Patrons of Chattanooga's I Go Tokyo will be able to borrow Japanese language books to take home and read beginning Wednesday at 1 p.m. with the grand opening of its free in-house Japanese lending library.
The collection boasts around 150 titles and contains a variety of novels and non-fiction works. There are some children's books available, with more being added as frequently as possible. Anime is not currently part of the collection.
"The library was conceived of as a simple, yet powerful community hub where Japanese people and all of Chattanooga's neighbors could meet to share and enjoy Japanese society and experience some of its fascinating culture," said Owner Margaret Amour. "New-to-Chattanooga Japanese residents can avail themselves of the resources and their families can visit and meet other families to create new local relationships.
"We have friends, associates and co-workers from San Francisco and across the country with
vibrant Japanese communities who are donating books. Let's share and learn. If you can read the title in Japanese, you can check out the book."
Officials said, "When thinking about retail, the mind goes to sales, but the concept of a library dovetails with owner Armour's concept of what her store should be: a place for the community to convene and share experiences; a place to foster the local - and international - cultures Chattanooga is rapidly becoming noted for.
"And while I Go Tokyo's focus is stationery, linens and home goods, the shelves are always filled
with surprises and fun kawaii (cute) gifts. For a society built on ceremony and tradition, Japan's
styles and pop culture move remarkably quickly, and Armour's frequent trips to Japan keep her
up on the latest trends and enable her to keep her stock exciting and always fresh.
"In addition to her more well-known products and companies, Armour is currently the first person
in America to carry the goods from over 15 different Japanese companies, and her dedication to
finding exceptional and high quality Japanese goods for her clientele keeps her busy.
"Since opening its doors in 2018, I Go Tokyo emphasizes the basic truth that people are people;
community is what unites and inspires regardless of differences in culture or distance."