Saturday, January 3, 2009


Yesterday was January 2nd, which means Fukubukro time. Fukubukuro is a grab bag from a Japanese store. I wrote about my adventures last year here, and this year I also went to Shibuya 109, so the story isn't too different, so I'm not going to bore you with the same words, so here are some new pictures and some comments.

I went back to the belly of the best. This time I wasn't solo, but I was a bit late. Oh well

Just like last year, there were plenty of women waving clothes around and plenty of security guards.

Here's someone trying to trade brown hot pants.

This next picture makes the girl look a little like a homeless bag lady.

I didn't notice it until I got home and looked at the picture, but who are those people standing up there?

Anyways, Shibuya was fun, but I actually wanted to buy my own fukubukuro in Akihabara. The more I go there, the less I like it. I enjoy some of what they sell (all the anime porn isn't something I'm looking for, or honestly regular anime either), but I really don't like the people who go there. A combination between sweaty nerds, women in silly outfits looking for attention (Kind of like Shibuya, actually), tourists, and someone looking to get rich from any or all of these people. It's a far stretch from the electronic parts utopia it used to be.

But, I came for 2 things. A new memory card and a fukubukuro. I went to one of my favorite used game stores, and I got there just at 11 and they weren't open yet. I thought they opened at 10, but I was wrong. When I got there, a small line had already formed, and I got near the end and after less than a minute waiting, I got in. Good thing I didn't wait any longer because the guy up front bought most of the good sets.

I ended up with something (a Game Boy set), but I was kind of disappointed when one person bought maybe 1/3 of all that they had. Also, he was kind of bossing the salesman around in English. It's one thing to be pushy in America, but it's another thing to be pushy here in Japan, especially in English. To me, it just came off really rude, also coupled with the fact he bought more than he should have. Well, it is partially the stores fault. They should have said "Limit # per customer" but they didn't. Oh well.

I did get a cheap memory card. 1280 yen (about $14 USD these days) for 4 gigs. That's REALLY cheap. Sure it's a no-name brand, but it works, so I'm not complaining.

After Akihabara, a friend and I went to Nakano. I don't think I ever wrote much about Nakano, but it's a few stops from my house and I really like it. I showed my friend Fujiya Camera (which I wrote about here). They were tecnically closed, but people were in there rearranging and were nice enough to allow us to take a peek around. I'm not sure if we could have bought something if we wanted to, but we were just looking, so it didn't matter.

After that, we went to the lovely Nakano broadway.

Broadway is a fun place, and kind of strange. Apparently, it used to be really fancy back in the late 80's. After the bubble burst, Nakano Broadway kind of slid downhill. Now it's a really strange collection of Anime and manga shops, used CDs/Books/Electronics, antique shops, gun and rifle replica shops, strange collector items, and some odd things like fancy watch shops and suit stores. It is clear what is leftover from the fancy days. It was kind of sad when I first went there, but even in a year, it's been getting better. Some entertainment enthusiasts who like the goods of Akihabara minus the porn are heading to Nakano now. It's a fun place, but really odd still.

Too bad almost everything was closed.

After Nakano, we walked to my friend's house in Koenji, which is about a 20 minute walk from the end of Broadway. On the way, we swung by this shop that always seems closed. The owner was sitting stuff out in front of the shop, and was really nice. He gave my friend a great deal. We dropped our stuff off (remember, I was still carrying the fukubukuro I got) and headed back there. The guy was REALLY friendly and a lot of fun to talk to. He loves ukuleles and American 50's/early 60's music and anything Hawaiian. He owns two places, but they're both really messy. I'm tempted to help him clean up his shops and make it a nice place for everyone to visit. He also has a large porn section and is unapologetically a fan of porn. It was a bit odd to hear that, but whatever, at least he was honest.

Then I hung out at my friend's house some more, ate some cheap ramen, then called it a day. While playing with my camera, I snapped this picture with different light settings and processed it like other HDR shots. The dynamic range wasn't very dramatic to begin with, so processing didn't do too much but I thought I'd share it.

Can you guess which instrument is mine?

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