Review: Bookmooch, and my free breadmaker

After clearing out the cupboards over the holidays, I found myself with more than a few books to give away. Normally I’d just take them to BookOff, but a friend suggested It’s basically a free book exchange site. You list your books, and then people request them from you. Adding books is really easy as it all ties into Amazon’s database, so you get book covers too to check if you’ve got the right book and there’s no human error that usually breaks the search function.

I noticed while adding the books that some were already on people’s wishlists – so once you’ve added a book someone else wants they will automatically get an email telling them that one has become available. Then when a request is made, the system will tell you and you can go ahead and send it on. Each book you send gets you points, but a key point is that you have to pay the postage yourself. You can choose whether or not you’re willing to send internationally, and if you agree to do so you will get more points in return. Then you can use those points to get books that you want!

Sounds good in theory, and there’s a huge number of books listed specifically for Japan, but I still haven’t found anything to use my points on. Searching for a specific book is unlikely to yield results in Japan, and just browsing through all the books situated here gave me pages upon pages of Danielle Steele and other bad fiction. Sadly, the search function doesn’t let you narrow it down by GENRE and COUNTRY, and a quick search for “php” or “bread” books in Japan yielded zero results.

If I put the effort in to browse through all the books, i think I might find something – but then, I’d rather spend that time doing other things. You might want to give it a go though, if only for piece of mind that your books will actually be going to someone rather than sitting on the shelves of BookOff until they’re eventually recycled.

Why was I looking for “bread” books anyway though? Well, that’ll be because I recently got hold of a fantastic breadmaker for free from a lovely girl called Heidi in Osaka. Thanks Heidi! She posted a message to the FreeStuffJapan mailing list, and I snapped it up in no time. Since then I’ve been making a loaf or cake every day~

free bread maker

Change your internet and get gift vouchers, or a Wii


Japanese internet is the best in the world, hands-down. But if you’re moving house or if you’ve had your internet contract for over 2 years, I strongly suggest you head to your nearest electronics store and change your internet provider. Having recently moved, we went into town to get signed up for some high speed internets. Since this is something we were going to be getting no matter what, I was eager to take advantage of any offer or campaign we could. We ended up getting 20,000 yen worth of BicCamera vouchers for signing up in-store for NTT hikari-fibre 100mb connection (the price is the same by the way, whether you sign up in store or phone them directly). The only catch was that we had to sign up for cable television for at least 3 months too, the first two months of which was free and of which the 3rd month cost us 6,000 yen; and the fact that we are locked into a two-year contract. Still, with the extortionate key-money and deposit we payed on this place you can be damn sure we’re not moving for at least two years. So after canceling the worthless cable TV today, we still ended up 14,000 yen in the positive – which we promptly used to buy a second-hand Nintendo Wii! We later found out that BicCamera was also running a similar campaign where you could just get a Wii instead of the vouchers, so I guess you might want to look into the deals a little bit more than we did.

Who is your current provider, and how good is it? Any plans to change? In my own experience, NTT hikari lines are by far the fastest – I had a Yahoo BB ADSL connection when I first came here, but the speed was pathetic and often it would just disconnect – I’ve only ever heard complaints from friends with regard to their BB connection too. I guess it’s pretty obvious when you consider that NTT brings a dedicated fiber-optic cable into your house while Yahoo/Softbank BB is essentially running through a standard telephone line. BB do seem to advertise better though – reminds me of the old days where any magazine you bought would have an AOL cd attached – carpet bomb marketing I guess you could call it.