Toshokan (Public Library)
(Typical Public Library)
Imagine – You can read Japanese books as fast as the Japanese (Note: Japanese public libraries usually don’t have original copies written in foreign languages including English)! You have a library card from a local public library in your neighborhood and check out some books. The procedures are almost same as in US. Look up the database in a computer, write down its library code, look on the shelf, and take it to the checkout counter – You have already done this procedure quite often back in US, haven’t you?
(Inside the Public Library)
(Inter-Library Service is available!)
(After School Program)
(Special Program for Kids)
There is, however, a big difference between Japanese public libraries and the ones in US. This is what I am talking about…
(Asking people not to damage books!)
Usually the Japanese tend to be very nice and courteous. But…I admit that quite many Japanese abuse their privilege to use public libraries and damage books (and/or properties of the public library). Especially, students tend to do – Underline, highlight, making dog ears, tearing pages, and etc. The Japanese are very ethical people, but they tend to do very wrong things when they can keep themselves anonymous. They unhesitantly return books with all those marks left. To make matters worse, most likely those people get away with it because checking (damage was made or not)-tracking (who made the damage) system is not as strict as that of public libraries in US.
This is a big shame, as a native Japanese, for me to admit, but it is very true. When nobody’s watching, the Japanese tend to do wrong things – even very wrong.
I am telling you this because this is also a part of Japanese culture.