Akihabara booty


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.

Alpha – Amano Kozue Illustration Works. Hardbound artbook in slipcase featuring the work of ARIA creator Amano Kozue. 3,130 yen.

Stella – Amano Kozue Illustration Works 2. Hardbound artbook in slipcase featuring the work of ARIA creator Amano Kozue. 3,130 yen.

Cielo – Amano Kozue Illustration Works 3. Hardbound artbook in slipcase featuring the work of ARIA creator Amano Kozue. 3,130 yen.

School Rumble Treasure File. Tankoubon-format paperback character/information guidebook for the School Rumble manga series. 400 yen (bargain price from a Book Off store).

ARIA Official Navigation Guide. Tankoubon-format paperback character/information guidebook for the ARIA manga series. 820 yen.

Suzumiya Haruhi-chan no Yuuutsu 01. Manga compilation of the 4-koma series parodying the Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu franchise. 567 yen.

Suzumiya Haruhi-chan no Yuuutsu 02. Manga compilation of the 4-koma series parodying the Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu franchise. 588 yen.

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.

Cylindrical ceramic tea cup 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.)


7 Responses

  1. Yay! That’s a great loot! 😀

    It sounds like navigating Japan with all those accessories you were caring around was not easy at all! 😦 However, it does look like you found some interesting souvenirs – I especially like the cups 🙂

  2. The title misleaded me to believe that you obtained some Akihabara “booty”. 😦

    Three Aria artbooks, super nice. I still need to watch it someday. At my current anime pace, by the end of the year would be nice.

  3. Welcome back! You could always just import loot and just buy the stuff that you can’t 😉

    So did you manage to enjoy the full bloom of cherry blossoms?

  4. @Kitsune: Navigating Japan with half a tonne of luggage – not easy at all. But sans luggage, finding one’s way through the country’s infamously labyrinthine stations was much easier than I’d feared. More on that in future reports.

    @Yamcha: That kind of, er, booty, is not something I usually search for whilst on holiday.

    And yes, do watch (or, if you prefer the original manga, read) Aria when time allows. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for my part I can’t recommend it highly enough.

    @Xcomp: I do regret not buying a few more lightweight articles (a couple of CDs, for example, or some fancy keychains) mainly because the savings on postage and tax would have been quite substantial.

    As for the cherry blossoms, by my reckoning I missed full bloom by one or two weeks – but that’s quite all right because they looked splendid enough when I was there. The Japanese must have thought the same, judging from the droves of them that turned up wherever I went (especially in Tokyo’s parks), cameras at the ready. I saw and photographed some extraordinarily beautiful specimens on my walks – and rest assured, I’ll share those same views with everyone in future reports.

  5. […] This is one of the three artbooks mentioned in my 06 April post describing the stuff I purchased from Akihabara. Reviews of the other two artbooks will also be […]

  6. […] did very little shopping on this day (most of the stuff featured in this earlier post was purchased during a future visit), but I did treat myself to a couple of Nyanko-sensei […]

  7. […] I could have gotten this in Japan for a much lower price and in better condition (together with the three hardbound artbooks for the ARIA manga series), but for some reason, I didn’t. Now that error has been rectified and my ARIA artbook […]

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