5-58-1 Nakano, Nakano-ku, Tokyo
From Nakano station, walk north through the shopping arcade. It's a couple minutes walk and down an alley on the right.
Fresh Leaves, thats what 青葉 translates to. I'm gonna skip on trying to figure that one out. Tokyo, actually the whole Kanto area of Japan is significantly devoid of fresh leaves, or any form of plant matter for that... matter.
Let's ask a random stranger if the ramen is good.
Baby says, "この ラーメン は シズニトバンスニップスナップサン ですよ！"
This ramen is the SHIZNIT-O-BAM SNIP SNAP SAM!
Actually, it was fairly standard stuff. The difference I noticed was that the pork tasted more like ham. I guess ham is technically pork. Anyways...
What to do in Nakano? Nakano is about 5 minutes west of Shinjuku, so this place is the first ranked shop I've been that is "out of the loop". The "loop" is the Yamanote line, which runs in a big circle around Tokyo. Wow, I'm boring even myself here. Anyways, Nakano is all about Nakano Broadway.
It's Otaku time! Next to Akihabara, Nakano Broadway is the 2nd mecca of comic book, figurine, and random collectors. The 4 floors of this shopping mall are jam packed with tiny shops selling whatever you want. Yes, this is the place with the shop that sells items lost on trains. THATS how random it gets.
Yeah, thats over $800 for this manga.
This shop is full of old Japanese movie posters. Diggin' the artwork.
Lot's of Mandarake shops. This one sold old figurines.
Be scared. Actually, there's a huge art scene revolving around these types of dolls.
Yes, a whole store of those bear figurines that somehow became hip hop. Could someone explain that to me?
Rant time! I fully understand the appeal and addiction of collecting toys. Back in 1998 I discovered McFarlane Toys. The detail was so amazing compared to my old Star Wars and GI Joe toys. I would hit up the internet, buy all the interesting new figures, and display them on a giant shelf I installed in my fraternity room. Right next to my terrarium of carnivorous plants and corn snake named Spartacus. That, coupled with a horrendous hair style, kept the girls with their infectious cooties away! I would drool over the upcoming lines, spend hours entering contests, and work my eBay game to the max. Sounds like a waste of time and money? You bet. To anyone in a similar situation... it's ok to get a couple, and display them neatly, but remember, minimal is totally in. And an attic full of overpriced children's toys is totally out.
Adult stuff. Lots of video games.
Air soft replica guns. They use CO2 cartridges to shoot small bbs.
Idols, idols, idols.
Yep, Nakano Broadway is an Otaku dream come true.
Next: I'm going to a gay show.
I just simply said 'ok, whatever' to the text from some Japanese friends a few weeks ago. When I finally met them, I asked what they consider a gay show. Turns out to be a drag show. When I tried to explain what a drag show is, they said that maybe after the gay show we can go to an underground gay show, then they did the body language of sniffing some coke. I was fully confused, thinking these girls were planning to take me to some sort of tweaker orgy in the gay district. Thanks to weekly readings of Savage Love, I wasn't shocked at this notion. But I was still confused. And I think they were trying to buy coke from me. More confusion. Then it hit home! They thought I said DRUG show when I said DRAG show. This is what happens when a native language doesn't have the U or A sounds in the aforementioned words. So now we had an impromptu English lesson at this bar catering to mostly wealthy government types. DRUG DRUG DRUG. Good! DRAG DRAG DRAG. You got it. I once again explained the difference between gay and drag. 2 minutes later... "See you at the gay show."