‘Minnano Hondana’ is public bookshelf at your service

By Tony Nakamoto

When you finish reading a few books, what would you do with them? Put in your mini-van and sell them at the weekend flea market? That’s a good idea. But why not take them to “Minnano Hondana” next time? 

Minnano Hondana works on self service and is free.

“Minnano Hondana” literally means everyone’s bookshelf. It’s a volunteer-based book exchange service located in the Parasol Street near Makishi Public Market in Naha. How to borrow a book from Minnano Honadana is pretty simple. Bring your book and exchange it with a book you find on the shelf. When you finish reading, you can bring it back and check another book out.

If you want something specific, you can write your request on a blackboard.

On two large shelves, there are about 1,000 books of various kinds; novels, gardening, cooking, picture books and many others. Majority of them are in Japanese but there are currently some English and even Korean language books on the shelves, too.

The book shelves were set in January this year by Naha Ichiba Shinkoukai as a way to attract more customers to the street. The director of Shinkoukai, Toshikazu Shinzato said, “W wanted to do something simple, and something everyone can enjoy. Spontaneously, we decided to set book shelves here!” A lot of volunteers from member companies offered help to renovate the space which used to be an old sandal shop.

Shinzato said that collecting books was the most difficult part. “We brought not only our books, but also asked all our friends and relatives to donate books” he recalls.

On a recent day, while he was taking a lunch break on a bench next to the shelves, many people stopped by and started browsing books, expecting they could find something new for them.

Thanks to the rapid increase of foreign tourists for last couple of years, the street is gradually getting back the energetic atmosphere that it used to have two or three decades ago. Minnano Hondana is now becoming a bridge to connect between local people and foreign visitors.

The location of Minnanono Hondana is a bit complicated. It’s basically between Peace Street and the Market’s Main Street. There is a tourist information center on the middle of the Peace Street, called “Yukkuru.” You can ask them for its location. Minnano Hondana is on the street just behind the information center. It’s open from 11:30 to 17:00. You can find more information at the Shinkoukai’s Japanese language Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/love.naha.7


08:38 18 Jun , 2024