Dan In Japan: Day 11

I’m sure you’ll all be pleased to hear it was raining again this morning. Can’t have me enjoying myself too much while everyone at home suffers the snow and rain these last 2 weeks, now can we? So it’s an indoor day for Dan then! And what better place to forget the cold and wet day than a place called Sunshine City!

Yet another multi storey shopping complex, this one houses at least 3 reasons that otakus would flock here… J-World (an anime/manga theme park based on Weekly Shonen Jump characters. Dragonball Z, One Piece etc…), Namja Town (another indoor theme park run by Namco, but not featuring ANY OF THEIR CHARACTERS!?!) and last but not least, the Pokémon Mega Centre! Personally, I was only here for the free one!

I’ve never actually been a massive Pokémon fan, I’ve never properly played any of the games and I didn’t watch the TV show. I think I was just a bit too old when it came out and then I worked at a game shop when the cards and games were massive so that obviously made me develop a bit of a dislike for it. But now I’m older and wiser I can appreciate it for what it is, and y’know, when in Rome (or Japan more accurately).

Like a lot of character shops I’ve been in, there’s a lot of amazing stuff to look at, but it’s all soooooo expensive! I end up treating it more like a museum that a shop. The only item that jumped out at me was a limited edition mystery t-shirt they’re doing. It comes sealed in a bag and has 1 of 15 screens from the original Gameboy game printed on the front. While a normal t-shirt is at least 3-4000¥, these are only 1500¥. If they’d had my size I might have grabbed one.

Once I’d had my fill of Jigglypuffs, it was time for lunch. As with most Japanese malls, there was a floor dedicated to restaurants so I had a good wander around there until I found something I fancied. I eventually settled on a little place that specialised in meals served on sizzling skillets, I’m sure it was the smell that dragged me in! I had a skillet with fried chicken, rice, spaghetti, onion rings, shredded cabbage, tomato and cheese… It was as good as it sounds! Once I’d devoured every last item on my plate I headed out the center, had a quick shop nearby and wasted a few hundred yen coins in another Sega arcade. It was then time to head to stop 2 for the day- Nakano Broadway.

Nakano Broadway is a pretty unattractive 4 floor mall in Nakano. It’s clearly very old and there aren’t many reasons this should be on a tourist’s to see list. But over the last decade or so the center has turned into a bit of a mini Akihabara. Pretty much every other shop is a store selling anime merchandise, toys, video games, idol goods… basically if an otaku wants it you’ll find it here. There’s also arcades, shops with nothing but capsule toy machines and entire stores with cabinets that people can rent out to sell their own items. As you can imagine, I spent hours here.

A large amount of the complex is taken up by a series of shops called ‘Mandrake’. They have around a dozen (probably more) shops that each sell a different nerdy selection. There’s was 1 in particular that you can see in the picture that just sold retro toys, mostly robot themed. It’s entrance was designed to look like Torri gates like you’d find at a temple or shrine and the for was lit up like a 70s dance floor! They also has 2 stores selling very cheap second hand manga. I grabbed a copy of both first volumes of Sword Art Online and Attack On Titan. Not that I can read them, but I reckon it’s a nice souvenir having some proper Japanese manga. I was particularly proud of myself because I couldn’t find SAO, so I asked a member of staff and they understood me! I even worked out that they asked if I wanted the light novel or the manga and told them I wanted the first volume (ichiban). Maybe one day I’ll actually be able to read these books!

After another hour or so it was time for me to head home and call it a night. Tomorrow, I’m heading to Odaiba- Tokyo’s waterfront entertainment and shopping district with a 1:1 scale Gundam! See you!

Dan

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