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Japan Trip 2012 – Nipponbashi, Harajuku

So right after finishing university, my friends and I decided to go to Japan for our graduation trip (May-June 2012). Japan was a high in our choice of destination for a vacation. For my friends, it was of cultural interest and a new place to see. For me, it was the Holy Land of anime, and also the place where my figure collecting hobby would emerge. But the loots and food blog entries will come at the end.

The following series of “Japan Trip 2012” blog posts will simply be pictorial guides of my adventure through Japan. I’ll try to caption most of the pictures and include as many anime-related pictures as possible. Sets of photos are roughly in chronological order, though some places (aka Akihabara) will have multiple sets since we went back there multiple times. There’s 30 or so albums of photos from my Japan trip, and each blog post will contain 2-4 albums worth, so prepare your mouse for a lot of scrolling. So without further ado, enjoy the tour!

Nipponbashi

Next stop was Nipponbashi, aka Den Den Town, aka Akiba #2. My plan was to unload my wallet in Nipponbashi, then wrap things up in Akihabara.

Another open mall

Manly moments were spent here

lolwut

Impressive lolita outfits store

Shopping district (note that we aren’t in Nipponbashi yet, we are in the area around it)


I was very happy to see Perfume is still active (one of the few non-anime related groups whose music I love, followed by the AyuTrance remixes)

Restaurant street, there were tons of amazing restaurants here (but alas, only one stomache)

Giant Enemy Crab

Giant Enemy Octopus?

Giant Enemy Pufferfish…

Ika Musume money

Giant Ally Pocky! (and related)

Apparently this guy is a famous landmark. He kinda looks like Waldo, on crack, with drums >_>

No!

Nostrils

We poked our head inside a pachinko parlour. Demographics were unsurprising

Cheap point-and-shoot camera (borrowed from parents) taking a picture of fancy DSLR cameras. I really need to upgrade before my next trip…

Fire trucks in Japan look a lot more cartoony for some reason.

A net cafe. I think the “Peanuts” is a reference to the Charlie Brown comic Peanuts

Nipponbashi, we’re here! Holy Land #2 for figure collectors

A quick walk down the street. We split up after this so I could go on a shopping spree.



Super Kids Land, the first stop in my books. In the past, this was an entire building dedicated to selling Gundam merchandise (or so I read). Now, the gunpla section just occupies one floor. I still spent a lot of time there though, going through each shelf and grabbing gunpla. In the end, I went to the counter with 40,000 yen worth of gunpla kits(see loot blog entry at the end of this series of blog entries). I had them hold the box of gunpla for me for later pickup so I could browse other stores in Nipponbashi without worrying about lugging a huge box with me. No pictures allowed so none to show unfortunately.


A really cool store that supposedly focuses on doujin artist works. Upstairs there’s auctions for artwork. Prior to this, I really never looked much into doujin works (other than Touhou Project) but I have been following Kantoku’s 5-y.2-d.jp blog (such DFCs) so this place was quite a gem. I ended up walking away with my first artbook, Kantoku’s “STEP” artbook.





First used figure store I seriously browsed through. I think the prices were pretty decent though the store itself is somewhere in one of the alleys so not so easy to find. I ended up buying almost 10,000 yen worth of stuff here, including the Arcueid beach queen prize figure (I was flabbergasted that I could just buy prize figures for 1,000 yen or so). More details will be in my loots blog entry at the end

Kotobukiya store. Warning: It’s a tourist trap. Unlike what you’d expect, buying figures from the official store is MORE expensive from buying it from anywhere else. It is worth browsing for the displays of figures though. Technically not supposed to take photos here either but it was too impressive to resist. Not going to link the NSFW shelf picture though ; P



Some other stores I only briefly passed by and browsed. Keep in mind my friends gave me a 2hr time limit (more for my sake than theirs), so I couldn’t spend too much time thoroughly combing through each store. That’ll happen in my next trip though ; 3







Weib-Schwarz is quite popular there apparently. I was very tempted to buy all the MELTY BLOOD cards (and the Lychee Carnival Phantasm cards) but I realized they aren’t really display material (also why I don’t collect phone cards, pencil boards, etc.) and I’d have no one to play the actual card game with.

There were also maid cafes and maids wandering the streets just like Akiba

I really, REALLY wanted to go buy this, but my 2hr time limit was up so I was running back to our rendezvous point.

Me with the giant box of gunpla from Super Kids Land strapped to my back (the ropes were actually digging into my shoulder blades and was kinda painful). Note that all the gunpla kits barely fit that box – I actually ended up not getting any kits from Gundam 00 since I figured the series was new enough that I could pick them up virtually anywhere (compared to all the old Gundam Wing HG kits, especially a 10,800 yen PG Wing Zero Custom <3). Again, see the loot post later for more details.

My friend’s reaction to me and my Gundams

Harajuku

I believe that’s the singer LiSA

Tokyo Plasa has a really cool entrance – the entire ceiling is covered with mirrors in a crystal like display

It says Harajuku St. but it doesn’t look right…

Wandering around looking for the real entrance…


While at a shoe store, we noticed that we all coincidentally wear Nikes

The REAL entrance of Harajuku’s famous street

Of course AKB48’s store is right there at the entrance

The girls here really dress interestingly and stylish – Harajuku is known as the fashion centre of Japan, where all the latest clothing trends originate

A gothic lolita store that we spent some time browsing through to buy a gift outfit for a friend. The store is tucked away in a corner on one of the side streets somewhat near the entrance



All the food pictures would be saved for another post, but the crepes here were amazing =w=

Rainbow Bridge

Was kinda disappointing. I come back here again for Odaiba though





Asakusa Again

This time the lantern was unfurled

Holy cr@p, its Simba the White Lion (aka the original Lion King character before Disney decided to rip it off the old Japanese series)

Koala, wut r u doin? Koala, stahp!

MyFigureCollection: http://myfigurecollection.net/blog/6067
Flickr Nipponbashi: https://www.flickr.com/photos/keripo/sets/72157641646155603/
Flickr Harajuku: https://www.flickr.com/photos/keripo/sets/72157641642985025/
Flickr Rainbow Bridge: https://www.flickr.com/photos/keripo/sets/72157641646646513/
Flickr Asakusa Again: https://www.flickr.com/photos/keripo/sets/72157641646646523/

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