How are your new year resolutions holding up so far? Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to answer us. After all, goal-setting is all about cultivating good habits and mindsets, not a total upheaval of the self, so it’s okay to take things slow — and if one of those goals is actually taking things slow, you’ve come to the right place. The National Library Board has recently partnered with lifestyle brand MUJI, via the National Reading Movement, for intimate spaces that aim to motivate us to read more, and read well.
To achieve this, they’ve rolled out a series of haikus across both selected MUJI stores, so we get to appreciate the Japanese short-form poetry for ourselves. This six-month partnership kicked off at MUJI @ Jewel Changi Airport on 28 December 2021, followed by the launch of the project at MUJI @ Plaza Singapura on 6 January 2022.
In case you’re wondering how haikus relate to cultivating good reading habits, here’s how — an impressive-looking ‘Wall of Haikus’, that’s home to 30 uniquely-designed bookmarks that will hopefully pique our interest to discover new books.
Each bookmark is inspired by Japanese block printing, which visually represents the key concept of the carefully-curated books in an art style that’s simple yet arresting. A haiku goes on to elaborate on the themes of the books as well, providing clues to the names of the books, while a QR code invites you to scan the bookmark in order to discover their titles; these link directly to an NLB eBook.
Spoiler alert, here are some titles we spotted at the Wall of Haikus at the Jewel store: Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone, Pachinko, Normal People, The Queen’s Gambit, and Crying in H Mart. From Michelle Obama’s inspiring memoir Becoming, to dystopian fiction alongside those grounded in real-world societal issues, as well as book-to-series titles and our own Singapore literature, the well-rounded list of books is one carefully curated by the team behind the National Reading Movement (NRM).
“Through our partnership with MUJI to bring haikus and books to people, we hope to inspire everyone to read more, read widely and read together,” says NRM Programme Director, Chris Koh, on this community-based event.
Likewise, this inventive project is very much in line with MUJI’s lifestyle values, which advocate for a considered life, and fostering a strong community that supports these values. Clearly, the use of haikus is a nod to the brand’s Japanese roots.
“It has always been MUJI’s vision to build and support the local community, where we see ourselves more than just a retailer – by creating a venue to engage our customers with meaningful stories within the store,” says Katsushi Onishi, Managing Director of MUJI (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. & MUJI (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.
The Wall of Haikus at Jewel Changi Airport even provides cosy reading spots and a bookshelf where where you can pick up a library book and start reading, all in a retail space that’s outside of the library. We are also encouraged to pick, and take home, a haiku bookmark that most appeals to us, and hopefully find a new favourite book along the way.
Locations and dates are as follows:
Open MUJI @ Jewel Changi Airport — 28 December 2021 – 28 June 2022
Open MUJI @ Plaza Singapura — 6 January 2022 – 28 June 2022