The weather had turned again for our last full day in Tokyo, but it wasn’t too wet for us to walk to Okubo station via a meandering route through the side roads north of Shokuan Dori. If Tokyo has a Little Thailand it’s probably here: Thai restaurants, adverts for Thai translation, a Muay Thai club. At Okubo we planned to take the Chuo Main Line to Nakano, but for the first time there was no signage in English and we struggled to work out the fare.
From Nakano station the long, covered walkway to Broadway was well supplied with eating opportunities; we paused to pick up a portion of takoyaki, and I got to practice my “He doesn’t eat meat” in Japanese in order to ensure we got the octopus ones. The vendor understood and smiled broadly. Either he appreciated the effort or my accent was hilarious.
Broadway is five floors of shops selling everything that a dedicated otaku might need. There was some manga but mostly it was collectibles, many of which carried astonishing price tags: who in their right mind would pay £200 for a small plastic Godzilla? There were also several shops selling costumes for cosplayers. Some of the offerings were frankly odd, such as a shop full of pink plastic dolls plus all they could need in the way of clothes and wigs: the clientele for this place seemed mostly to be young men. The most interesting shop was one selling cels from anime films, giving a glimpse into the laborious production process. What puzzled me was, in a city of notoriously cramped accommodation, where on earth did the customers for all this tat plan to keep it?
We didn’t linger too long, knowing that we needed to pack and download information ready for Kyoto. On the way back to Nakano station we wandered into what I thought was a shopping mall, but turned out to be a hotel with a large exhibition space on the ground floor. We weren’t in the market for a makeover to improve our home’s earthquake resistance, but it was interesting to see the photos and look at the wooden sample structure with its flexible joints. Personally, I find property ownership enough of a headache (especially from half way around the world) without having earthquakes to worry about as well. Do Japanese home insurance policies cover earthquakes, I wonder? Given that there are usually at least one or two earthquakes a day somewhere in Japan, (and that’s proper, discernable-by-people earthquakes, not just twitches on a seismometer), premiums must be astronomical.