Today was our day off in Tokyo. What better way to spend it than shopping for anime stuff? David of MangaSearch gave us the location of a big anime/manga store (the 7 stories high Animate store in Ikebukuro, opposite of Sunshine City). He sent me a rough map, but the Lonely Planet guide also contained directions to Sunshine City, so we went for it.
Now, saturday is probably the busiest day in the week in Japan for shops. Schools are out in the afternoon, and parents with little children go shopping with their offspring. And of course, the toy and entertainment shops are the most popular destination. Those seem to be concentrated around Ikebukuro station...
We made our way through the crowds. When we stood still to re-orient ourselves, one of the many people trying to give folders to the passers-by, came up to us to help us. Again, the reputation of indifference the Japanese seem to suffer is proven completely unfounded. I wish the Dutch were as friendly. I think I'm going to try to be more friendly, polite and helpful like the Japanese -- that would certainly make the world a better place.
We pushed our way through the crowds, encountering the occasional folder-pushing person. It was pretty amusing to see how they worked. Some just tried to give their folder to anyone, others decided we weren't their target audience and didn't offer us their piece of colorful paper. We came by a lot of game arcades and pachinko parlors. We also saw the Sanrio Gift Gate, but we didn't dare enter (though I did see they had Hello Kitty pyjama's there...).
I dragged Ingeborg into the HMV, because I wanted to get Maaya Sakamoto's new CD, a collection of singles released earlier. I looked at the new releases section, but it wasn't to be found there... I don't know the order of the Japanese alphabet, so it's not easy for me to search for something. Heck, I don't even know how to write "Sakamoto Maaya" in kanji, so even if I knew the order, it wouldn't do me any good. So I asked a store clerk in my best Japanese, and he showed me where it was. I got a few curious looks from him and the other clerk behind the cash register, but hey, see if I care! So now I am the proud owner of the Maaya Sakamoto singles collection (it has another title, but I can't read that...), the first pressing, which contains a DVD with four tracks (including a live version of 'Gravity', the ending theme of Wolf's Rain). The DVD will have to wait until we return home, but the CD is now playing in the laptop!
We dragged ourselves to the Animate, which was pretty crowded. If only I could read Japanese, I'd buy a load of manga and computer RPGs... *sigh* And yes, it was 7 floors big. We spent quite some time there, and acquired a huge amount of lewt.
It took us a long time to go through all the floors. On the top floor, they had an exposition about E's Otherwise. The original pages of the next installment of the manga were displayed, along with character and mechanical designs for the anime. Some DVDs have that kind of stuff as extra, but it was pretty neat to see it up close.
Then I discovered a K-books store a few doors from the Animate, so I dragged Ingeborg in there as well, but we didn't spend too much time there.
We crossed the street and went inside the Sunshine City, in search of towels. Lots of shops and people, no towels to be found. Back to Ikebukuro, to the department store there, and we did score a handsome set of towels there. So now we're fully prepared for our stay in a Minshuku tomorrow!
It's now half past six, time to grab some dinner and hit the sack early: tomorrow we'll have to haul our luggage to the Akasaka Prince hotel for the tour to Hakone...