Hiroshi Ochiai was a sports journalist until March of this year, when he reinvented himself as a bookstore owner, opening Readin’ Writin’ near Tawaramachi Station, behind the Lemon Pie cake shop.

The shop is in a former lumberyard building and is entirely self-funded. His renovations make the most of the height of the room, with a mezzanine floor upstairs and a tatami mat area to stretch out in. He’ll make you espresso, too.

Business is building slowly. So many tourists up around Asakusa, he says, but it’s fine if they don’t come down this way, I don’t think I could handle them. He wants to host workshops, teaching or talk events. I’ve gone to all this trouble to make this space, he says, I really want to use it. Let me know if you have an event in mind. The only drawback is people still live upstairs, so I can’t make too much noise.

His focus is on Japan and Japanese culture, and local history of the Asakusa area. He’s thinking of bringing in some rare old books. There’s also a selection of books in English.

Readin’ Writin’, 2-4-7 Kotobuki, Taito-ku
tel 03-6321-7798 closed Mon.