Winter Holiday in Japan: Game, Toy, Anime Edition

I was in Japan for two weeks and I just returned last night. I didn’t do much gaming there because I placed more importance on other activities. I did take a lot of pictures and bought a bunch of stuff, though.

This is one of many used goods shops (recycle shops) I visited. The majority of items in these shops are in good condition, even the games. Most of the games, especially for the past two generations, come with boxes and manuals in good condition. This particular shop sells used toys, …:

 

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Used/vintage games, …:

 

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As well as many other second-hand items, such as CDs, records, clothing, and random assorted sundries.

I spent some time wandering Akihabara in Tokyo, looking at/for toys and games. Akihabara is one of the major places to go in Tokyo if you are looking for anime, toys, and games (new and vintage). Here are a couple of pictures:

 

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I also went to Shibuya, also in Tokyo. If you’ve played The World Ends With You, this sight may be familiar:

 

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A Final Fantasy: Dissidia advert at the Shibuya train/metro station:

 

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Konami, known for the Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania, and Silent Hill series of games, also runs a chain of gyms in Japan:

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The following was taken in Den Den Town in Osaka. Den Den Town is a section of Osaka where many game, anime, and toy shops are located, kind of like what Akihabara is to Tokyo.

 

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If you’ve played Mirror’s Edge, the next few pictures may be of interest. The Mirror’s Edge developers have stated that the nameless city in the game is not modeled after any one particular city, however during my travels in Japan, many urban spaces reminded me so much of the architecture within the game

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One of the interesting things about the Japanese games market is how varied the player base is, and consequently the types of games released. This is particularly true for the DS, but the PSP is also marketed as a portable console for all gamers, including women. For example, I found marketing advertising targeted specifically to women, in which the PSP was presented as a friendly and stylish product. On the subway, there were many types of people playing portable consoles. I saw more women playing PSPs in Japan than I think would be the case in the West. Judging by what is played on the subway, the PSP is performing well in Japan. For the DS, you can find games for (left to right) training/exercising your face (it comes with a camera so you can see your face on the DS screen), selecting wines for all types of meals (there is also a bartending/mixed drinks DS game in the same series, both published by EA), and practicing your kanji brush strokes (complete with a ‘brush’ stylus!):

 

 

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I’m a huge Studio Ghibli film fan, and one of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the Ghibli Museum:

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This is a sampling of the goodies I came home with after the trip (there are other purchases I haven’t shown such as my modest haul of J-music CDs and yet more Animal Crossing plushies). Click through to the Flickr page for notes about the picture:

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The most expensive piece was a boxed, Limited Edition Mother 3 GameBoy Advance Micro:

 

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I haven’t played Mother or Earthbound, but my partner is a huge fan, and I have always wanted a GBA Micro, so it all works out. I just have to be extra super careful when I use the Micro.

So there you have it, a pictorial review of the gamer/anime/toy aspects of my holiday. All my pictures from my holiday in Japan are located here.

  21 comments for “Winter Holiday in Japan: Game, Toy, Anime Edition

  1. 6 January 2009 at 01:40

    Oh wow, you brought a Teto plush back! That’s awesome! :) Some of your pictures are amazing as well.

    Welcome back, if I may say so ;)

  2. 6 January 2009 at 02:20

    The Teto plush was one of the few Nausicaa-related items at the Ghibli Museum. They’re heavily promoting “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea”, their most recent release. Nausicaa is one of my favourite Ghibli films, and I just had to get the plushie. :-)

    Thank you, I hope you had a great holiday as well! I’m looking forward to seeing your pics when you go on your Japan trip, too! :-D

  3. 6 January 2009 at 06:46

    Yup, eventually ;)

    About Nausicaa, that’s my favourite manga ever. The film is good but not as good as the “comics”, in my opinion. I think it actually covers only 2 volumes out of 7, which is a bit of a shame but there is so much you can put in a 90-minute movie.

    I cherish my French edition of the manga more than any of the other manga I have, and I strongly recommend it if you haven’t read it (which I doubt).

    Anyway, don’t get me started on Nausicaä! And a happy new year ;)

  4. 6 January 2009 at 06:46

    Very nice pictures! The one in the group of the temple at night (4666) is also gorgeous.

    I just started playing Mother 3 in the fan translation. Are you going to try playing it in Japanese, or will your partner?

  5. 6 January 2009 at 06:47

    Also: Agh! Deer secks photo!

  6. 6 January 2009 at 09:44

    Thank you! :-) I think I got a little over-eager with the camera at times, but I’m glad I took as many pictures as I did.

    I’m not going to play Mother 3 in Japanese (I don’t have plans to play the other games or Earthbound right now, either), but my partner’s started playing the fan translation.

  7. 6 January 2009 at 10:08

    About Nausicaa, that’s my favourite manga ever. The film is good but not as good as the “comics”, in my opinion.
    Yesssss. I rank Nausicaa up there as one of my favorite pieces of literature, and I advise people to read the manga after seeing the movie (I read the manga before seeing the movie, and didn’t enjoy the movie all that much as a result, cause the movie just pales in comparison).

    Sadly, Brinstar has yet to read the manga. I loaned it to her back when we first met well over a year ago, but it’s been neglected by her. =O

  8. 6 January 2009 at 10:18

    Yeah, I’m not even going to attempt it in Japanese. I might have when I first bought a copy of the game back when it launched, but the fan translation project was announced pretty early on so I decided to wait and see if that would come to fruition. And thank goodness it did!

    Mother 3 would be pretty brutal for someone who is not fluent in Japanese because the text is written entirely in hiragana. Without the context clues that kanji tend to provide, you would really have to have the language down pat. That’s my impression anyway, as my Japanese is no where near fluency.

  9. 6 January 2009 at 10:20

    I don’t have plans to play the other games or Earthbound right now, either
    I won’t hold it against you, but only because I have little to no interest in Metroid. ;-)

  10. 6 January 2009 at 10:21

    It’s still on my GoodReads “To Read” list. I am shamed! I don’t have anything on my “Currently Reading” list, since I just finished World War Z, so I think I should finally start the Nausicaa manga. O_o

  11. 6 January 2009 at 10:27

    The Teto plush was one of the few Nausicaa-related items at the Ghibli Museum. They’re heavily promoting “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea”, their most recent release.
    Ponyo’s the one reason, and then there’s the never-ending deluge of Totoro merchandise that Ghibli shoves down Japan’s throat. :-P

  12. 6 January 2009 at 10:51

    Man, who was it that once said, “U gots phat lewts FTW”? ;-)

    I already miss the GBA Micro. The pain of separation keeps me tossing and turning at night. Oh and, uh, I miss you too (<3). Oo, now that I think of it, you should have pictured the boxed Mother and Mother 2 that we picked up as well. MOTHER!

    I have to kind of laugh that the pictures labeled "Used/vintage" feature PS1/PS2/PSP games, as opposed to the rows of Famicom/Super Famicom/etc. games at Kaihou Souko. Is the PS1/N64 era considered vintage gaming now? I should send you a picture of the N64 collection. Aside from the GBA Micro (*dreamy sigh*), I think the complete set of clear blue controllers made for the best purchases of the past two weeks.

    Also, I think I might end up picking up that 900yen copy of the bartending game when I go back to Tokyo this month. I'm weak. >_< The big Alien figure/model looks pretty sweet, and as a rule I generally find Aliens to be pretty disgusting/unappealing. :-D

  13. 6 January 2009 at 13:09

    I’ve also heard it’s very clever dialog in Japanese, so a lot would probably be lost on anyone who wasn’t pretty fluent.

    Interesting that the kanji is used to work out the context from the hiragana. I guess it would be like trying to read Chinese in Pinyin instead of characters–I know of people who believe that it should be done that way, but it’s hard for me to imagine doing it. But maybe that’s just because of the way I was taught.

  14. Jon
    6 January 2009 at 15:57

    Are the Alien movies as big in Japan as they are in the US? I noticed the two Aliens with the rest of your goodies in the last pic and couldn’t help but wonder. I have friends that are British, German, Swiss, Chinese and Korean and none of them have heard of the movies :P

    The large of the two Alien models looks quite impressively detailed.

  15. 7 January 2009 at 18:53

    Ommggg so cool! Great pics! Great schwag! The architecture DOES look a lot like the city in Mirror’s Edge, wow. And OMG, 104!!! Er, 109 XD Did you go see Hachiko?

    Looks like you had a super awesome time!!

  16. 7 January 2009 at 19:03

    Oops, did I mislabel them? I think I fixed them now?

    I don’t really like wine, but I was ticked by the Sommelier DS game. Do you think you’d be able to get any real use out of the bartending one, because that’d be sweet.

    I like the design of the Aliens, but I really like the Alien films. H.R. Giger’s (the designer for the Aliens) other artwork is kind of weird and strikes me as potentially misogynistic now that I think of it. I definitely think he has problems.

  17. 7 January 2009 at 19:05

    It’s really hard to say, as I wasn’t around when the full marketing push went on for the AvP films. Judging by the merchandise, it’s possible. One thought I had about why your friends haven’t heard of the films is that perhaps the films may be too old and have faded from current consciousness. They were pretty big when they were released, but I think other science fiction franchises are more popular these days.

  18. 7 January 2009 at 19:06

    Yeah I saw the Hachiko statue in Shibuya. There should be a picture of it in the set I linked to. There’s also a picture of me in the set, but you wouldn’t be able to see it unless you’re one of my Friends on Flickr.

  19. 11 January 2009 at 19:13

    Awesome! =D

  20. 11 January 2009 at 19:14

    Watched the movie today.

    LOVED IT!

    Now I need to find the manga somewhere!

  21. 11 February 2009 at 08:08

    I love the Mirror’s Edge shots, but I’m a sucker for interesting architecture.

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