Diego catalogues the paltry spoils of his recent incursions into Tokyo’s famed otaku stronghold.
Here’s a list of the stuff I harvested during my Akihabara raids (not including freebies and any items I purchased on my sister’s behalf). One item – the School Rumble guide – is, strictly speaking, not from Akiba: I got it from a Book Off branch near my hotel in the Ueno area.
In accordance with my standard blogging procedures, I intend to write reviews covering the three Amano Kozue artbooks (which are bloody brilliant, by the way – Amano-sensei is one heck of an illustrator!) and publish them on Wolf Hurricane. The other things aren’t really worth a closer look, although I might put up a brief post about those Nyanko-sensei teacups.
The Sneaker, April 2009. New issue of the popular light novel magazine. Includes a reversible shitajiki featuring Suzumiya Haruhi on one side (by Itou Noiji) and various characters from the parody series Suzumiya Haruhi-chan no Yuuutsu on the other (by Puyo). 740 yen.
Deep ceramic tea bowl featuring the Natsume Yuujinchou character Nyanko-sensei. 840 yen.
So, what’s with the meagre haul of anime-related goodness?
From the very beginning my expedition to the Land of Raw Fish on Rice was planned as a Japanophile’s excursion, not an otaku’s shopping trip. But like any brainwashed anime junkie, I felt that a brief pilgrimage to Tokyo’s fanboy mecca was necessary in order to make this a “well-rounded” visit (ha!), and as others can attest no brainwashed anime junkie ever walks into Akiba and comes out (financially) unscathed.
I was also careful not to break the bank, although cash wasn’t really a problem – I had deliberately overbudgeted and returned with nearly half of my pocket money unspent and my credit limit barely dented.
No, there was a more pressing reason than either finances or holiday goals for the severe curtailing of my urge to buy, buy, buy: spare storage space. Or, to be precise, the near-complete lack thereof. My laundry skills are nonexistent and since I was unwilling to pay the exorbitant charges levied by hotel cleaners, I had to drag along enough clean clothes to cover the entire two-week trip. With the arsenal of portable gadgetry I’d taken along (including a netbook) and all the native knick-knacks and souvenirs I was lugging back home (books, decorated boxes, Kyou-sensu, a sake jug and matching cups, etc.), I was lucky I could still jam in the swag pictured above.
Oh, and try navigating the labyrinthine network of train platforms, ticket gates, stairs, escalators and lifts of a typical Japanese hub station at rush hour with a large stroller bag, an overstuffed backpack and a shoulder computer case. The first person who tells me it’s a piece of cake may soon experience first hand what it’s like to have a traditional sake jug shoved three feet down his oesophagus.
(And no, he can’t keep the jug.)