Continued from Part Two
After Sunday's long march, we were determined to take it a little easier on Monday. And we did. We slept late and took our sweet time getting out of the hotel and wandered through the neighborhood towards the train station, passing lots of closed up nightclubs. Including this one which apparently has a "Rose Of Versailles" theme:
We never did see this place during operating hours, so who knows what kind of establishment this is? Lesbian bar? Transvestite bar? Transvestite lesbian manga cafe? Fencing school? Historical manga re-enactment society headquarters? We shook our heads and moved on to Mr. Donut, who not only has a decent donut, but the coffee is also OK and unlike Tim Horton's, they will come by your table with refills.
From there, acting on travel advice given to us by darn near everybody but fleshed out into action-plans for us by the mighty Tim "The Hammer" Eldred, we hopped the train to Nakano Broadway, (warning, link has embedded music so turn your speakers down) a "Holy place for Otaku in Tokyo." For once the internet hype isn't lying. This building is filled with fairly normal business establishments on the ground floor but above is honecombed with shops selling toys, figures, manga, doujinshi of all stripes, video games, animation cels, records, DVDs; much like Akihabara but with less moe and more Showa. Oh you don't believe me. Well, look.
The first place we went into had a case full of Prince Planet memorabilia. That's right, the show I watched when I was 2 that began my obsession with bug-eyed Japaheeno cartoons, all rendered in plastic and screen-printed metal still life.
I am still deeply psychologically moved by my experiences at Nakano Broadway. We bought some cheap cels and old 45 singles and manga and spent most of the afternoon shopping, and then we went downstairs to the coffee shop and had some drinks, and then we went back upstairs and made sure we didn't miss anything. We then got back on the train and went back to Shinjuku and dropped our stuff off at the hotel and rested a bit, and then we went back out to Ikebukuro on the advice of Shain's research which had uncovered several manga/anime type shops in the area. Long ago a turtle came out of a lake carrying a bag on its back, and hence Ikebukuro ("pond bag") got its name. Today it's home to a giant Seibu department store, the Sunshine City entertainment complex, and a Wendy's.
We did not go in the Wendy's. I am still sore on them for their terribly misleading "boneless wings" advertising. At any rate, we wandered around looking for "Otome Road", didn't find it, found a four story manga/anime superstore (first floor, anime DVDs and doujinshi for ladies. Second floor toys and kits. Third floor doujinshi for men with lots of porn. Fourth floor - big warning signs informing us that beyond this point only those aged 18 and up will be admitted. BELIEVE THOSE SIGNS, people, because if you think it can't get any worse, IT DOES.), found another shop that was tucked away around a corner and was nothing but doujinshi for the ladies, and from there got directions to the Animate store, four floors of anime stuff including the customary floor jammed with deviant transgressive homemade comics about cartoon characters learning more about themselves. Also cool Ultraman merchandise and merchandise from darn near everything else.
We had dinner at the Denny's, where I found the Grand Slam and the Moons Over My Hammy to be completely nonexistent, though Shain did get the "American Club Sandwich", which contains that basic ingredient of Japanese cooking, an egg. Of course this invalidates it being a club sandwich, but whatever. And then we went back to the hotel for a good night's rest. Tomorrow: Jimbocho/Kanda! Oyasuminasai, inflatable Prince Planet!
More to come in Part Four