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Proud Confession: I am a Nerd

Monday, fortunately, was a day off school, so I opted to do something I've wanted to do for a while and head over to Ikebukuro. I did this by myself, and just to give a hint as to how proud I am of myself for being able to navigate this place all by myself let me put it in perspective: Ikebukuro Station is the second busiest station in all of Japan, second only to Shinjuku. Both of which I've been to and transfered around in, without getting seriously lost. I mean, even some Japanese people don't like those two stations, if my host family is any example, because they said themselves they think they're too mazelike. But I digress. Point is, I felt awesome about myself for a bit.

Personally, I rather like the vibe that Ikebukuro gives off, business and all. To me it has a different beat than the rest of Tokyo, and for some reason it makes me feel extra alive, like I'm part of some large piece of music with this addictive beat running through it. It doesn't make much sense, I know, but it's how I felt.

Also, the fact that Ikebukuro is the setting for one of my favorite animes doesn't hurt either.

Armed with a map that I printed off online that marked out a few of the places I wanted to go, I set about trying to actually find my way there. It looked much less confusing online than it did in person. Fortunently, Ikebukuro is touristy enough to have maps posted on every street corner or so, and with a little comparison I was able to find my way to where I wanted to go: Animate! (Note: at one point, as I was trying to orient myself at an especially large intersection, a very sweet old Japanese lady came up and asked me if I needed help. That is just one reason I love Japan. No one in America does that.)
So there we have Animate, a small heaven for otaku goods. It made me happy. Sometimes going to these sorts of places with someone is nice, but I did want to go alone just once so I could take all the time I wanted.

NINE FLOORS of that. NINE. Including some creepy things that made me pause and go...WTF is that?

Are those eyes not creepy or what? And the name..Blythe. Reminds me of Scythe. Not a good comparison at all...

From Animate I walked down the street to Lashinbag (I think that's how its spelled) where they have discount manga (YAY), bin diving and doujinshi (fan comics). Fun fact: the street I was on is sometimes called "Otome Road". Which means, more or less, "Virgin" or "Maiden Road". Reason being, most of the goods and doujinshi cater to women...which means you see a lot of BL (boy's love).
In the defense of women everywhere, if Ikebukuro caters to women, Akihabara is geared toward men, so you see a lot of pictures of busty girls and maid cafes and other stuff for your average, healthy boy.

And if I may have my rant, it bothers me that on some level it's culturally acceptable for men to do stuff like that, but if women are into something like that it's weird. Otome Road is sometimes called "Fallen Woman" road (or something like that) or other insulting terms. I haven't heard of anything like that for Akihabara. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but just thought I'd throw that out there...
More manga and whatnot. I didn't go in this one.

Right across the street from Animate is Sunshine City, which is a combo shopping mall/what used to be the tallest building in Tokyo. It has an aquarium and a planetarium and a viewing deck, so it's a pretty popular destination.

I didn't go in it, but there was a bagel cafe where I had a nice lunch special of soup and a bagel and a drink. I stayed there for a while, reading a book and just relaxing.

The view. The building just to the left of the animate has one of the larger (largest?) Toyota showrooms in Tokyo (or something like that.)

Then I slowly wandered back to the station, and popped into the flagship Seibu department store.
That picture does not do its size justice. It is MASSIVE. Ridiculously so. I am very glad I had a purpose for going in there, otherwise I would have gotten hopelessly lost. Deparment stores don't need to be the size of small American towns. I'm sure a few could fit inside of it quite comfortably.

Random Hello Kitty store. Terrifyingly cute?

Then I headed home, where I proceded to begin the rather daunting stack of thank-you notes I need to write. They take three times as long since they're all in Japanese and I have to make sure I don't make any hugely obvious grammatical errors.
T-10 days. It doesn't feel real yet, the fact that I'm coming home soon.


  1. This location has been added to my "list of places to go should I ever return to Japan". Thanks.

    I hope you're excited to be coming home! I know I want to hear all about this trip when you get back.

  2. Oh my goodness I am literally fangirling right now. You are so lucky! To even be in the town/ location of Durarara!!! <3 <3 <3 And all the BL comics. :D So. much. anime. xD Oh so much jealousy from me right now. So unbelievably lucky! I want to go to Ikebukuro in the future!


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