectrum has succeeded in showcasing the best of Taiwan to Japan, promoting cultural exchange, and inspiring Japan to learn more about Asian culture.
Coredo Muromachi Terrace is best accessed through Mitsukoshimae Station (served by the Ginza and Hanzomon Lines). Take exit A8.
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For Sherilyn Siy, Asia is home. Born in Hong Kong, Sherilyn spent time in the Philippines, China, and now lives in Japan. She speaks English, Filipino, Chinese (or putonghua), and Hokkien, her family's local dialect. Running is one of her favorite ways to explore Japan. She proudly finished the 2015 Tokyo Marathon -- her first ever full marathon -- in 4 hours and 37 minutes. She was absolutely psyched when she got selected again to run the new Tokyo Marathon route in 2018. She hopes to complete other races in Japan.