Japan – Day 5 (10.1)
The first day of October marked the start of the Magi x Animate Cafe collaboration menu, so I decided to go there for lunch. I had spent the morning browsing through Animate and K-Books, and walked over to the Animate Cafe 10 minutes before their opening time. Ikebukuro’s new Animate main store, located off Sunshine-60 doori, is situated right next to the building the cafe is in, so perhaps this might be a useful landmark if you’re planning to visit in future.
Reaching only just before the opening time wasn’t a good idea, as there was a long line stretching up the stairs when I got there. I stood in line for about 10 minutes, and then I received a reservation ticket for 3PM.
I grabbed lunch from the station and made a quick jaunt down to Nakano Broadway again, since I had four hours to kill.
There was a book vending machine at the train station, and I was idly looking through the titles when I noticed they had Konohara Narise’s Hako no Naka novel! I wasn’t aware that it got a bunko release. It’s the first book I’ve bought from a book vending machine.
A quick flip through revealed that it included the Ori no Soto sequel, though it was missing the Natsu Yasumi short story from the original release. However, it came with an essay by Miura Shion, so I guess that justified the purchase. It’s a pity they didn’t keep Kusama Sakae’s illustrations.
For the uninitiated, Hako no Naka is one of Konohara’s best written novels, and Miura Shion is an acclaimed novelist with one of her titles adapted to film. I’ve not read all of their books, but they are both authors I enjoy (Though Konohara’s plot twists tend to get a little melodramatic at times).
After picking up some manga for a friend at Mandarake, I went back to Ikebukuro again.
There was a line for the 3PM slot outside the cafe, and after a short wait, we were ushered inside. Since everyone was given a table number and the menu beforehand, everything went smoothly.
The interior of the cafe was decorated with Magi prints and posters. Some of the waitresses were cosplaying, and there was a space with merchandise for sale next to the dining area.
There were order forms on the table, and the interesting thing here was that instead of writing numerals to indicate quantity, you had to use the character 正. For example, 1 would be a simple ー.
The drinks menu, and bonus coaster designs. Each drink order comes with one random coaster, and for an extra 1000 yen, you can get a special tumbler.
Jafal’s drink was the only alcoholic beverage on the menu, lol.
And the food menu-
I ordered a Judal Black Rufu (Dark Rukh? I had to google it.) parfait and Judal’s Black Sun drink. The Black Sun drink was iced coffee with coffee jelly bits, and it came with a scoop of chocolate ice-cream.
I got the Judal coaster on my first try!
The parfait was sesame soft serve with kuromitsu.
And this was the clear bookmark it came with. Strike!
After too much ice-cream, my second order was the Sindria Seafood Pasta. For comparison, this was the photo on the menu,
And this is the actual serving size.
The display behind my seat was playing the anime trailer on repeat. There were also notebooks in which everyone could write in.
Since it was the first day, I got the first page. Moru-san!
More illustrations on the wall near the exit. Before I left, I tried the badge lucky dip and bought some cookies as souvenirs for friends.
Having achieved my main objective of visiting the cafe, I went to Shibuya for a walk.
After a look around Shibuya 109 and Animate/Mandarake, I visited Shibuya Parco and found that the revamped top floor is now dedicated to anime and net-culture related shops. Coming up from the escalator, the first thing you’ll see is the One Piece themed shop.
There was a giant papercraft Hatsune Miku outside Cospa’s shop! If you look closely, you can see the original-sized papercraft Miku riding on top.
Behind Cospa was the Noitamina shop. They used to be two levels down in Parco, but the new space is much larger than their old shop. It’s full of merchandise, apparel and storyboard/genga displays for Noitamina shows.
Kaoru’s glasses, which you could try on.
His name is printed on the back of the frames.
Hosoya Yoshimasa and Kimura Ryohei’s autographs!
There was also a PSYCHO-PASS poster in the shop.
Next to the Noitamina shop was a T-shirt and accessories shop which carried MARS16 t-shirts. The Penguindrum ones are brillant!
The Kuroko no Basuke Namja Town collaboration was also at Parco, for a limited time only. It was a Monday night so there weren’t many people around, otherwise I’m sure the place would have been mobbed by fangirls.
Wall of Kurobasu.
It was getting late (I spent more time than I thought I would at Shibuya), so I returned to the hotel.
-Flyers from the Noitamina Shop
-Wooser and Darth Wooser from Animate
-Magi file, cookies, bookmarks and coaster from Animate Cafe
-DUCK! T-shirt from the Noitamina Shop
Stuff from Gachapon machines/etc-
-Kuroko badge from the Kurobasu Namja Town at Shibuya Parco
-Fate/Zero Gift badges
-Nitro+ Chiral Gift badges
-Dramatical Murder straps
-Magi badges from the lucky dip at the cafe.
Japan – Day 6 (10.2)
The only thing I had planned for this day was a live concert in the evening, so I spent the morning exploring parts of Tokyo I’ve never been to before. The first place I decided to go to was Kichijouji, and this was what I saw after coming out of the train.
Can’t wait for the Eva movie!
The vending machine at the platform had odd soy milk flavors. From left, Vanilla Ice Cream, Malt Coffee, and Yuzu.
Out of curiosity, I tried the Yuzu flavor.
It was pretty good! And for lunch, I had Yuzu and shredded chicken soba at Fuji Soba.
There was a Parco in Kichijouji, and venturing into the basement bookstore led to this discovery-
A small exhibit of Takarai Rihito’s Hana nomi zo Shiru manuscripts! It was to commemorate the release of the third and final volume.
You can see how the text is pasted on the manuscript lol.
There were several autograph boards, and this Ono Natsume poster on display.
I left Kichijouji for Asagaya (No particular reason why I went to Asagaya, though), and walked through the neighborhood enjoying the atmosphere. Then I saw this.
Hidden away in a side street, one of the studios under A-1 Pictures! Imagine all the wonderful things being created in there.
Not wanting to appear suspicious, I walked away after getting a picture of the sign.
Next I went to Sensouji at Asakusa. It’s famous for being a tourist trap.
And since it was in the area, I decided to visit Tokyo’s latest attraction – The Tokyo Sky Tree! It’s one stop away from Asakusa.
The station is on it’s own train line.
There were many groups of tourists and families.
I like the logos and fonts they used for the signboards! It’s very clean and neat.
You can see the Sky Tree by looking up from the lowest deck. I didn’t buy a ticket to go up to the observatory because I was short on time, but I will if I ever get the chance to visit again!
It’s over 600m tall!
The shops inside the building were, as I expected, mostly souvenir shops. However, there were interesting offerings from the Japanese TV stations, which made sense since the Sky Tree was made to replace the old Tokyo Tower for broadcast over a larger area.
Lots of Domo-kun at the NHK Character shop!
Little wrapped candy boxes.
The Tree Village Tokyo, featuring merchandise from 5 major television stations in one store.
There were exclusive Sky Tree themed goods!
I bought this Azu-nyan file.
The usual wall of Precure.
Cute, but strangely disturbing.
Side Business! Yui’s line from the K-ON movie, and a map of the London Underground.
Having made unplanned purchases (I never thought I would end up getting anime merchandise at the Tokyo Sky Tree), I decided to leave for Shinjuku. I wanted to attend a live at Shinjuku Loft, the Shingo Minamino Pure Night.
It was a tribute live for Minamino Shingo, the man who was stabbed in Osaka many months back. I’ve had the honor of meeting him in person at a local anime convention a year ago, so the news filled me with regret. Minamino Shingo was the man behind most of the music in Nitro+ games, and that is probably what many fans will remember him for.
It took a while to find Shinjuku Loft, because the Koma Gekijyo which I had been using as a landmark to find the place was under renovation. The live had already started before I got there, according to Twitter. I missed Watanabe Kazuhiro’s set, so I hurried down so I wouldn’t miss any more ^^;
The concert featured all the acts Minamino-san was involved in.
Like Last Waltz, the live house was in the basement, and had a heavy sound-proof door which separated the space from the counter. I paid the entrance fee and was given a drink ticket and a slip for re-admission.
Admittedly, I didn’t know any of the acts except for the GEORIDE SPECIAl lineup, but nevertheless I pushed my way to the front row and had a good time listening to the bands play. In between sets, they also played music from Super Sonico! Lives were held simultaneously at the main stage and the bar, but I decided to stay at the main stage since I got a pretty good space in front. I enjoyed all the sets except for NEW ROTE’KA, who had very violent fans who thrashed their way in front and attempted to mosh, if moshing meant sticking your elbow into someone’s face. I managed to stay where I was and in the middle of all the chaos, I pushed my way to the very front and held on to the rail.
Which was a good decision, because after their set was GEORIDE! Curricula Machine was first, then VERTUEUX, then Kimura Seiji, and finally, Itou Kanako! I wasn’t very familiar with Curricula Machine and VERTUEUX outside of their Togainu no Chi songs, and especially since I didn’t watch the anime, I wasn’t sure what they played. However, Kimura Seiji sang the Sweet Pool opening, I’m in Blue, which I recognized at the intro and went a little crazy inside because I never expected them to play it live at this concert. Sweet Pool is my favourite game from Nitro+ Chiral… It was a slow, prog-rock song, and I enjoyed every moment of it.
Itou Kanako was the main draw for me that night, and her first song was Lamento! It was another song I didn’t expect, and along with the rest of the audience in the front row I cheered like mad. She did her usual weird (cute) dance, and had her hair done up in twintails lol. After the first song, she had a short emcee part where she talked about the late Minamino, and how the next song was one of their favourites, and they even went and made a video for the song with still images. I couldn’t believe my ears when the introduction to the second song played. It was Miracles May! Getting both the Sweet Pool opening and ending songs in one night, at a concert where I didn’t expect to hear any songs I could recognize at all, was more than I could take. As embarrassing as it was, I teared up at the second and last song. I’m sure Minamino felt in in heaven, too.
It was a great concert, and a very memorable one.
To end off, here’s a weird doujinshi I bought at K-Books.
The next post will cover the 7th and 8th days of my trip (There’s more!), and will go out of Tokyo to feature Kyoto, Osaka and Shizuoka. Thanks for reading!