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Cool post.

Did you know Kita-Senju is the cheapest property on the Japanese version of Monopoly?

Damn, Patrick, you've found one of the places I've seen in my secret fantasy world, the world where cool stuff happens just because.

See, that looks like the place where you go into this little run down OLD OLD 'mom and pop' toy/hobby shop...and the Oyajii takes a look at you and smiles...and says "You like good toys...old Japanese toys...come, come, I show you..." and he takes you down a dark, shaky staircase...his shop is built over an old WW II underground factory, and it's a warehouse...like at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark but it's all deadstock toys and models..CASES...

and he sells you anything you want, as much as you want, at 'printed on the box' original price.

the pictures you've shared makes me believe such a place could exist :)

Hey, that lobster tank crane game? think that's as rigged as the games here? where the claw doesn't have any 'grab' 90% of the time anyway?

The point to worry is if the lobsters learn to leap from the tank to attack you...

There actually was a crusted-out toy shop just across from the Asahi Shimbun building. It was full of air-soft guns and Z-Gundam model kits with sunbleached box art. The window display had the Cutty Sark in it. The coolest thing about it was a small kitchen off to the side that sold child-sized instant ramen. There were also some video games. Nothing was working and the store was closed. Keep in mind this was "Children's Day" in Japan. Kita-senju = wackytown.

Arigatou gozaiimasu for all these wonderful portraits of Japan! You seem to have come to the same conclusion I have: there are two Japans. One is the legendary "Land of Kawaii and Sugoi," the other is the real Japan with all its flaws and neuroses.

The closest I've actually been to Japan has been the videos taken by my friend Donald Burr who went there a year or so ago, and Los Angeles' Little Tokyo, a little chunk of both Japans transplanted to La-La Land.

Eventually I want to go and see it for myself. Not bloody likely with my current situation, but everything is impermanent.

I have linked your blog to my blog, and I hope to pick up some of your books. I also downloaded your podcasts and hope to wade through them all soon.

Ja nai,
Michelle aka Ms. Geek

Hey Ms. Geek,

Thanks for joining the breakfast show.

"One is the legendary "Land of Kawaii and Sugoi," the other is the real Japan with all its flaws and neuroses."

I read that as, "there's Tokyo and then there's everywhere else." Kita-senju is like the bordertown between the two.

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