It was back to Tokyo today. Finally goodbye to those "sauna" hotel rooms in Nagoya! However, check-in time wasn't until 3pm so we decided it would be best if we just left our luggage in lockers instead of travelling back and forth just to leave our luggage with the hotel.
There weren't many days left before we return to the UK so my friend and I were pretty much split up doing our own things and shopping mostly.
I decided to go visit Nakano Broadway myself and yes, another rainy day.
Nakano Broadway wasn't that far from the station.
If you liked to collect retro used, odd merchandise then this is probably the place to go to.
Some of the stuff I actually recognised from when I was a kid... like the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles bubble bath and sweet dispensers. Not sure if Turtles are still popular with kids these days ^^;
I also remember the wooden dolls with rounded heads from Oshin, a little girl who left home to work as a servant for a rich family so that her ill mother and baby sister could have food. It was such a sad story =(
"Hutch The Honey Bee (昆虫物語 みなしごハッチ)", another old Anime that I never finished. A bee hive is attacked by wasps and one of the servants escape with one of the eggs who grows up to become Hacchi. Hacchi later goes on a journey in search of his real mum, the Queen Bee.
Never did get to see the end of that show... 60,000JPY (380GBP) for one of these figures!
Madarake sold a lot of used books at cheap prices. 100 Yen for 1 or 200 Yen for 3. You can find full sets of Manga at cheap prices too.
It had some interesting decorations too... Don't know why it's occult themed though.
Tetsujin 28-go was guarding the entrance =P
Most of the shops were pretty much run by Mandarake. Their staff were walking around everywhere with Mandarake aprons on...
They also had an interesting office... I got a glimpse of the inside when their employees were running in and out. Even the inside was designed like those retro alien movies with lots of metal and weird coloured lights, lol.
Wasn't just used modern day Manga that was sold of course. There was a lot of used books that featured works from the older days too.
Heard a lot of people reminiscing as I walked around the place.
Haven't been to see Kyoto's Senpon Torii trail of red gates yet? Well, you could get a similar view here... kind of.
Not sure anyone would pay 90,000JPY (960GBP) for the Kitaro post box outside though ^^;
"Odd Shop" had an odd looking Ultraman inside too.
Whole bunch of retro Japanese store signs at the back.
The "Odd Shop" wasn't completely odd. Was another shop that sold a lot of old toys like metal robots and merchandise from way back in the 1980s. There was a weird messed up looking Doraemon though ^^;
Then there was a whole floor for doll enthusiasts too with wigs, different body parts, clothes etc.
Personally, I found it a bit creepy ^^;
There were a lot of shops selling original Anime cells from shows I recognised like Ranma 1/2, Yuu Yuu Hakusho, Tenchi Muyo, Oh My Goddess... All great classics
There was a store for train fans too that had all sorts of commemorative and limited edition items.
Coca-cola in old glass bottles. I found that the Coca-Cola company made a lot of drinks here in Japan, just under different brand names. Their name is in tiny print on a lot of drink cans.
There were a lot of no food allowed signs around the place but funnily enough here was a ice-cream place that had some interesting sounding flavours like "rose flavour" for 300JPY each.
I bought some Ramune flavoured ice-cream. Tasted like Ramune and had some white bits of candy in it. Quite nice.
Nakano seemed to have their own mascot too just like Pombashi.
The shopping arcade wasn't all Anime, enthusiast goods.
Like this expensive watch shop. I still prefer looking at a nice mechanical watch these days even though I could just look at my phone or just an animated image of a nice watch.
There were book stores that sold new, modern day Manga and other goods too.
Haruya Bookstore had a whole range of goods though. Some nice bookmarks made of traditional Japanese cloth. I already bought some bamboo ones so didn't want to buy more.
Kimmidolls were available here too. Thing I find about Japan is they always list the tax-free prices so you think you're getting a bargain until you get to the counter... Back in Scotland, it's always a tax included price.
And it seems you didn't have to visit Tokyo Skytree to buy their merchandise...
Towards the ground floor there are market places for fresh fish, groceries and even fortune telling stalls like this too so, it's not all Otaku.
Dropped by another ticket based place for a bowl of Udon before I met up with my friend in Shibuya. Not many pictures on this one and it wasn't very friendly to foreigners... At least to Westerners anyway.
There were two Westeners eating in and they didn't understand how the system worked so, when they didn't know they had to pick up their meals from the kitchen counter themselves, a guy came out and called to them in a loud, annoyed voice, "Hey, food. Food!" in a very patronising way.
Well, there are rude people everywhere in the world. Even in Japan =P
I wanted ramen but the one I wanted was sold out so, just got udon instead with duck... It was meh.
Seems any day we're not visiting tourist spots it's always raining ^^;
Nakano Station was quite busy as with most around Tokyo.
Not as bad as Shibuya though.
And I was back in Shibuya. Never been to this area before even though we stayed in a hotel in the area not far from the station. Should explore Shibuya a bit if you ever come here and not just see the crossing.
Disney Store with a fancy front. Didn't go in though =P
We were going to visit the Mugiwara Store but since my friend hadn't arrived yet, I dropped into this Kinokuniya Book Store. Giant cat stand caught my attention, lol.
At the far back I found another shop called, "Loft". The funny thing was I saw a YouTube video about the place when I was researching for the trip but never intended to visit it... Ended up finding it anyway, lol.
It was mostly ladies that were around the place. Probably because of all the fashionable looking goods.
There were all sorts of things on sale... Even name card holders that were decorated pretty. Back in the UK it was always just a clear piece of plastic ^^;
Like most people, I prefer using my phone for alarms because it's more customisable. Put whatever tunes you want, setup mini games to dismiss the alarm etc. But the alarms here looked pretty cool.
A little taste of Scotland. My friend bought some of the Shortbread biscuits to see if they were authentic, lol.
Slightly more modern Bentou boxes instead of Japanese "Wafuu" style. They were microwaveable though. I should have bought one for the sandwiches I took into work everyday ^^;
I was so tempted to buy all of them, lol. Didn't really care at the time since it wasn't everyday I was in Japan but then I realised how expensive they were... 2620JPY (18GBP) each ^^;
The larger ones cost 4306JPY (28GBP) but they were so amazingly detailed and almost as beautiful as the Ghibli movies themselves!
After picking up a few thing, it was off to Parco which was quite close to the Shibuya Apple Store and also where one of the One Piece Mugiwara Stores were.
Mugiwara Store, Shibuya
First thing we saw when we got to the 6th floor were all these figures. Whole floor was pretty much Anime/Manga goods. Some quite explicit as you can see =P
Wasn't hard to spot the Mugiwara Store though.
Shibuya Parco was closed for reconstruction not long after this trip. The 6th floor has now been turned into a "CyberSpace" replaced with a Capcom, Nintendo Store and a brand new Pokemon Centre. If you want to visit a Mugiwara Store you'll now have to go to the nearby Magnet 109's 6th floor instead or, the 2nd floor of Sunshine City, Ikebukuro where you can also find the Tokyo Pokemon Centre below.
Checkout the giant sculptures of the One Piece gang!
Well, actually. There was only two but they were awesomely done! No selfy sticks allowed but I'm sure stretching your arm out didn't count. And I'm sure there were foreign visitors who didn't give a damn and got all buddy with them too ^^;
One Piece fans should like this place.
Definitely more One Piece merchandise than the Jump shop I was at.
Looks like there was a new One PIece movie on the way. I liked the series but a lot of the movies were pretty dull... The build up to the battles just weren't the same although to be fair, a lot of them weren't written by Oda himself.
Outside there was a Purikura (short for "purinto kurabu [print club]") or sticker photos.
There was also a metal machine that pressed out coins which was quite common back in the UK too. Difference was it doesn't press the coins you put in.
Again, I stress about saving up those 100 Yen coins... They're used a lot when you can't use an IC card, lol.
I got one of Luffy. It was all male characters =P
Well, time to say bye to Luffy. There was still time before the shops closed and Ikebukuro Station wasn't far from Shibuya so, off to the Pokemon Centre we went...
I don't know why but I just found this sign funny, lol. The Pokemon Centre was in Sunshine City, a shopping centre. Name actually sounded like one of those gyms from the game ^^;
Whole area was filled with arcades and the kind of shops you'd expect from Akihabara - lots of Anime/Manga related goods.
Wasn't hard to find Sunshine City following Google Maps.
As for the Pokemon Centre itself, I thought it was outside so wandered around a bit wondering where it was.
Turned out it was actually inside Sunshine City itself on the second floor.
There was half an hour left before closing time ^^;
Again, just like the Mugiwara Store there were big Pokemon sculptures and lots of exclusive merchandise. It was more or less the same size so the 30 mins we had was enough to browse the place.
I played one of the first Pokemon games "Red" and quite enjoyed it at the time but not quite so much as to become a fan. However, since I was a gamer and was in Japan, I thought we should visit one of the shops.
Not really sure where the inspiration for today's Pokemon creature designs come from... It's like, "Look a potted plant! That's our next Pokemon!", lol.
Think Pokemon fans will be spoiled for choice if they came here.
There was a toy that made use of little contactless cartridges to summon Pokemon.
And they worked with these arcade machines outside too. We didn't have any but still managed to play anyway.
Game wasn't that exciting because most of the time it was like the machine playing by itself... Eventually we did get this "Darumaka" cart.
It was closing time too. The staff didn't rush us like shop staff usually do in the UK but you see they were waiting for us to leave ^^;
Yay, a Doraemon themed nursery was nearby. The Fujiko museum wasn't that exciting but I enjoyed the sculptures they had there.
I had wanted to visit the Evangelion Store near Ikebukuro Station but, it and all the other shops had already closed by now at 8pm. Another place that was quite interesting hadn't...
Hadn't planned to visit J-World but it was still open and was in the same building so we dropped in. Either you buy an entry ticket or a combo ticket that let you play all the amusements free.
Most of them looked like they were for kids so I decided we should just get the entry ticket.
Looks like they were trying to join in the Easter celebrations.
Whole bunch of figures to welcome you... Or to rob your wallet =P
There were 3 main areas - Naruto, Dragon Ball and One Piece.
You could take photos with some of the staff in Naruto costumes.
You're pretty much barricaded from a lot of the places if you don't get the combo ticket... There weren't many staff around so we actually didn't know which areas we could enter and which areas were part of a game ^^;
The One Piece area felt the biggest in the area... In many ways =P
Looks like Usopp needed rescuing again. Looked pretty creepy, lol... Was part of this Chopper Adventure game where you had to visit different areas and play mini games I think.
Can't remember these silhouettes... Enemies from Punk Hazard?
Had a lot of other photo spots you could pose with characters like those Dugongs.
There weren't any giant sculptures of the One Piece gang but there were a lot of pictures. Nami was pretty much every where. Rest of the gang like Chopper, Robin and Zoro were hardly anywhere to be seen. Maybe they were inside some of the amusements that we couldn't enter.
Some of the One Piece gang were modelling swimwear too... Frankie's trunks were on display, lol.
We couldn't play any of the amusements but there were some things we could play like this One Piece buzzer game. Didn't finish it but I passed as a Marine xD
There there was another "test" where you had to run on the spot as fast as you could. Very easy to win but then again, this place is for kids, lol.
Now this Dragon Ball area had a lot of great props.
Watched the show as a kid dubbed in Cantonese. Cantonese dub was quite good although the terrestrial TV uses the same voices in so many shows, it feels weird these days ^^;
This was a Scouter photo point. You basically stand there hit a button and it will show what your power level is compared to one of the Dragonball characters... I got Goku, lol.
Forgot there were two types of Scouters. Freeza's team had higher power rating limits.
Very nice replica of the Saiyan space ships. Trust Toriyama to use a baseball as innovation since it's such a popular sport in Japan, lol.
Behind it you could experience hunting down Dragon Balls with a radar if you paid or had a passport ticket. Staff were idling around mostly but as soon as they saw possible customers, they rush over.
You could even try out some Saiyan armour.
Famous gravity room they used for training. "Caution: Huge Energy".
Revenge of Freeza was a joke like most of the new Dragon Ball works these days. Or maybe it's just because I've grown out of those shows.
There was a tournament themed area with plenty of photo opportunities including the cloud Goku rides which you could actually stand on.
I actually wanted one of these toys but obviously my parents didn't buy it for me because like all kids, it's only fun for a while. Still would have been fun though.
Then there was a reaction time game. Again, very easy, lol.
There were two places to eat in here. A large food court area and a Sanji themed "Madame Moiselle" restaurant. Sanji's place was probably aimed at the ladies but whatever. We went in anyway.
Actually I never paid attention to the sign, lol.
Seems Nami's voice actress Akemi Okamura left her autograph on one of the pillars about 2 years ago saying, "Everything Sanji makes is awesome!"
Not sure what the pandas are about though, lol.
Menus had screenshots of Sanji from the Anime.
Drinks came with coasters featuring the One Piece characters just like the Animax Cafe. Difference was we could pick which one we wanted. I picked Boa Hancock. It was a tough choice between all the ladies of One Piece =P
There was also a promotion going on where if you visited the other One Piece attractions like the one at Tokyo Tower and the other Sanji themed restaurant, "Paratie", you get the full set of badges featuring... Sanji.
Can't remember what my drink was called but it had a White Beard flag on it.
My friend had two drinks, picking Luffy and Zoro - the very first two members of the Mugiwara Pirates, haha. He didn't even realise it when he picked them. His drink had a cute chocolate shaped like Chopper's hat.
If I came here alone I don't think I would have managed to savour as much of the themed food ^^;
They were all small portions really, aimed at kids but who cares. They were fun, lol.
My potato wedges weren't so nicely decorated but tasted nice. Well seasoned.
After something to eat, we moved on. The restaurant just happened to be closing too.
This was the main canteen area where the more general Jump themed food was served.
But it was closing time so, obviously we couldn't get anything else.
Just have to save it for another time.
Looked fun though ^^
Toilet signs at J-World. Nice touch just like at the Fujiko Museum ^^
There was an area full of crane game machines and here were some of the prizes. Assassination Classroom is a hilarious action comedy. Highly recommended if you haven't watched it already.
The shop at the exit was tiny compared to the Jump Shop I visited back in Nagoya. Mostly merchandise for ladies like huggable male character pillows ^^;
Quite enjoyed J-World even though I didn't play any of the amusements. Funnily enough they had more cardboard cut-outs of characters than giant sculptures like the dedicated shops did.
And that was the end of our Otaku day. These were the lockers we used at Shinagawa Station.
Unfortunately, the nearest IC card ones waaay at the back were all in use so we had to go back to these old key and lock ones. Luckily I kept all my 100JPY coins because it needed 6 of them. Seems all kind of machines - vending, laundry and lockers use these coins the most ^^
And is that litter I spy? :o
Tokyu Stay Kamata Review
The new hotel was quite far away from the city this time in Kamata (around 30 mins train from Tokyo) but, I chose it because it was very close to Shinagawa Station where the Narita Express stops to go to the airport.
Own vending machines as with other hotels.
The way the lifts worked were interesting. You could only use them if you had your key card and it only allowed access to whatever floor your room was on.
Kind of gave you a VIP feeling and helps maintain some privacy.
The hallways kind of felt classier than Shibuya even though they were both 3 star hotels.
Room was as small as the one in Nagoya but man, it was so much better maintained. Or just new...
No wardrobe this time but enough room to hang some clothes.
Trouser press too if you really needed it...
Not much to say about the bathroom. Clean and bright with your usual electric toilet seat.
Modest sized desk. And again, some coupons if you opt into the breakfast buffet.
LAN internet cable for laptops.
There wasn't any noise at night, I could control the room temperature and had a nice view over the local town! ^^
So, with the room tour out of the way... Let's see my stash for the day.
Some gifts for Pokemon fans. Would have bought trading cards or stuffed toys but... I always think whether I or the person I'm buying gifts for will just grow out of things at some stage. So, I bought sweets with a nice tin box so they could use the box for something again later.
Pin badges and Gatchapons, well... They're small enough to just store away somewhere. Speaking of which, one guy went away with a whole 1m sized shopping bag full of Gatchapons when we were at the Pokemon Centre ^^;
Few coasters from our visit to J-World, Ikebukuro.
Also 2 second hand games from Nakano Broadway which also had a Hyper Media Shop there. I kind of got bored of the Monster Hunter series but the latest X "Generations" game got me back in... for a while.
Still needed some PS4 games to tide me over until the big games are out like FFXV and Persona 5 so just bought a similar hunting game "God Eater" and also Nippon Ichi's new IP Yomawari where you lead a little girl to safety by solving puzzles. Like the other second hand games I bought, these were in "A" condition.
They also let you see the physical disc/cartridge before you pay and these were all in mint condition. Even the manuals looked new.
And yes, I bought more Ghibli papercrafts, lol. Like I said earlier, I was tempted to just buy them all but chose to be selective in the end. Would need a lot of room to line them up somewhere ^^;