SHOPPING GUIDE FEEDBACK
arranged with the newest at the top and the oldest at the bottom
Mike Petrie spent
two months in Japan. He did most of his shopping in Ikebukuro.
K-Books (floors 1-3) 1st floor - Newer manga & art books. 2nd floor - More manga, tons of men's dojinshi and adult manga. 3rd floor - ALL lady's dojinshi, regular and adult (you should have seen the looks I got on that floor, seeing as I'm a 6'4" blonde guy!)
My friend and I searched for COMICBANK for almost 2 hours. I truly believe it's not there anymore. There is a Yellow Submarine hobby shop near the Wendy's, and the employees there had no idea where Comicbank was. We gave up after that! (I'm not sure, but this Yellow Sub. might be the old Garage Box shop).
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and his buddy spent two weeks in Tokyo.
Some shops we found were shit but of course others were FANTASTIC. Incredible how much we found there, you can never find in Europe or the USA, and if you find it at home you pay thrice the price than in Tokyo. I must say especially all the Mandarakes, VOLKS and Manga No Mori shops were great. The Yellow Submarines stink except Hyper Hobby, Yellow Submarine in Shinjuku, we bought a lot of model kits there.
The Mandarake in the Nakano mall was HUGE and you'll find some other toy shops there, too.
Akihabara was also great. You know they have a VOLKS there? When you leave Akihabara station the buildings in front of you are full with manga shops : VOLKS, K-Books and some others. There's even a shop full of erotic stuff: from manga to videos (not only anime of course, hihi). Under VOLKS is another shop with a lot of model kits. In K-Books you'll find manga, artbooks, posters, some cels and other manga related stuff.
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Shinjuku, Anime Pero: Cool place, has almost every single Toei thing you can imagine and the boss and his assistant were really nice too :) (Patti's note: Though I have been a customer for more than a decade, I and others I know have actually had very poor experiences dealing with the man who runs Anime Pero. His assistants have always been nice, though.) Seriken Type: Cards that you get stamps on for every 300 Yen you spend that you can use NEXT time you come. Filling one entire card entitles you to 600 Yen off your next purchase? (Not sure) (sounds right)
Kinokuniya Bookstore: Kinokuniya deserves a separate listing because it has Ad Hoc, the one where you have to walk past the main bookstore and cross a tiny street in its back and they have that manga section. It's not really a basement, so I got kind of confused. I know Ad Hoc from other ppl...Ad Hoc first floor is all manga, the newest available, plus anime magazines, and some artbooks. 2nd floor is cute stationery stuff, 3rd floor has computer stuff where I bought some anime CD-Roms. Right before you cross the little street for Ad Hoc, there is a computer game/hobby magazines' shop. I got a book listing all the UFO dolls ever manufactured plus a Hyper Hobby Girls' Book that was full of cute merchandise you can collect. There were some anime collecting books as well. Plus Kinokuniya, the main store, is a very good landmark itself. You have to go past it in order to get to Pero. No seriken.
Shibuya Manga no Mori is Right across from the main entrance of Mandarake and it's next to a fast food restaurant ;p laugh but I forgot which one... I didn't get a chance to go in because I got sucked into Mandarake ;p laugh Mandarake Er...hard to find. We walked for quite awhile, and were at the NHK office before we figured out that we had to turn back. It is in the "Beam" building's basement and I went in through the elevator entrance, not the main entrance. Some additional directions: Thanks for telling me to get off at the Hachiko (Eight Dogs--take a picture with that wall! :D) exit because going out any other exit would have meant prolonged and unnecessary walking. (Patti's note: Hachiko does not refer to the dog mural on the east side of the north exit but is the name of the dog whose statue can be found on the north side of Shibuya station) Walk down the street and it will split into three. You want to take the street that has Seibu Loft, which is the right fork (yep, this is where I didn't see either KFC or First Kitchen and got lost--we finally got there by following directions from a Tokyu Hands employee, which is very close by Mandarake). Be careful because the Beam Building isn't that well marked, it's got silver lettering that's hard to see. (Maybe you should explain that Beam is like a dept. store-ish kind of building too cuz there are lots of Beam buildings in Japan). Try not to be distracted by the "Shibuya Beam INTI produced by NAMCO" Entertainment/Game Center which you can see when you are waiting for the elevator (the ground floor of the Beam Building) to go down to Mandarake. Also look for Plaza Equus (Horse-Racing Center) on the first floor just to make sure you are in the right place. And go earlier in the morning cuz it gets kind of crowded later into the day.
Other tips: If you go during cold weather, stuff your jacket into the locker because it gets super hot down there. You are going to root through stuff and carry goodies so it's good to not wear your jacket. And if a person who starts singing karaoke is REALLY bad, try to keep your mean comments to yourself ;p laugh Oh, don't line up with everyone to go in. I figured out that that was the line to get in if you want to sing karaoke and the saleslady dressed like Ryoko thought I was a retard when I was like, I just want to go in and shop, I don't want to sing! No seriken.
Ikebukuro Animate Has all the newest anime "junk"/novelty items, plus some older limited edition things that I was very happy to find (although they made the prices really high). This is right next to K-Books, so I went into K-Books first. Animate has the newest LDs, posters, calendars, and lotteries outside its front door. The first floor is filled with tons of stuff and it was VERY crowded. The store isn't that large. 2nd floor has DVD, VCD, LD, CD, PSX, etc. games, videos, all that. 3rd floor has the newest doujinshi, artbooks, manga, etc. It's a LONG walk from Ikebukuro's main station to Sunshine City so I went to the Higashi-Ikebukuro stop on the Yurakcho Line to walk to Sunshine City. I need to figure out which is the closest exit number in the subway station to Animate though, maybe you could give it a try when you go? I'll have to agree that I got kind of an attitude when they figured out I wasn't Japanese and they gave the lady before me free posters but not me. (Patti's note: some purchases, especially CDs and the like, come with free posters. This may explain what happened, but Animate also gives stuff away when you buy enough or spend a seiriken card, I don't remember which) I was very polite and I didn't bother them but still...oh well. But in the store, there were these really rude foreigners that pissed them off just before I got to the counter. :( Seriken Style: Animate Card--it's got the cat girl logo and it records by this laser thing on how much you buy. Good for discount on NEXT visit.
K-Books Go to Mandarake before you visit K-Books because they carry basically the same things, only Mandarake has a bigger selection. First floor is a really nice but hot phone card gallery/selling place. They had the biggest selection of rarer phone cards that I have seen but it's kind of expensive. 2nd floor has the anime stuff--they have used LDs now too, among other things. Had the most cels (Mandarake was all out) in the stores I visited, at okay prices. The posters that they have is worth a look, some of them are really new and nice. The stuff in their cabinets are really nice too and their display is done very well. Cleaner and better lighted than Mandarake but it is a more expensive used anime store. Seriken style: K-Books card, just like the Animate one. Oh, phone cards don't count on the K-Books card, much to my dismay. The entrance to the second floor of K-Books is across from the entrance to its phone card shop.
Kiddy Land at the Metropolitan Dept. Store in Ikebukuro sells Totoro plushies, Moomin plushies, and other really cute stuff (but I don't know if you want to include this on your guide)
Everyone should practice their Japanese before they go. I think sometimes reading is more useful than speaking. Try to take along a guide of the hiragana/katakana characters or something...that always helps (I was really glad I learned my characters and could already read kanjii) hmm...and be polite wherever you go so ppl will welcome us again :)
Please, look to the guide for more of her comments.
I'd like to extend my thanks, and those of others who will use the guides, to these people for their helpful feedback.