The “Notebooks Library” in Yoyogi (Shibuya Ward), Tokyo, is secretly the talk of the town as it allows you to peek into people’s secrets for 1,000 yen an hour. The library holds about 1,500 diaries and schedule books of anonymous people, of which about 400 can be read freely. What kind of life can you get a glimpse of? This reporter experienced it for herself.
The first thing we were given was a bunch of postcard-sized cards. The first thing they gave us was a bunch of postcard-sized cards with an outline of each notebook. It seemed to be a kind of menu.
The first thing I read was a diary of a high school boy who recorded the process of getting a girlfriend (see photo below). There are four college notebooks. On the front cover, there was a five-yen coin, perhaps a wish for a “good match. When I opened the pages, they were filled with words. I could feel the strong desire to have a girlfriend. The writing was modest and polite, but on the day I found my girlfriend, there were large, disorganized letters, as if my emotions had exploded.
The next thing I read was the notebook of a man who had gambling debts. There was a copy of the bankbook with the dwindling balance and a record of the day’s winnings and losses, and I could see the joy and sorrow in his eyes.
Why did so many notebooks come together? We talked to Mr. Masashi Shirado, 41, the founder of the project.
“I started collecting them in 2002. Actually, my main occupation is game production, and I started collecting them because I thought they would be useful in creating characters. At first, I bought them through social networking sites, but now they are donated to me.
Naked confessions written with the intention of not showing them to anyone. I would like you to read them while enjoying the immoral feeling of looking into the secrets of others.
“From the September 17, 2021 issue of FRIDAY.
Photo by： Shinji Hamasaki