In addition to my Comiket 75 shopping spree, I also contributed diligently to the wider economy of Japan in numerous ways, no doubt single-handedly helping the island nation escape the brunt of the on-going global recession and the collapse of our century-old debt-based financial institution. I’m kidding of course: the economy has long passed the point of no return.
Jokes made in bad taste aside, I didn’t actually spend much this trip. In fact, on the whole, I probably spent in my one-month stay about as much as I used to spend in a week-long stay. This is particularly amazing when placed in context with the yen’s current exceedingly high value.
How does this amazing mathematical hocus pocus work? Well, firstly you stay in cheap shared dormitories, and secondly you wait for the daily 50% discount at the supermarket for bento nearing their expiry hour. Also, you learn to not buy every piece of mass-produced fan goods that Gamers stocks. I mean, gee, do I really need another key chain when the same amount of money could be used to buy four second-hand CDs from Book-Off.
And oh yes, the cardinal rule of otaku shopping: second-hand shops are your best friend, your fairy godmother and Santa Claus all rolled into one.
90% of the items you see in the pictures are second-hand. This means that someone’s sweaty overweight paws have touched them all over, but it also means that they are cheap. Fortunately, Japanese generally treat their belongings better, especially when resale value is on their minds due to the thriving second-hand industry.
100 yen (slightly more than 1 USD) is the magical number when it comes to second-hand goods. Newly-released items and rare collector’s items are graded according to physical condition and market demand by the second-hand dealers, usually selling for slightly less or even more than the original retail value. (For example Final Fantasy Dissidia retails officially for 6,000 yen, a dealer buys your old copy for 4,000 yen and sells it for 5,000 yen.)
However, older items that don’t sell often sit on the shelves for years until finally they are sold off in the discount bin for 100 yen. These items may be too old, too crappy, too over-produced or too niched, but whatever the reason 100 yen is a good deal and generally the heavily-discounted price tag is not an indication of the physical quality of the product but rather the lack of demand or overstocking.
I bought 15 volumes of Zipang and 5 volumes of Tenjou Tenge for 105 yen each (5% tax).
Of course, you don’t have to just aim for 105 yen to get a good deal. DVDs for example seldom sell for that low no matter how low in demand. I saw a complete Kimi ga Nozomu Eien DVD set selling for 6,600 yen at Trader‘s Akihabara branch, when each of the DVDs retailed for 6,000 yen.
If you have the patience and time to dig through poorly-organized shelves of used stuff, you can always find a few gems. Those of you Singaporeans in the late teens to twenties might recognize YAT Anshin! Uchuu Ryokou above. Ah, nostalgia, thou art a money-sucking bitch.
The top left CD is a Nami Tamaki single. I had no idea what it was but I just bought it anyway since it was one buck. Also, Sega Saturn copies of Sakura Taisen!
And I added a few more Pactio cards to my collection. The Chiu single is actually an unopened copy. Also, I think this is my third copy of Evangeline’s card. Fanboyism isn’t cheap either.
And above is possibly my best find in a second-hand shop ever. It’s the first press of the limited edition version of my favourite Maaya Sakamoto album Nikopachi. The cover is different from the regular one (somewhat). First press of the limited edition is like getting double jeopardy or something, except the latter is against the law whereas the former is just milking the fans.
If real-life were World of Warcraft, I’d have earned the “Maaya Fanboy For Live” achievement about five times over by now.
And of course I didn’t just buy second-hand stuff. I’m not that cheap. Close but not quite.
And prepare yourself…
Yes, I bought LIVE FIGHTER dammit. And the Blu-ray version too. I don’t even own a Blu-ray player! There’s a back story to go with this expensive purchase. It’s kind of long, so here’s the short version:
Every fricking anime shop in Japan was playing the LIVE FIGHTER recording and for some reason I liked it a lot. There was this exhibition at the Animate main branch in Ikebukuro where they displayed all the costumes Nana wore during the concert. There was also a lucky draw promotion for LIVE FIGHTER purchases.
So yeah. I am heavily susceptible to the right kind of targeted advertising and ended up coughing up 9,450 yen for LIVE FIGHTER despite not being a huge Nana fan.
And not just that…
I also picked up the CDs for Suddenly ~Meguriaete~ and Dancing in the velvet moon, my two favourite Nana songs. For what reason? Because Animate gives people who buy over 2,000-yen worth of Nana CDs and DVDs (but not Blu-ray) a limited edition photo of her in a kimono. Kind of creepy if you think about it. Heh.
My current long-term plan is to somehow leverage this photo to recoup my monetary losses from Moyism (the Nana Stalker) somehow. The plan is still in the conception stage.
And finally, I bought these…
That looks like 2,000 bucks worth of mobile phones right there. But in actual fact, they cost four dollars in total.
They are actually one-one models used in mobile phone shops in Japan to promote phones. They weigh and feel exactly like the real thing but are otherwise useless. I found a shop in Akihabara selling these off for cheap because it no longer needs them.
And of course, a little slice of Gundam thrown in for those G00 fans who are still reading my blog for some inexplicable reason.
P.S. I really need to finish my Comiket report some time before C76…
P.P.S. Yes I am torrenting the HD encoding of LIVE FIGHTER now to make my money worth.