Posted On August 6, 2009
One thing I’ve been neglecting to do on this blog for the past couple of months is really expand upon my adventures in this great country. There’s a couple of reasons for this–one of them is that school was taking up a lot of my time, and another is that after a month or so Japan went from an amusement park of wonders to just where I live. It’s still a pretty cool place to live, though. So, with just over a week left here, I figure I’ll go back to the travelogue thing I started months ago, instead of railing on entitled douchebags who’ll never change their misguided ways.
So yeah, as the title suggests, today I went to Nakano Broadway for the billionth time. It was cloudy outside, but I wanted to get out of the house, so the best option was clearly to go into a contained, indoor otaku paradise!
I won’t really go into what makes Nakano an awesome experience–I’m saving that for a future post–but I will go into some of the things that I saw today, and tried desperately not to buy in my attempt to save money for Comic Market. Yesterday tempted me with too many cheap things that were too rare to pass up, and while that would seem more common in Nakano, I don’t feel especially horrible for passing up some of the stuff I saw today. Only a little horrible.
The stuff that hurt the most was a 1000 yen Tsukuyomi -MOONPHASE- setting book, and the Strike Witches OST at the cheapest I’ve ever seen it at 1500 yen. It hurts the most when stuff I never knew I wanted takes me by surprise, and at a great price to boot, but I don’t buy it. I don’t own any setting books. I have a general idea about what’s in them (I believe the animators use them for reference) and they seem interesting, but not interesting enough to risk not buying four doujinshi for that same price. Maybe if it was signed by Shinbo, or something…
I’ve also been looking for the Strike Witches OST at a decent price, and most places I’ve seen have had it for 2000 yen. That’s not entirely unreasonable, but 1500 yen for a CD is more my speed (unless it’s, like, Giant Robo OST 5.) I don’t even remember much about the Strike Witches OST beyond the fact that it was better than I expected it to be. Anyway, it’s not going anywhere. I’ll pick it up on my next trip to Japan. It’ll probably be cheaper then, too.
Along with stuff I actually really want to buy, Nakano has a wealth of stuff I’d buy if I was crazy. I guess it’s at this point that I’ll mention that Nakano Broadway is primarily Mandarake, and all of these old used things were found within its dark depths. Along with anime-related stuff, the Mandarake stores in Nakano carry a whole wealth of other stuff. As far as crazy, amazing stuff goes, my favourite Mandarake store in Nakano is the one right at the top of the stairs on the fourth floor. Today a giant statue of an old-style TV with MANDARAKE written on the front greeted me, along with a 200000 yen 1/1 statue of Kitaro from Ge Ge Ge No Kitarou, a naked headless mannequin, and a barber’s pole. This is Mandarake, motherfucker.
This store is composed completely of showcases, and within the showcases are old toys that could easily destroy one’s paycheck in one go. It’s mostly (if not all) stuff from the Showa era, and by the time you reach the wall at the end of the shop, it becomes less about toys from the Showa era and just stuff from the Showa era. Ever wanted a Tetsujin 28 chair? Yours for 10500 yen. Ever wanted those old school, metal たばこ signs? Better pony up a man or two. If I was rich and crazy, I’d buy all of this stuff and decorate my mansion with it. Good thing I’m just crazy.
Today I took the time to look at stores I hadn’t really noticed on previous trips. One store I came upon was an awesome t-shirt store, and I’m surprised I hadn’t seen it until now. My favourite there was probably a shirt with the Nike logo on it, but instead of Nike, NEET was written in huge letters in its place. Right underneath that it read, “NO MONEY. NO JOB.” That’s a good shirt to wear to a job interview. In fact, all of them were. I guess they weren’t as good as the Hayami Jun shirts in Taco Che, though. Those’ll really guarantee you a job. Especially one working with children.
Also, Google Hayami Jun. Then Uziga Waita. And do it at work. With your boss looking.
At some point I went into a not-Mandarake toy shop. They weren’t selling much of note, but what was coming through the speakers sure was groovy. It was Ocean Blue Sky Orange by Capsule. If the guy behind the counter would only have looked up from his laptop for two seconds, he would have noticed me groovin’ to it while looking at a 200 yen figure of a Guncannon with half of its fist missing.
I think on the second floor or something there’s a kind-of-sort-of-maybe shady “Maid Massage Parlor.” I’m sure it’s legit, but what was funny about this was that while I was looking at prices, PERHAPS CONTEMPLATING ENTERING, (I mean, it’s 2000 yen for a “quickie.” Totally not sex tourism!) I sensed another person’s ki from right behind me. I took a look, and it was another man examining the prices. Typical Japanese salary man. We exchanged an awkward look for about a second or two and moved on. It was pretty cool.
The last thing of note that I saw today was a display for Summer Wars. At first I couldn’t tell it apart from the Murakami Takashi display that used to be there, because it kind of looked… exactly the same. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll try to see Summer Wars before I go back to America. It’s by the Tokikake team and has sexy Sadamoto designs! I can’t really get a good reading as to what the plot may be, and the super flat shit present in it really makes me weary.
I seriously hope there isn’t some giant statue of a naked masturbating dude in the movie, or something.