It was a struggle, but somehow we bought all this back with us.
Animate turned out to be a blessing from heaven. The one in Ikebukuro was better than the one in Akihabara, since it was five floors of glorious anime merch and most of it was geared towards Fujoshi.
Tower Records was also one of my favourite places to visit, as I set out to Japan with a determination to bring back CDs by artists that you can’t buy in the UK.
I picked these three up in Animate. They have boxes of mystery posters and bags of mystery badges. You know what anime or manga they are from, but you don’t know what poster you’re going to get (all the possible designs are on the outside). I lucked out with the two Tales of Zestiria posters.
I haven’t bought a physical CD in years. But I ended up buying 10 in Japan. OLDCODEX was my focus point for going to Tower Records, but I also picked up GRANRODEO, Fo’xtails, TK, and BURNOUT SYNDROMES. The latter turned out to be my favourite album from my stack of purchases.
In Kyoto we discovered B-side stickers – an amazing sticker shop that sells high quality stickers. They had loads of cool designs – a few of which were based off anime or manga.
One of the most amazing things about going to Japan was browsing the stores stocked with manga. In the Animate store in Ikebukuro, they had a whole floor dedicated to Yaoi and BL. The poor housemate nearly exploded. It was hilarious to watch how flustered she got. I wanted to support my favourite manga artist – Kanna Kii, whose books aren’t available in the west – so I bought three of her books while I was out there. I would highly recommend her Stranger by the Sea series.
The housemate also picked up two copies of Shounen Jump – these cost 260 yen each! That’s, like, £2 for one volume, which is insane for the amount of content you get.
The manga selection is the thing I miss most about Japan. I wish it was more available in the west.
Other random sh!t we picked up
I found this baby at a stall in Fushimi Inari. It was just a screen printing on a piece of cloth, but I stitched the sides and made it into a flag. I’m going to stick it on a pole and fly it at the volleyball tournaments I’m attending over the summer!
This is my pride and joy – my badge hat. I bought the hat from Claire’s and then the badges came from Animate and various gachapon. The yellow badge is from Tower Records – they gave me some free stuff when I bought GRANRODEO’s albums.
I almost bought a Haikyuu! apron as well as these place-mats, but the price stopped me! It was pretty cool – it was in the Karasuno colours, so you could get a black or orange one.