Saturday, October 31, 2015

Shopping in Ikebukuro (Happy Halloween!)

Happy Halloween you guys! Halloween is over for me, but for you guys it's probably just starting. Today I went to Ikebukuro to do some shopping. What started out as a quest for Japanese textbooks turned into a walk down anime road.

The reason I went to Ikebukuro was actually because Undariya invited me to go along with her to the huge bookstore there. She wanted to get more Japanese practice books, and I needed to get a book that sensei recommended to me--it has just about every type of grammar point you could possibly want in Japanese. Finding the bookstore proved to be somewhat of a challenge, but after consulting Google Maps many times, we found it. The funniest thing I found in the store was once again, a Star Wars Section.

This shelf is entirely dedicated to Star Wars material that helps you learn English from Japanese, or vice versa. If you're going to learn a different language, why not make it fun, right? The best thing I saw was a Storm Trooper themed Japanese dictionary. I considered buying it, but decided I had no real use for it as long as I had my phone.

After Undariya found her book, she was ready to head back. But I didn't want to spend Halloween doing nothing in my room (although I admit the idea was tempting). So although unsure of what would happen if I was left alone in a major city, I bid goodbye to Undariya and set out on an adventure.

I had actually heard about a place called Animate Cafe, which is an anime-themed cafe that changes its themes every month or so. Right now its theme was Ensemble Stars, which is a rhythm game you can play on your phone. A lot of my friends are into it right now, so I thought to set out and try my luck. And with the use of Google Maps, I found myself on the other side of Ikebukuro.

Unfortunately, you need a reservation to do anything here. It was still amazing to see! The cafe was on the top floor, and the other five floors were filled with cosplay resources. Surprisingly, there were a lot of cosplayers in this area. When me and Undariya exited the train station, there weren't many people in costumes. But as soon as I went to the other side, there were tons! I felt like I was at Anime Expo.

And after I left that building and explored the nearby area, I could see why. Just about every shop had to do with anime or video games! It was amazing. I kind of went crazy shopping there. I was going to return home, when I saw the absolute largest anime store that you'll see in your lifetime.

This store is a whopping nine floors tall. Nine floors of anime merchandise. The first floor was all new and promoted stuff; the next two floors were all manga and other books relating to anime; the fourth floor was all clothing; the fifth and sixth floors were various keychains and merchandise; the seventh floor was DVDs and CDs; and the eighth and ninth floor were dedicated to specific anime (Hetalia and Touken Ranbu respectively). Needless to say, it was a lot to take in.

I ended up having quite a shopping spree. At that point I hadn't been able to shop much anime stuff yet, and that definitely fit my quota. I gave up looking through things thoroughly at the fifth floor. But still, I ended up buying quite a few things. Here's a few pictures of what the exhibitions and such looked like:

Basically, just anime everywhere. I also was trying to minimize taking pictures because my phone was at less than 20%, and I still had to figure out how to get home by myself. 

In the end, I was able to navigate my way back to the dorm using Google Maps and my own somewhat reliable sense of direction. I was quite proud of myself for this achievement, since I hadn't figured out the train lines by myself up until this point. Now I'm totally a pro! (Probably...)

I bought a lot of Dangan Ronpa merchandise... But it's really rare in the US, so I was excited. The book that I bought is 512 pages long..... It has concept art and just about every kind of reference you could want from the first two games. I also bought a few presents for friends! It seems I found another prime place to do some Christmas shopping. No more buying for myself.... I feel like I just went to an Anime Expo... (Don't worry, I did not spend as much as I do there today.)

To finish off the day, I bought some cute Halloween-themed bread from a bakery nearby! I hope you guys have a great Halloween! I know I did, even though it wasn't in the way I expected.


  1. Hana! So impressed by your confidence and adventurousness! Noah and I will really be relying on you to help us get around, as will Auntie Carole and Uncle Paul. What's with the wall of post-its? Fan Art? Can everyone in Japan draw anime characters, or what? Do you know if Star Wars comes out in December in Japan like it does here? If so, maybe we can see it together? Now, how to get all of your goodies and gifts back to California...?!

    1. The wall of post-its were notes you could leave, so yeah, a lot of ppl left fan art. I checked and it does come out in December here, so we could go see it together! I'm so glad. As for sending back goodies, when there's a will there's a way...