Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Japan: Day Twelve

Today it was raining, so I figured that was as good a day as any to dick around in stores again. Bought a duffel bag and some other junk. Ate at a fast food type place where you got a big bowl of rice with some meat, it was very cheap and quite filling. By the time I went home, which was sort of early afternoonish, the rain was getting pretty bad. When I was standing at a corner waiting for the light to change, a woman ran up and handed me an umbrella, saying "free, free!". I thanked her profusely. Apparently umbrellas are sort of communal penny-dish sort of thing and you kind of just leave them somewhere public when you don't need it and grab one lying about when you do. That's what I've started to deduce, at least. You see public bins at some restaurants and such. Pretty cool, I must say! I don't know what I'm gonna do with this one.

Anyways sort of short entry today since I didn't do to much that I can easily write about. Mainly I went to "figure shops" today that sell anime figures and what have you. They're pretty fun to look at, don't make me frustrated about my inability to read and through that find anything in big shelves, plus the wares very a lot from store to store. One thing that most stores have is a collection of little One Piece figures that look really cool. There's hundreds of them, ones for like every minor character I can think of them and practically all of them are priced based on the character's popularity. I find this is sort of different than in North America: in Japan, the popular things are  generally scarce and expensive. I guess this really isn't so much a general rule as it is a rule for these sort of collector items where the supply is completely depleted and the demand is whatever it is. But yeah, basically the general rule is that seemingly random stuff is very expensive or very cheap and usually it's because it's some combination of actually rare and in demand. The hardest stuff to find is therefore when the production doesn't meet an unexpected demand. This is why I think they run so many official polls as to which series and characters and such are popular, they need to get some sense of how much merchandise to make.

So I guess this segues nicely into one of what will probably be many Japan-themed lists. I like lists!

Top 10 Things That Are Unfortunately Hard to Find

1. Tasty juice. YES I'M STILL ON ABOUT THIS. I have adopted a new strategy now. Before, most of the juice I was drinking came from the convenience store or the vending machine. I've realized now that really, since pop isn't so popular (lol), the juice I've been drinking is really the equivalent of things I don't particularly like at home, and really isn't so bad by those standards. What I really want, though, is like the equivalent to Tropicana or whatever, so now I think I'm gonna start hitting up grocery stores and having a look. I tried a Tropicana apple juice from the grocery store today, it's alright but still tastes more like something apple-flavored than the actual juice of an apple. Bizarre. Anyways I think the real solution is to just splurge a lot on some really expensive stuff at some sort of specialty fruit store, which I've seen. Then I will be like Soulja Boy, in that I will have got the juice and will have had, like that rapscallion, gotten it by "throwing money out the roof".

2. Victor JVC HA-FX25 earbuds. These were recommended to me a bunch and DEFINITELY EXIST. However, they do not appear in any shop, and when I ask the dudes working there they repeat both "FX?" and "25?" as if in disbelief, as both other "FX**" and "**25" models exist. I'm sure they assume I just wrote something down but these DEFINITELY EXIST. The rest of the FX line is too expensive and the FR25s are more like for taking phone calls and stuff and I don't like the feel of them as much. Anyways the reason I wanted a new pair of earbuds was because I was planning on getting my iPod working, but I just recently got an email saying the place I was ordering my replacement headphone jack from is out of stock and but I also saw an iPod, same model as mine, for sale for 4800 yen today at a pawnshoppish place and that was awfully tempting 'cause I don't want a new one 'cause the new ones don't support rockbox. and at any rate I sort of miss having an mp3 player and I really do like the iPod interface so I'm not all sure what to do, all I know is that these headphones DEFINITELY EXIST and I need to find them SOON 'cause otherwise I'm stuck using these free earbuds they handed out on the plane, which are definitely the worst earbuds I've ever used, hence me listening to just Soulja Boy and other music where I don't feel like I'm missing much, hence me not listening to Goblin. I guess that's about all I can say about that.

3. Anime merchandise outside of a few standard items for anime that isn't One Piece. Not that I'm complaining about the abundance of One Piece goods, but geez. Granted, I did get my Punpun shirt, which is cool, but I was hoping to see shirts and aprons and shoes and geez I don't know what else of every anime I could think of and many I couldn't. I guess I massively overestimated how much studios want to merchandise. Where they do show up is in the weirdest places, though. Today I saw a model aircraft carrier set with decals of the K-On! characters. Yup.

4. One Piece merchandise of Kaku, my favorite character. Actually, Water 7/CP9 stuff in general is very hard to come by. I figure that was because it was then that One Piece escalated rapidly from "Best Shonen in awhile" to "Best shonen of all time, also one of the greatest manga of all time" and they didn't really expect the ramp up of sales. Anyways stuff with Kaku on it or figures of him or whatever is impossible to find. In all the stores I've been to, I've seen him a grand total of one time. Once. If it wasn't for that, I'd be convinced that the whole character was a figment of my imagination. It would explain why his fight scene with Zoro was greater than anything that ought to exist, at least. I'm still considering tracking down this store again and buying that Kaku figure if it isn't already gone. It's not like he's even my favorite character by a particularly wide margin. It's just that I'd feel weird buying anything to do with some other character when it's Kaku that's my favorite!! Oh well.

5. Touhou stuff. Sort of. CDs are pretty common, I see the games themselves at some places, but aside from that it's mostly like, stickers, magnets, some t-shirts (I bought a couple), comics... Occasionally some ridiculously priced figures... I think the combination of pretty much every production being fan-funded and the fans being so die-hard and willing to buy everything the second it hits shelves makes finding this stuff an uphill battle. Oh well.

6. Shaving cream. As such, I have learned to shave without it. I have found it makes absolutely no difference except that I have to be more careful to shave every spot 'cause I can't go by what still has cream. This is potentially a big conspiracy discovery.

7. Music by the band "Mass of the Fermenting Dregs". I have found one of their albums in a big surface Tower Records, of all places, but it wasn't the one I was really going for. This goes ditto for Matyroshka and Color Variation, but I didn't have high hopes for finding either of those anyways.

8. Madoka or Nichijou goods. I guess it figures since Madoka just finished and Nichijou is airing now, but I dunno. I had some hope.

9. Most of the manga I'm looking for for scanning purposes. Argh. Again, this is probably somewhere where being able to decipher the moonrunes would be helpful, as at the moment I'm like scanning each section to see if something matches the scribbles in my notebook. Oh well.

10.  Super Smash Bros. DX (Melee). Wouldn't it be SWAG to have a Japanese copy of my favorite game? Yes, yes it would. However, following what I've been talking about popular things just being sold out everywhere, I've only seen this in a few places and it was always pretty expensive. Same goes for Mother 3. Still trying to decide if it is worth it.

Anyways that's about all for this blog post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh man it's the backlash. This is the part when you realize that the paradise you've been imagining is just that: imagined. I'd say it's like 90% likely that you're going to spiral into a horrible depression over this apparent disparity. Good luck with that.