Two weeks of honeymoon in Europe is a dream come true for me. In the following weeks, there will definitely be more updates of the wonderful places I have been, but this post is yet again on Tokyo. More specifically, Nakano Broadway. A true paradise for all anime lovers. Nakano Broadway is a short walk from Nakano Station, and you will find yourself immersed in vibrant sights and sounds whilst you walk through Nakano Sun Mall to Nakano Broadway.
Nakano Broadway is a 4-storey shopping complex with over 30 Mandarake stores selling all sorts of anime and manga (Japanese comic) goods, and most of them are concentrated in the 2nd and 3rd storeys. It retains the feel of old Tokyo shopping centres, unlike the new shiny malls you are accustomed to in Tokyo, creating a sense of nostalgia as you browse through the vibrant manga and anime collectibles. You will feel a little lost exploring the mall in the beginning, for the escalator up from the 1st floor leads you directly to the 3rd floor. But if you look carefully at the signs, it appears the 2nd floor is only accessible by stairs.
And what exactly is a Mandarake store? Mandarake stores have their roots as a secondhand manga shop, but they have since branched out to sell many other anime and manga merchandise. The first Mandarake store appeared in Nakano Broadway, and has since turned Nakano Broadway into a heaven for otakus (Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, particularly towards anime and manga).
There is an amazing amount of BL (Boys Love) manga and even games here in Mandarake Honten. There is actually a dedicated corner with two towering bookshelves of them. The Japanese are not closeted when it comes to more deviant stuff, and I just love that the Japanese are so open about such things here. In Singapore, I think one would be hard pressed to find any BL manga in stores. While it is no secret amongst me and my friends that I like BL (and now I’m revealing to the world) there seems to a certain judgment towards girls who enjoy it. And I guess this is how the term fujoshi is created. It literally means rotten girl, but we fujoshis have embraced it as we otakus have embraced the similarly derogatory term.
Speaking of deviant stuff, there is a hidden gem for alternative people here. There is this particular shop I stumbled into which sells quirky stuff like poison apple, evil eye, haunted doll, vampire fang and injection needle accessories. It is defnitely a shop for people into alternative subcultures, for there was a whole of it dedicated to sex toys and inflatable dolls. A very interesting place to check out if you are ever at Nakano Broadway. There are probably many other shops similar to it, but I wasn’t feeling too well and actually cut short my exploration of Nakano Broadway. Till now I still regret not being able to fully explore the mall, and it is pretty much an hour away from my place, so not really going back any time soon. Oh well.
If you are not particularly into anime or manga (or kinky subculture), how about ice-cream? I haven’t met anyone who hates ice-cream. There is an ice-cream shop at the basement level called Daily Chico which is known for its Tokudai soft serve, an ice-cream with as many as eight flavours (at ¥550) piled on top of each other. There is a warning sign that the staff will not replace the scoops for you if you drop them though, so buy it at your own risk! I wasn’t feeling too adventurous, so I only ordered 4 scoops. You can taste the distinctive flavours of all the ice-creams in the beginning, but somehow the flavours will mix as they start melting, and in the end, the strongest flavour will dominate, which is this case, turned out to be melon.
Daily Chico / デイリーチコ
Address: Nakano 5-52-15, Nakano Broadway B1F
Opening Hours: 10.00 – 20.00 daily
Phone: +81 3 3386 4461
Nakano Broadway is accessed from the North Exit of Nakano Station (JR Chuo-Sobu Line, Tozai Subway Line) via the covered Nakano Sunmall shopping arcade – a 5 minute walk.