Huzzah, first proper sleep-in of the trip! Had a kebab for breakfast (lunch) in Akiba then picked up those little Robotics;Notes badges that I was eyeing off yesterday in Robot+Robot.
Interestingly the Star Kebab trailer has moved from its old spot near the station; they’ve now got a few more permanent locations on the west side of Chuo Dori, along with a sit-in joint.
Caption: The poster for the Robotics;Notes OP single has a very Alice in Wonderland feel to it, and very in-character for each of the girls.
Caption: The metal upa from Steins;Gate is a rare item, demanding 1800yen at Robot+Robot.
While Akiba easily outshines Nakano Broadway as an otaku haven, the latter is definitely no slouch and just as fun to wander around.
Instead of having a monolithic building as they do in Akiba, Mandarake operates a whole chain of small stores in the complex, each with their own theme, covering books, music, cosplay, tokuten, figures, cels, etc.
Caption: Just one of the Mandarake branches, this has a sweet row of torii in the entrance.
Caption: ミクだよ〜 This thing is freaky as hell.
These things are all well and good, but I’m honestly not looking to buy all that much. That way lies ruin. One shop here that is very interesting is Cord: it’s a legit school uniform shop. Skirts and blouses and ties and blazers and pants and shoes and OMG OMG OMG!!1 This should be the place to get a pair of loafers, too, if they come in my size. Looks like they max out at 27cm, in only one of the (not as pretty styles) styles. Stumbling through a conversation about sizing sounds too hard right now, I’ll leave that for another time.
Caption: THEY HAVE EVERYTHING!!!
I think I spent a good half-hour perusing everything they had. It’s not cheap, but it’s properly-made stuff. Not having quite all the things I’m after, I got the sky-blue ribbon and some plain navy socks.
There’s a few pamphlets for the various brands that they stock, one of which is Beverly Hills Polo Club. After some further research, it turns out that the company is fantasy, a fabrication. There is no polo club in Beverly Hills, so anyone knowingly buying into the brand is putting on a false air of preppiness. Tch. More curiously, their website says nothing about making school uniforms for Japanese students. Perhaps that’s their real moneymaker.
Caption: Well that’s inviting…
Something interesting I noticed while walking around was an elaborately dressed cosplayer, apparently being tailed by a small film crew. Not sure what was going on, but they were visiting all the cosplay stores like I was, and making it difficult to move around at times.
Sun’s going down, better have dinner.
Caption: Mmm, power-line porn. Yeah I also want to know what that Kuroneco sign is about…
Caption: Nakano Broadway is surrounded by heaps of these pokey little alleyways, lined with restaurants and bars.
Caption: This cat is more than content to sit outside the window next to all the food.
Caption: Remember when Michael Jackson used to be black? No? Geez, kids these days…
Before we head off to dinner I insist on dropping by Fujiya, a big second-hand camera store in the area. I’m on the lookout for lenses, but also second-hand battery grips for the D800 if they have them. Well, they do, and they’re still expensive. Even the D600 grips are still 26,250yen (about 275 AUD), and they’re relatively much cheaper.
Buuuttt they do have 70-200/2.8 lenses at somewhat affordable prices. Mk.I models for about 100k yen (1180 AUD), Mk.I Light Grey specimens for 122k (1440 AUD) and Mk.II models for 166k (1960 AUD) - ouch! I’ll definitely consider one of the Mk.I lenses.
What would Jesus have for dinner?
I have no idea how we got there, but the answer to that question is apparently spaghetti. There’s the three of us, Ast, dovac and myself, sitting outside Moses Pasta House at 18:00 waiting for them to open their doors in 15 minutes. God we must look eager.
Caption: The neighbouring establishment sure looks interesting, though I can’t tell just what their schtick is exactly.
Caption: The food is fairly priced, and there’s a good selection of traditional options and dishes with a Japanese twist.
The atmosphere is definitely cozy and pleasant without being tacky. Before long there’s a fair number of other patrons so this can’t be a bad place.
We’re not super rugged up, so the cold weather is pretty miserable. Our spirits are much lightened now that we’re inside though, and we order up big. I’m particularly hungry so I order the bruschetta for myself as well as a main.
Caption: Not as much colour as I would’ve expected, but the bruschetta with basil is tasty and nicely laid out.
Caption: I can’t remember who ordered this, but it’s filling.
Caption: As much as I enjoy Japanese cuisine, I wasn’t going to leave this to chance by letting them add squid ink or roe or something to my pasta. This is the carbonara, with a tonne of cream and an egg for me to mix in myself. It’s goood~~
Service is pretty quick, so it’s only about 19:00 by the time we finish dinner. We’re kinda stuck for things to do, so I suggest that if we’re feeling like dessert we could hit up this waffle store in Ginza… it’s kinda fancy, but it should be good. I’m really dredging this up from vague memories of a few years ago, but with a few well placed queries to Google-sensei we manage to discern the name of the place we’re after: Manneken, they’re a purveyor of Belgian Waffles.
In search of baumkuchen
We’re all keen, so we roll out post-haste. It looks like they close at around 20:00 so there’s no time to lose!
While en route we find a baumkuchen specialty store that’s also in Ginza, in the basement of one of the department stores there. Ast and I are quite the fans of baumkuchen, as you can’t seem to get them in Australia. So we said to ourselves, in the immortal words, why not get both?
Manneken is a tiny little store on the corner of the block. The shopfront literally has room for no more than three or four people, the rest of the queue hangs out onto the footpath. Thankfully, service is quick and made simple by their well organised display case.
Caption: Racks and racks of freshly cooked waffles drool
You Only Live Once, they say. A few minutes later I’ve got a bag of waffles and 29yen change from a 500yen coin. dovac and Ast are going all-out and get a box of eight for themselves (each). This was after they talked each other up, and then down from, a full-dozen box >_> #yolo
Nenrinya, the baumkuchen store, is disturbingly fancy, they’ve got the laboratory-clean sort of aesthetic going. Want your baumkuchen gift-wrapped? We’re pretty sure they do that too. They don’t allow photography in the store, but I was too dopey to notice the sign; oops.
You can get either bumpy (“Mount”) or non-bumpy (“Straight”) baumkuchen. We’re here for the bumpy-type - that’s their flagship product after all. We balk at the price momentarily, it’s not cheap. But fukkit, yolo! It’s about 1600yen for each of us to get a one-third share of a 3-bump baumkuchen.
Caption: Watching baumkuchen spin is like watching a donut-making machine, but like 94 times better.
We’re eager to get back to the hotel and check these things out, and everything’s closing anyway, so we head straight back.
Stop, waffle time!
First things first, waffles. I got just three of them, because I’m not clinically insane. And I don’t really need any extra health problems, thank you.
Caption: My waffles come in a cute little paper bag, unlike Ast and dovac, who got a carrybox.
After the requisite photo-taking we dig in. I think the other two got through about three or four before throwing in the towel - the rest would be breakfast.
Caption: So gooodddd! The waffle-shooting capabilites of the D800 are unbelievable, too.
The other two are now in the throes of a sugar-induced coma; there really is nothing more dire than Japanese TV when you simply can’t move to do anything about it. The baumkuchen will have to wait for tomorrow morning. Besides, we don’t have anything to cut the damned thing with. D:
Damage for the day: 8,429 yen with about 4,200 of that on food in various forms.