Anya’s Adventures in Japan: Day 3

Anya’s Adventures in Japan: Day 3

The hotel we chose for our little stay in Tokyo was the Shinjuku Washington hotel. Fairly cheap, and it was close to a rail station. Sort of. My mom decided to be cheap and drag our bags instead of taking a taxi, so it ended up being my job to navigate the map and find our way there. After three hours standing on the shinkansen, it wasn’t a pleasurable experience. But yeah, if you want to visit Tokyo, staying at the Shinjuku Washington is pretty decent. It’s close to the entrance to the underground mega station that connects the JR Shinjuku station that has the aforementioned Yamanote Line, among others, and the Keio Shinjuku station with the Keio Line. There’s also an entire shopping street down there with many different shops and restaurants. It’s a bit of a walk from the JR station to the hotel, but it doesn’t feel like much since there’s a lot of things underground to look at. There’s also a Family Mart and other restaurants right in the hotel lobby.
By the time we checked in and kept our bags we were starving, and didn’t know where to go eat. So we settled for this super cheap store at the bottom of the hotel where you had to insert money into a ticket machine then give the ticket to the cooks. It’s like the stuff you see in some manga. Ordering was pretty hard, since I couldn’t read the kanji at all and had no idea what each button was. There were a few posters on the side that had pictures and the number for the order, so we went with those. I had some katsudon, and even though it was super cheap it was SO DAMN GOOD. REALLY FREAKIN GOOD.

After lunch we headed towards Shibuya. It was a rainy day, so we dropped into a coffeeshop for sweets and looked at random stores.

I want more right now!

I want more right now!

It turns out that there was an Animate store and a Mandarake store in one building, so I separated with my mom and went to the otaku lalaland I’ve waited so long for. This was a small Animate store, but considering I’ve only seen Animate stalls in conventions it was really big for me. There was an entire wall of Love Live stuff and I didn’t know what to buy!

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I ended up with a whole bunch of keychains and stickers – I really like having stickers of Rise from Persona 4 to attach to my sketchbook. I tried to ask a staff member if they had Rise’s glasses in stock, but he was busy doing something with a computer so I walked away without thinking much. While looking around at some manga I heard running footsteps behind me, and turned to see the guy running to me with an apologetic look on his face. Some Japanese people take their job so seriously that it was mind boggling. Almost kind of comical in a way. Unfortunately no, they didn’t have the Rise glasses.
After the Animate store I headed down to Mandarake in the basement, where it was just this dark maze full of stuff. There was EVERYTHING.

Otaku Note: Mandarake stores sell second hand goods along with other collectible things like doujins, and they have very strict quality control. The result is that you can buy rare/sold out figures for practically new condition at a cheap price. Highly recommended to wander around these stores.

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First haul~

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I managed to snag a Persona 4 Yukiko nendoroid figure for cheap, and a figure of Eli in her No brand girls outfit. And of course I HAD to go to the porn doujin section. It was amusing, there was this stereotypical otaku guy breathing heavily while browsing, and me, this random girl, just stepped up right beside him and started pulling out a whole bunch of crossdressing and lesbian porn.
It’s easy enough to find doujins on the internet, but there’s a novelty to actually holding it in your hands and flipping through the pages. These books are printed with high quality paper and covers and they just feel nice.
Unfortunately, I can’t just stay there forever and had to go meet up with my mom. We had udon in a restaurant in a department store, and came across a Japanese quirk that I really hate: people smoke every-fucking-where. There was a guy a few tables away from us who was smoking in the udon store, and it ruined my appetite.

The udon was still awesome though.

The udon was still awesome though.

We walked past the supermarket on our way back, and it was huge. There were rows and rows of boxed meals that had good quality sushi and other food in them, and all the desserts were gorgeous. I wished more places sold high quality food for affordable prices, unlike in the states where everything is expensive.

About Anya

Anya Archer is a novelist and a student of Kalamazoo College. Her debut novel, Sweets & Steel, revolves around transgender issues and is slated for a release in 2015.

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