Tokyo for nerds: Toys

Please note: While my books were translated by professionals, this blog post got a little help from AI, meaning it may not be a perfect translation.

As I promised in the previous part of this series, in this blog I’ll take you to Nakano Broadway. From Disney figurines to watches, from manga to model trains, everything that’s collectible can be found here.

The name Nakano Broadway has nothing to do with theater. “Broadway” was chosen to represent the literal meaning: a broad way. Unfortunately, due to an accumulation of bad luck and architectural fails, the building ended up to be a narrow, ugly, and way too expensive disaster. A shopping mall that would have been demolished years ago if it was anywhere else in the world. And being built in an aging, shrinking neighbourhood, even the number of aunties and grandma’s that used to go there was declining. But then nerd-shop Mandarake moved in.

When arriving at JR Nakano station (only one stop on the Chuo Rapid from Shinjuku, so easy!), you first go through Sun Mall, a shopping arcade where your mom would love to shop. Nakano Broadway is at the end of the street.

Enter the most ugly shopping mall built since, well, the sixties. Fortunately, it lacks the shady people in dark corners doing drugs, and the piss stench. We’re still in Japan, you know.

So, in this ugly abomination of a building, Mandarake, originally a used comic shop, decided to create it’s home base. They have 32 stores in the complex by now, most of them at the top floors. And of course Mandarake pulls in other shops, which makes Nakano Broadway the nerd walhalla of today.

But since the bitches of Mandarake forbade me to take a picture (from the outside!) of one of their shops, I’ll show you their competitors. One of my favourite shops? Robot Robot 2, a shop that sells Disney Parks memorabilia, Star Wars action figures and all the creepy shit from 80’s Happy Meals.

Not all the pictures below ware made at Robot Robot 2, some pics I shot at other stores, of which I couldn’t always find or read the name.

Figurines, figurines and more figurines. These Disney characters below are so cute and affordable, I might go back there next week and get one or two…

Boyhood dreams

One shop is extremely full, so it’s appropriately named Gaocci. “Shall we find treasures and dreams forgotten in the boyhood?”, the banner above the entrance asks. I hope the owner found his treasures and dreams by now. It has to be, right?

At the top floor of the mall we find cosplay outfits (Yuri ON ICE!!), a few small restaurants, a shady massage parlor, lots of consignation displays and a mini version of the train shops I wrote about in my previous post. Too mini, but still fun.

Not all shops are replaced by nerd heavens yet. When Charlotte and I were taking these pictures last week, we all of a sudden wondered: “Why does it smell like peroxide over here?” Three meters later, we got our answer: a hair salon that hadn’t been changed since the sixties. I’m sorry, but out of respect for the grandma’s in the salon, I didn’t take any pictures.

But wait Mike, there's more!

This was the nerdy shopping fest, but yes, there is more! Soon on this blog: a shopping guide for cheap vintage. Yaaas!


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