Nakano is another popular place in Japan for those who aims to complete their Gundam collection or maybe just want to submerge themselves into reading volumes and volumes of manga. Though it remains a must go to destination for the otaku, the recent development of the nearby Akihabara has partially shifted away the attention of the fanatic and tourist a like.
I decided to check-out this area for two reasons: a) Christmas gifts hunting at Nakano Broadway b) canvass for my dream film camera (Rolleiflex TLR) at the second hand shop Fujiya.
Once you exit the JR station, Nakano Broadway is the first building that you will see. The first floor is just your typical shops selling the usual stuff. As you continue to walk ahead, then you will step into the otaku haven. With second to fourth floor dedicated on fulfilling the needs of comics, action figures, and Blythe dolls fanatic, with Mandarake store occupying most spaces, this complex is another testament to one obvious characteristic of the Japanese- devotion and obsession (in a good way I suppose).
There are two things that I like about this place: a) dolls b) vinyl record shop.
I always thought that Barbie is the most glamorous doll available in the market but visiting Nakano Broadway has opened my mind to the idea of having completely naked, bald headed doll into a character that you want her to be. Unlike Barbie, which always comes in a pre-defined package of blond hair and pink purse, the dolls (ball jointed) sold at Nakano are something that you need to invest on in order to transform her into the character you want her to be. Most shops in Nakano are selling everything- wigs, clothes, shoes, accessories- anything that you need if you want her to look like a Goth Goddess, let say. But be warned, they are expensive.
I was very happy when I saw this vinyl record shop. I always wanted to own one and maybe listen to music in a different way other than the ipod. Though they sell very cheap records, they don’t sell any second hand player. I was told by the shop owner that if I am really seriously considering buying one, he can refer me to other second hand shop or just take my chance and visit a weekend flea market to scout one.
I did not manage to buy anything nor found the Fujiya Camera shop. In Japan, its a norm to look up or down when you want to buy something or dine in. Most of the time, the best shops are located on higher floors or in the basement, where actually reaching it is a bit cumbersome. Unfortunately, Fujiya is one of those shops, where you need to get lost before you can find it. Maybe next time.