Tokyo Journal: Sailor Moon in Harajuku and Shopping for Yuri in Akihabara

November 27th, 2017

It was a beautiful Sunday in Tokyo, so we decided to enjoy the crowds in Harajuku. First stop, we hit up Kiddyland, where character goods are plentiful and the bathrooms are clean. (Stores “for women” in Japan always have clean, spacious bathrooms, with changing tables for children.) Kiddyland had some familiar banners hanging overhead.

 

 

We then made our way over to the La Foret building to see spend money at the Sailor Moon store. Which we did. My wife was >this< close to buying a $400 purse, while I mused about losing enough weight to fit a Japanese women’s Medium to get a hoodie.  Instead we bought stuff.

Including, I might add, stuff for you, dear readers. This year’s New Year Lucky Boxes are going to be lit.

We saw a poster for the upcoming Sailor Moon classical concert and while we won’t be here for it, we did grab a bunch of these awesome promo posters.

We stopped on Takeshitadori and had a cute waffle dessert with our lunch, that we yet again forgot to take pictures of. We also ate it like it was our last meal. ^_^;

For dinner, we crashed the TCAF get-together at a lovely izakaya near our hotel. Caught up with translator extraordinaire Simona Stanzani,, met and had a lovely conversation with indie game developer Christine Love, comic artist John L. Gehron, and bunches of folks who were here with the TCAF crowd, and eat good food (some of which I *finally* remembered to take a picture of!)

The duck sukiyaki below was brilliant. I will totally eat at this place again for this dish.

 

Today was Akihabara day. Traditionally, I begin this day with a statement that I won’t be buying much. As is traditional, I then follow this up by buying too much. Today I kept with tradition.  BUT…and this is a big BUT, things were not the same at all. It is much easier to find Yuri in Akihabara than it has ever been.

Toronoana still has a multi-publisher “Yuri Corner” clearly labeled, with all sorts of creator art and advertising on the walls.

 

And a lovely ad for the Kase-san series.

I picked up a few things I hadn’t heard of or known about, which is always the best. Exactly why Yuri sections are so important, in fact.

The Animate doujinshi section also had a separate “Yuri Corner” with some reasonable inclusions. 

Comic Zin featured both prominent Yuri artists doujinshi on the second floor as you walked in and a section labeled Yuri. I thought I got a picture of this, but apparently took it from the wrong angle, so you can’t see the labels, duh. No large banner, but the shelves were clearly marked and they were right in the front as you walked in. I picked up some doujinshi by Hakamada Mera and Morinaga Milk.

 

Gamers also has a multi-publisher “Yuribu” section, clearly marked and, surprisingly, nicely varied. I’m going to admit that I was expecting skank world there. The last time I visited Gamers, it was all creepy all the time. Not at all true of  the Yuri section, although it favored the moe.

They also had a special exhibit in honor of the release of the 8th volume of Ichigo Mashimaro. There were goods, bags, t-shirts of which I bought two, one each in my least favorite colors, white and pink, because the designs were brilliant and coolest, actual original pages by Barasui.

I’m always surprised and pleased at these new “Yuri” sections, because they will change the way people can shop for Yuri. Up until now, people had to know what to look for, where. These new “Yuri” sections, that are multi-publisher and in some cases, multi-format, with novels and manga together signal the continued legitimacy of our growing genre.  

Even more exciting, the Animate store in Akihabara does not have a Yuribu because, of course, you remember that they chose to locate it in the “girl’s” store in Ikebukuro. In my opinion, this is a major success, separating “Yuri” from being the purview of men, and laying it in our laps and yes, that was meant to be a pleasantly salacious analogy. ^_^

 Tomorrow is our last full day and we intend to spend it and all the rest of our money locally in the girl’s Yuribu. ^_^

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8 Responses

  1. Hannah says:

    I was just at all these stores a week before you! I wish I knew about the yuri section in Toranoana though—I left the store pretty quickly because I was fully scolded (i.e. yelled at!) for bringing a sample to the register on a different floor when I was shopping for a friend.

    I bought stacks of yuri manga from Mandarake Shibuya and the woman who adjusted my tax for me told me she was so happy and grateful I was interested in yuri! I also picked up 白い部屋のふたり from Mandarake Nakano and I’m pretty excited about that.

    • Nice! Mandarake in Shibuya has had a small, but growing Yuri section for some years. It’s all recursive. As more people get interested, more is sold. As more is sold, more people sell it back, as more people buy and sell Yuri, there’s more need for shelf space. As more people look for it, there’s more need for a bookshelf of our own.

  2. Stacy L says:

    Can’t wait to return to Japan to browse these sections. Last time was in 2009 and we did the full Akihabara/Nakano Broadway binge, but as you said, it wasn’t like this at all even eight years ago.

    By the way, had an interesting moment in my Japanese class, wonder if it’s appropriate to mention it here: Sensei said that there couldn’t be a word for gay marriage in Japanese, and we politely didn’t challenge him, even though he said this right in front of a student who had just mentioned her engagement to her girlfriend (now that Australia seems like it’s finally going to pass gay marriage). I felt like saying, ‘um, of course there can be a word for it, since Japanese, like every language, makes up new words all the time, or borrows new words from other languages.’ It’s a fascinating class.

  3. Jye Nicolson says:

    I’m jealous of that duck sukiyaki, I’ll have to track down that izakaya next time.

    I’m also kicking myself for not going into Comic Zin when I was there a few weeks ago >_<

  4. Wes says:

    Did you happen to pick up Morinaga and Hakamada’s “Sunshower and Parabola” goudoushi, or was that maybe not available yet then? I’ve been wondering how that is, especially the Girl Friends extra.

    • I did! Both volumes – Vanilla and Sentimental and Sunshower and Parabola. At Comic Zin. Hakamada’s story followed her characters from her Galette story. Morinaga’s was a Hana and Hina story in one volume and GIRL FRIENDS in the other. Cute, as one might expect.

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