It’s my second day in Tokyo. It’s only 8pm right now but it feels like midnight because the sun sets at 4pm…
This is the fourth time I’ve been to Japan, but it’s the first time I’ve stayed in any place other than Ikebukuro. I have stayed in Sunshine City Prince (east Ikebukuro), Hotel Metropolitan (central Ikebukuro) and Grand House Chang Tee (west Ikebukuro) on three separate occasions, so you can say that Ikebukuro’s the place that I am most familiar with in the whole of Japan.
I realize that I suck at taking pictures for introducing a place. But it’s okay because these parts of Ikebukuro are unimportant. By the way, Tokyu Hand is a really cool franchise store that sells all sorts of awesome things from ant farms to plamo to DIY supplies to marble Rube Goldberg kits. Some examples:
The most important area in Ikebukuro is the Otome Road. It has tons of BL and yaoi (hence the nickname), but don’t let that deter you from visiting this awesome place. (Unless you are a fujoshi, in which case further convincing is not needed.) The shops along Otome Road have awesome deals for secondhand item and limited edition collectibles.
Here’s a map of Otome Road. I will include the locational names in Japanese below so you can compare.
Walking from the south, the first place that you’ll probably see is the main branch of Animate (アニメイト本店), the biggest anime chain store in Japan, and probably the world.
The main branch had a renovation since the last time I visited over a year ago. They shifted the position of the main entrance for some reason.
A few steps further down the road from Animate lies an inconspicuous stairway to Lashinbang (らしんばん). This is a secondhand store that sells doujinshi, event-limited collectibles and various other rare character goods. You can find some good deals here, but it’s hard to say for sure as prices are often set quite arbitrarily and can vary greatly from store to store.
Moving on, we find K-Books’ anime section (K-BOOKS アニメ館). This is similar to Lashinbang, except that it does not sell doujinshi. The last time I was here, I bought an episode script for Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. (The kind that seiyuu use.) You can get some really rare stuff here if you can afford the premium. If not, look for cheap deals and enjoy the secondhand savings.
K-Books panders quite a bit to the fujoshi crowd, so it’s wise to stay out of any area with suspiciously-pink decor. The next store is K-Books too, this one with more doujin-related items.
Next we have Mandarake (まんだらけ), a famous franchise store for doujin products. Their Ikebukuro branch deals exclusively with BL, so proceed with caution.
Finally, K-Books has two additional outlets farther down the street. The doujinshi section (K-BOOKS 同人館) deals with BL and yaoi doujinshi (K-BOOKS コミック館), while the comics section has awesome deals for secondhand manga, often with entire sets up for sale.
Cheap as they may be, manga are absolutely the worst thing you can get in Japan as a tourist due to the weight limit placed on your check-in luggage.
But still, the price is tempting.
Well, that’s about it for Otome Road.
On a closing note, for those of you who are wondering about the doujinshi…
From left to right, top down:
- Paper Crown – Blade Works (crap)
- T2 Art Works – Entangle
- Kagi No-do – HowTo Hatsune Miku (okay)
- Lost Rarities – Industial (decent)
- Kohakutei & Sakai-Hamachi – EDEN -Rei7- (frigging awesome)
- T2 Art Works – Nekomimi Batoraa
- T2 Art Works – Watashi wa Kyozetsu suru!
- Hiro Suzuhira – Heart-Work 2005
- Hiro Suzuhira – Heart-Work 2007 Summer
- Hiro Suzuhira – Heart-Work 2006 Summer
Total expenditure (food and transport included) today: ￥7,367.