Tag Archives: Tokyo

The Mysterious Circumstances of an Irregular Otaku Living in Tokyo — Ep06

11 Aug , 2015,
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The Irregular Otaku managed to visit The Art of Gundam at Mori Arts Center Gallary in Roppongi during his summer break.

We can never get enough of those giant robots Gundam ever since the first animation took the world by storm. They were never meant for kids. Interest in space drama grew in the 1970s, with Space Battleship Yamato and Starwars. Yamato, in particular, changed the perspective that animation was for kids.

Early concepts for the original Mobile Suit Gundam, took shape in earlier titles like Freedom Fighter, Chronical of Drifting Journey of J Boys and Space Fighter Battalion Gunboy. Gundam would later incorporate these ideas. The success of Gundam revolves several critical elements, still prevalent in popular Gundam titles today. The story is about a group of boys thrown into an extreme condition of war and how they would react within their respective organizations. Of course, the use of giant robots known as Gundam became necessary tools of war with a great emphasis on realistic designs of sets and equipment.

The story was unusually weighty for children and its intended audience of Junior Highschool students with topics of realism and foreshadowing of how our world might become in the near future. It was meant to stimulate the imagination and create a strong sense of empathy from the viewers. Where the idea of humanity moving into space is exceptionally real in the 1970s with overpopulation and a looming environmental crisis.

The concept of a space colony is not plucked out of pure fantasy but based on American physicist, O’Neil’s concept of a space settlement. However, there are storytelling tools involved, like the concept of Minovsky Particles. We know that this functional technology blocks the use of radar and communications, making long distance battles impossible. But it also served another purpose and that is to make the story more convincing and personal. Its boring to watch a space light show right?


The new Gundam Movie, GUNDAM: The Origin II will screen in Japan from 31st October 2015.


Fans of the tradition Gundam stories will have more to cheer this October. A new Gundam anime will be screened from 4th October 2015, remember to mark your calendars.

The exhibition runs until September 27, 2015. If you’re a fan of Mobile Suit Gundam and you’re in Tokyo from now until end September, don’t ever miss this fine collection of Gundam artifacts.

Link: http://www.gundam-ten.jp/en/

Find out more about The Mysterious Circumstances of an Irregular Otaku in Tokyo by following The Neo Tokyo Project and Edric on Facebook.

This article is made possible thanks to the folks over at Attn. Japan. Find out more about Japan by checking out their magazines. If you are interested in various attractions around Tokyo, Tokyo Convention & Visitor’s Facebook page has the most up to date most happening events around the city.

The Mysterious Circumstances of an Irregular Otaku Living in Tokyo — Ep05

4 Aug , 2015,
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Our Otaku Professor headed down to Meguro last week to have a look at what’s going on at Meguro Gajoen. The Wanoakari X Hundred Steps, presents a cultural exhibition of various events and artworks from around Japan.

Room of Jippo

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Room of Gyosho

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Room of Souku

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Room of Seisui

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Room of Seikou

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Room of Kiyokata

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Room of Chojyou

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They bothered to number each step.


There are some props that are way too big for the rooms…

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We last heard that the Otaku Professor was also spotted loitering at a Gundam Exhibition at Roppongi.

Find out more about The Mysterious Circumstances of an Irregular Otaku in Tokyo by following The Neo Tokyo Project and Edric on Facebook.

This article is made possible thanks to the folks over at Attn. Japan. Find out more about Japan by checking out their magazines. If you are interested in various attractions around Tokyo, Tokyo Convention & Visitor’s Facebook page has the most up to date most happening events around the city.

The Mysterious Circumstances of an Irregular Otaku Living in Tokyo — Ep04

21 Jul , 2015,
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Without a cell phone number, it is would be impossible to open any bank account anywhere in Japan. For a tourist, subscribing for a roaming plan or purchasing some voice-enabled SIM card without a number is easily available at most major electronic stores like LABI Yamada or BIC Camera.


BIC Camera sells all kinds of electronics goods; not just sell cameras.

But a phone number, that’s the big problem. Fortunately, Softbank has a solution to this riddle.


A Softbank store at Ikebukuro.

The Softbank Simple Style is a prepaid service where a they package a phone together with a USIM card. Nothing too fancy if it’s a number to work around the administration red tape.


The phone I got just to open a bank account.

It is quite expensive to make any phone calls using this service; and much more for SMS, Y!Mail and Data plan. But at least, there’s no 2 years contract to service which doesn’t make much sense if you’re not planning to stay in Japan for more than a couple of years.

Find out more about The Mysterious Circumstances of an Irregular Otaku in Tokyo by following The Neo Tokyo Project and Edric on Facebook.

The Mysterious Circumstances of an Irregular Otaku Living in Tokyo — Ep03

14 Jul , 2015,
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It took me almost a week to get put things into place since arriving in Tokyo. After a luggage delay thanks to some shenanigans from Scoot (I would not patronise them in the future). So what happened?

Living in a country for an extended period of time require a bank account, and a mobile phone. Sounds simple?

Registering for a bank account is a daunting task. Most banks in Japan would only consider your application only if you have been in the country for more than 6 months. Mizuho Bank was my first attempt and was politely shown the door when they found out I arrived the week earlier; and so would most major banks.

Other than Japan Post Bank, Shinsei Bank is the other foreigner friendly with their English speaking staff without the 6 months rule. Moreover, the bank doesn’t charge clients a fee to use the ATM. That’s another perk to leave your hard earned cash with them. A Hanko is optional for registration. If you do not have one made by this point, you are fine.


Shinsei Bank’s Ikebukuro Branch.

Documents Required:

  1. Residence Card and Passport
  2. Home Address and Contact Number
  3. Hanko (if you already made one; or bad at signing)

Oh wait, they need a local phone number. Not just any phone number but one registered to your name. The “Mobile Phone Improper Use Act” passed in 2006 made it impossible for anyone staying on a short-term visa to register for a phone number. A phone plan requires a bank account or a credit card (which I lack). Right… I’m so $%#@ed…

– To be continued –

Find out more about The Mysterious Circumstances of an Irregular Otaku in Tokyo by following The Neo Tokyo Project and Edric on Facebook.

The Mysterious Circumstances of an Irregular Otaku in Tokyo — Ep02

7 Jul , 2015,
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Every country has something that makes it special from another. Some (like those toilet bowls that spray water at your butt) are a stroke of genius while others are just annoying.

Despite its readiness to adopt new technologies, Japan still found itself reluctant to let go of old tradition like the common usage of Inkan (official seal) for signing off official documents and various day to day paperwork.


Some of the more exquisite Hankos on display.

It’s hard to get around Japan without this handy item, just like how we can’t survive the office without our favorite signing pen. There are several shops that have ready made Inkans for sale, and Daiso sells them at 100 yen (+8 yen tax) a pop.


A wide selection found at Daiso, only with Japanese family names. Too bad Gaijins; oh wait, that’s me.

What if you can’t find your name on one? Make one at your friendly neighborhood store! It takes a few days for them to craft the item.


A custom made Hanko bearing my last name.

Like your signature, the Inkan can be used to sign off any official documents. If you made one, remember to keep it secret, keep it safe (almost left mine behind at the post office the other day). A custom made Inkan also a great souvenir item if you want something more personalized than a mass produced doujinshi.

Find out more about The Mysterious Circumstances of an Irregular Otaku in Tokyo by following The Neo Tokyo Project and Edric on Facebook.

The Mysterious Circumstances of an Irregular Otaku in Tokyo — Ep01

30 Jun , 2015,
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Shit happens; it always does! All hail Murphy! Yes, it happened to me as well. How bad was it?

Fortunately, I have been through an entire week without bathing thanks to the Army. Powder, mints and always remember to keep your toothbrush with you at all times.

Still, it’s really not a great feeling when you’re sweating from head to toe and your baggage (with your change of clothing) that was supposed to arrive on the same flight is delayed by 2 days. Imagine the same stinking clothing that went through everyone at the airport, cramped public transport and whatever. Then, imagine sleeping in it for 2 nights straight.

Not to mention they’d already made me pay an additional SGD 200 for extra baggage.

While I am appreciative of the effort put in by the staff at Narita Airport to locate my bag, I am still horrified that Scoot was unable to tell me where my luggage was. It could have been in Singapore or Taiwan or on the wrong flight!

Having the opportunity to serve my conscription in aviation logistics allows me to shed further insights as to the cause of the blunder.

One, Scoot should have been honest with me that my luggage had been offloaded* in Singapore. That would assure me that my luggage is accounted for and it is in safe hands.

Two, despite me sending an email to their agent in Singapore, I haven’t heard even a single squeak on their end. Only their agent in Japan contacted me to deliver the luggage.

Three, I have the hunch they did not bother to expedite my luggage; causing the 2 days delay.

While it is common for anyone to be unhappy about their precious necessities being offloaded. I believe that they would be infuriated should their belongings be unaccounted for. So don’t ever Scoot off without a proper explanation!

*Offload — In aviation logistics, it means that an item on board the plane has been taken off because the pilot has deem that the aircraft is too heavy. Usually the last baggage that gets loaded onto the aircraft gets taken off should such an event occur.

Find out more about The Mysterious Circumstances of an Irregular Otaku in Tokyo by following The Neo Tokyo Project and Edric on Facebook.

Journey to the East

29 Jun , 2015,
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Studying Japanese in Japan sounds cool and is most Otaku’s wet dream. But is it easy to live the Tokyo dream?


Ticket to Shinagawa cost ¥1500.


The trip from Narita International Airport to Tokyo takes about an hour.


Getting bored >.<


Making the transit at Shinagawa Station is an alternative to Tokyo Station.


Housing in Japan is really small by most standards and the rent; not very appealing.

Now, if only my luggage wasn’t offloaded by Scoot e.e;;

Find out more about The Mysterious Circumstances of an Irregular Otaku in Tokyo by following The Neo Tokyo Project and Edric on Facebook.

Ikebukuro and “Otome Road”

25 Jul , 2014,
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At the doorstep of Sunshine City Prince Hotel is Otome Road, often referred as Fujoshi Street, is one of the most well stocked and up-to-date in BL content. When I went down in April, this little street had expended to the neighboring shopping and food district, right up to the doorstep of Ikebukuro Station.

Walking along the street towards Sunshine City and Otome Road are stylishly dressed male promoters, some with long blond dyed hair line the street. Like girls dressed in fluffy maid outfits in Akihabara who would only become chatty with guys, Ikemen at Ikebukuro, would only devout their attention on girls.

Most Anime related shops at Ikebukuro are generally skewered towards the Otome market.


DPP_0407If you are in the hunt for unique off the shelve merchandize. You should never give Animate a miss. Anywhere Otakus would congregate, Animate will be there. But the two sitting in Ikebukuro which are different from the rest around Japan.

Along Otome Road is ACOS, the Animate that marks the start of Otome Road. Right across from Sunshine City, this Animate sells everything for the girls and girls only. Even its café sitting on the 6th floor of the building spots either a yaoish or reverse harem theme. Often polarized from the Moe Moe Kyun Kyun fluff at Akihabara.

ACOS do not only stock up on keychains, folders and other character goods, but also delicate an entire floor to Cosplay. It is a one stop center for the casual Cosplayer to buy off the shelf costumes (sadly no armor), wigs, costume accessories and prop weapons.

IMG_2560NTPEKLocated a few streets away, in a recently furbished building is Animate’s Flagship store. This is the biggest Animate around with multiple floors dedicated to merchandizes and character goods for both guys and girls. From food products like instant curry, tapestry, cups to Manga, Doujinshi for girls to digital media.

Animate is probably the most convenient retailer to purchase anime related music without rummaging through shelves after shelves or records.

The combination of convenience and variety at a convenient location makes both Animates at Ikebukuro a must go to place to end your shopping in Japan. Just remember leave some yen for Tokyo Banana if you promised anyone back home.

Comic Toranoana Shop B

Until recently, Shop B was Shop A. Stocking an inventory of male oriented Hentai. But, with companies wasting no time in capturing the women’s market. It takes little logic to see why one of the biggest retailers in doujinshi should not delicate at least one of it’s many shops for the ladies.

There is no better place to plug that shop in other than Ikebukuro. Located opposite Ikebukuro Station, Shop B now host an inventory of doujishi of stacking men on top of other men, reverse harem, Boys’ Love and shoujo manga. This is the holy grail of yaoi content. If you’re looking for copies of Eren x Levi, Tiger X Bunny or Uta Prince you missed at Doujin Events, this is the place to be.

What happened to Shop A?

Well they got evicted by Shop B, kicked a couple streets, down the road, into a dingy looking building. It now occupies two floors. One solely for the high moral reader who prefer less skin and the other for those who prefer less clothing.



The Japanese got to love second retailers and by the end of the first week in Japan, we start to see why. Second-hand retailers holds a major advantage over others mainly because of their unique inventory, cheaper prices and the wild chance to find an out of production antique. Random loot from UFO machines, Gachapon and Kuji often end up on the shelves at second hand retailers, most of the time, they still smell new.

We cannot help to leave Lashinbang out from the fun when they recently expanded their shop last year to hold more products for the ladies.

Situated between ACOS and K-Books on Otome Road, Lashinbang operates a second-hand shop selling a mixture of figures, games and character goods. On their ground floor units every corner is stocked up for the ladies.

DPP_0406On the second floor, that’s the guy’s department with stocks of generic figures, illustration books and doujinshi. It lacks the grandeur as compared to shops in Akihabara, but what choice would you have if you’re dragged by the collar to go shopping on Otome Road?

Right, if Lashinbang have doujinshi for the guys, they definitely have one for the girls. The shop is not on Otome Road, but the neighbouring shopping district. This outlet is for the bookworms. They don’t carry stock of any other products other than books.

If you cannot find what you fancy, you could always hop off to Fromagee next door.



Ikebukuro would not have always been the place for girls to get their Anime goods. But in 2000, after next door rivals Animate decided to make the switch to emphasize on the girls, K-Books decided to make the switch as well. Ikebukuro would have to content with Akihabara and Nakano Broadway. There is no better demographic than to target the girls market and to give them some privacy in the process.

Most retailers of Anime merchandizes rarely mix first and second hand goods together. But K-Books does just that, at least not under the same roof. Spotting five shops littered along Otome Road, this is the largest congregation of K-Books on a single road.

They sell everything from Otome merchandizes, doujinshi, digital media to Cosplay related products.

To complete the experience on Otome street, K-Books also operates the Swallowtail Butler’s Café.


Otome Road ends with Mandarake. In our next edition, talk about food as we dine on a tight budget from Osaka to Tokyo.

Additional Photographs by Bob

Shopping at Akihabara

6 Jun , 2014,
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Akihabara, the holy ground for Otakus; a must visit for any true blue Otaku. Akihabara is well known for anime merchandises, electronics and exotic toys. Some establishments have several outlets along the same street selling different kinds of products.

Where to start?



Mandarake sells everything Otaku. Figures, consoles, old manga, music CDs, cosplay stuff. The list goes on. The only item that isn’t second are Doujin-shi (they sell second hand Doujin-shi as well).

Besides the price, Mandarake is extremely honesty about the condition of their goods. The condition is clearly stated, using a grading system and notes describing the defects, on every Doujin-shi, Nintendo DS, Games, from it’s packaging, instruction booklet to the condition of the actual product. It is possible to find something in a mint condition at Mandarake.

If you’re not convinced, when buying a new Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita or something behind their glass cases, you could ask the staff to open the product to have a look. It not strange to find unopened set at second-hand price.

Mandarake at Akihabara is mostly staffed by Japanese speaking staff. They employ foreign students at their establishments, especially at Akihabara. If Nihon-go doesn’t work for you, try speaking English, slowly, clearly, and pray they start running for their Gaijin part-timer.

Start with Mandarake! Be warned, it is possible to spend an entire day rummaging their building at Akihabara for loot.


Comic Toranoana


Manga is common in Japan, but Doujin-shi aren’t and not every establishment carry what you want. Comic Toranoana is one such establishment that specialize in helping Doujin circles sell their works to Otakus. You don’t have to rush for Comiket or other Doujin events to grab a Doujin-shi when you can buy them directly from Comic Toranoana.

Comic Toranoana have several shops along Akihabara, all of them caters for every fetish. Hentai materials are always at the highest levels. Remember to bring your passport if you want to buy anything NSFW, their staff will check for identification if they suspect you’re below 18.

Take it as a compliment if someone of the opposite gender asks for identification.

Other than Doujin-shi, they also have a collection of games, illustration books, manga.


IMG_1605NTPEKYellow Submarine

If TCG like Magic The Gathering, Weib Schwarz or Pokemon is what you seek, head down to Yellow Submarine. Not only an Otaku theme retailing figures and merchandises, they sell TCGs. TCG shops sells a lot of rare cards, prominently displayed on the cabinets.

Some outlets provide tables and chairs. If you’re really good with your Japanese, you could join their in house tournament or find someone who would gladly play a game or two with you.

On top of figures, merchandizes and TCGs, some of the outlets stock a huge range of model kits. Not only mecha, but tanks, battleships, guns, trains, including the various accessories to give them more bling.

Yellow Submarine also specialize in board gaming. Sadly, most of them are in Japanese. But, they sell weird dice like an extra large D20 to hurt your DM with.


Electronics Shops


Other than the Otaku stuff, Akihabara is also the hardware zone in Tokyo. If you want to build your own customized PC, Gundam or your personal Dethcube, you will need to get the materials here. Laptops are expensive and often below specifications. On the other hand, peripherals, like keyboards and mice, are competitively priced.

Nothing moe here.



Games, console, DVDs and Eroge. Traders is the place to go. They carry second-hand products. Mainly consoles and console games and gamepads. They are very honest about the condition of the products they sell. If you could master some words of Japanese, you could ask them to have a look at the product you want.

Trader’s selection of games range from localized western titles, PC games. Eroge are on the top floor.



Kimidore at Akihabara specialize in selling illustration books, A4 size folders and tapestries. Not just the normal run-of-the-mill ones, but beautifully illustrations by famous artist like Tony and CoffeeKizoku.

Kimidore is one shop you don’t want to miss if you are looking for something to fill up that empty space on your wall, or souvenir ideas for your friends back home.

It’s illustration books makes perfect coffee table books and they are not always available at second-hand shops.

If you’re an art collector, Kimidore sells paintings by famous illustrators — at a price.

Don’t miss the wall graffiti along the stairwell.



Mottainai Flea Market


The Mottainai Flea market is always held outside UDX Building on selected weekends. At Akihabara, vendors sell their second figures, folders and plushies. If you’re on a mighty quest in search of epic loot at low prices, the Flea Market is the best place to start the weekend morning. They close by late afternoon or bad weather.

Check out their website to find out when they will organize their next Flea Market at Akihabara.


Street Performers


There’s no better way to end the evening than to find a cozy spot at Akihabara Station to listen to street performers singing to Anime music. They are not professionals or idols but damn, they do have good voices.

Some of them sell their own CDs. Many like Rinka, don’t, and the only payment is your appreciation and support.

Akihabara is generally for the guys, although they do carry materials fujoshi will love too. However, Ikebukuro is the true fujoshi playground and holy land of BL, and that’s coming up in our next article.