Author Topic: Trip in Tokyo  (Read 1219 times)

Offline Decar

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Trip in Tokyo
« on: September 30, 2017, 09:27:14 AM »
I think most of you know I've been away for the last week or so.
I've been on a work trip to Tokyo.
In between work, I got the opportunity to visit the mega-metropolis.
Thankfully, I've been a tourist in Tokyo before and had seen the majority of places, one would normally visit.  Also, if I went anywhere new and exciting, my wife would be annoyed.  That gave me a great excuse to visit the boardgame shops of Tokyo.

BGG have some useful lists of shops to visit, however some of them are out of date or don't quite provide enough information to be foolproof.  So I thought I'd share my thoughts on a few venture and give people a brief guide on how to find them.

Akihabara -  Akihabara was once famous for being the electronics centre of Tokyo.  Prior to the internet, it was the place to find a deal on a television or a digital camera.  Nowadays, it is host to numerous slot and arcade machine centres with vibrant anime or manga characters sprawling big neon signs.  Imagine a 1980s amusement arcade.  The location is also home of several unusually themed cafes, however I didn't have chance to visit any of them.  I was on the lookout for two shops:  'Yellow Submarine' and the 'Shosen Book Tower'.  While following my phone's navigation to Yellow Submarine, I came across the Book Tower.  I had heard there was a selection of japanese games here.  So I ventured into the Tower.  Each floor was relatively small, the shopping space was probably only 10x20m wide but crammed with books.  Where the Tower lacks in floor surface area, it makes up with sheer number of floors.  It has 9 in total.  I slowly made my way up the escalator, stopping briefly to check the content out of each floor.  The usual topics for books were present as you'd expect.  I paused in the manga section and paused in the sports section.  But I saw no signs of any games.  Each floor had only 1 or 2 customers present, so it wasn't too busy.
 Soon I made it to the top floor, number 9.  I discovered, on arrival and to my horror, I had unwittingly stumbled into the 'adult' section of the book store.  I turned around immediately, which didn't really help because escalators only work one-way.  I was going to have to walk through shop to find the down-escalator.  You'd think I'd be able to quietly and briskly vacate the floor, but it transpired that this floor was significantly more popular than the previous 8 floors of my journey.  10 or 12 customers all looked up to see who had joined them, pausing their perusing of the catalogues of risque materials.  Thankfully, I found the down-escalator (a de-escalator?), on the way out I passed several curtained cubicles. I left the shop.

I would continue to my next destination, unperturbed..mostly.  I would later discover, reading on BGG, that the boardgame section is in fact tucked away in a corner of the 9th story of Shosen Tower.  I decided I didn't need to venture back to see what I had missed.  Even a stray copy of Cathars wouldn't be worth that.

The sign for 'Yellow Submarine' is not quite what I expected.  Let me show you:



As you'll see, it's mostly blue, (or maybe even white) at least to my eye.  It's certainly not a yellow submarine.  Someone should really have words about what they decide to call their shop.  Or at least the logo for it.  Thankfully it's not too hard to find, and relatively close to the station, within about 5 minutes walk.  The shop spans 2-floors of quite a large large 1970's tower block.  If you're going I'd advise starting on the 8th floor and working your way down to the bottom floor, rather than waiting for the lift.

The 8th floor hosts a big collection of Japanese RPGs and Boardgames.  There is quite a range of European games in their collection and several smaller Japanese games,  things which are popular on the BGG-store for example.  I was happy to find a copy of Shephy.  This is a game I struggled to find at Essen last year and is about combining the powers of cards to breed sheep!  There were also a really big selection of small-box games and card-games, but I needed to quickly look on BGG to determine if the rules had been translated.  Often Japanese games support 3 or more players, I'm really only interested in 2+.  I decided to grab some games:



The other two games are:
HATSUDEN - Seems to be a city construction game, where you have to power different rows to score points.  It looks simple and was specifically for 2 players.  I look forward to giving this a try.
Sheep n Sheep  - This is a herd sorting game. Sheep need to be arranged so that they're all happy and score the most points.
To be honest, I wish I had more energy to trawl the collection of games, but hopefully I grabbed the highlights.

Yellow Submarine also had several tables out with people meeting friends and playing games, there was a miriad of dice and a small selection of T-shirts, Totebags and dice towers.  I was tempted by the 'Meeple Meeple Meeple' shirt, which had 3 meeple on it.
On the floor below Yellow Submarine had an entire floor devoted to Collectible Card Games like Magic the Gathering.  Nothing of interest there for me, so I went downstairs.  There, there was a shop that specialised it plastic statues of gaming and anime characters.  It was quite spectacular, but again nothing substantial for me.  The floor below was owned by the same company, on this floor they specialised on biscuits.  Hundreds of different types of novelty biscuits, cookies and confectionary.  I bought a box of 'Gudetama' cookies.  I'll let you discover those on your own.

That's all the time I had in Akihabara, given the ropey start, I was doing quite well.

Shinjuku - is the largest railway station in Tokyo, it's a central hub to most of the underground/subway transport system that spans Tokyo.  It has approximately 20 station platforms, it's immensely busy!  Just by Shinjuku station is a large department store.  Unlike the UK, I think it would be quite possible to spend all day in a Japanese department store.  The particular store I wanted to visit was home of 'Tokyu Hands', which is inside the 'Takashimaya Store'.  There are about 14 stories inside this beast of a store.  Tokyu Hands is a department store that takes up 1/2 of about 6 stories there.  It's hard to describe precisely what Tokyu Hands is.  They sell pretty much everything.  You can buy bedclothes, tableware and microscopes within the store. But they specialise in stationery.  They have an entire department devoted to stickers, for example.  They have a massive array of beautiful envelopes and pens.  I can quite happily spend an hour looking at the latest stationery technology.  But most importantly, they now have a selection of boardgames.  It was quite surprised,  Catan and Carcassonne are both extremely popular, the selection is quite broad given the limited space devoted to it.  I picked up the following:



Katamino - is available in a lot of places and is an abstract puzzler about filling space with Penta (shapes made out of 5 cubes).  There are numerous ways to play the puzzles, so I thought it was a good reminder of my trip.  I'm hoping it will remind me of Cathedral.
Shogi - (わんにゃん将棋 - Wannian shogi) I've wanted to play Shogi for quite some time and most sets in the UK are very expensive, and have smatterings of Japanese characters on them, which makes it somewhat inaccessible.  Enter Dog vs Cats Shogi, all of the pieces have their movements marked, I hoped having dogs and cats would mean my wife would play it.  Either way, it looks lovely!
Tokyo Highway - This has been popular on BGG, it's a 2 player abstract dexterity game about building a road network. Looking forward to trying it.

Yellow Submarine - also has a shop in Shinjuku, a small 3 story block, the basement is RPGs, the top floor is CCGs and the middle floor is mainly Euro-games.  There's a massive selection and a big collection of second hand games too.  Nothing too my fancy here, but there was plenty of choice.  Probably more than that found in Akihabara to be honest.  This shop is a little harder to find, it's quite some distance from the station and even further from the Takashimaya store.  The area is full of knock-off consumer electronics.  The store was tucked away in between two of these shops.  Definitely worth a visit if you're in the region.

Tokyo Dome - Mobius is the Japanese publisher of Carcassonne.  I had attempted to visit them on Sunday, but they were closed.  I managed to find time after work to visit their tiny shop.  Every shop I visited had a copy of Carcassonne thus far.  But I was still interested to see what they had on offer.  If you're visiting, I would recommend visiting on your way through Akihabara or Shinjuku rather than making a deliberate stop here.  That is unless you're actually visiting the Tokyo Dome, or the amusement park.  There's little else within walking distance of the station.  The shop is hard to find.  Once you depart Suidobashi you'll see a McDonalds.  The Mobius shop is inside the same building. There's a small entrance way to a lift.  The shop is on the 5th floor.  The shop was considerably smaller than I was expecting.  Roughly 4 book shelves of displayed games.  Not like the 4 bookshelves utterly crammed full of games like I have at home.  Mostly the shop sold Euro games, either Queen of Hans Im Glueck German editions with Japanese rules attached a few were dedicated translations.

I introduced myself to the shop owner, a very nice gentleman who was surprised to see me by all accounts.  I explained I was from the UK and played Carcassonne and had heard about the shop.  I introduced Carcassonne Central too.  They had a framed Spiel 15 tile that KJW had signed.  He also showed me a picture of the Japanese Champion from 2 years prior.  I had relented up until this point, but decided it was time to purchase the inevitable:



The gentleman explained there was a special expansion in the Japanese edition which included special locations from Japan.  I was able to recognise the Buddha from Karakura and he pointed out the temple of Asakusa, which I could see from the Skytree, which I had visited earlier in the day.

After my purchase, it was time to leave and also begin for my departure from Tokyo.

Tokyo's an incredibly vibrant city with plenty to see, and great for tourists too.  Everyone is considerably friendly.  I'm glad I found a few hours over the few days I had to visit some of the boardgaming highlights which I could share with you.  There are other smaller shops dotted around the city, but I'll have to save those for a future visit.  My boardgaming collection is now a little bit larger with a few more memories of my successful trip.

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=3562.0

Offline Mr Meeple

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Re: Trip in Tokyo
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2017, 11:41:21 AM »
Thanks for sharing your experiences - great trip and nice games that you've picked  :(y)

Do I understand you correctly that there was a Japanese edition in the new design that contained a few extra tiles like the ones you've mentioned?  I assume that the version you've picked doesn't contain these extra tiles - otherwise it would be mentioned on the cover I think. I'm curious how these special expansion looks like  ::) Might be a follow up to the Japanese temples and monestaries released via HIG. Very interesting!

Offline Decar

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Re: Trip in Tokyo
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2017, 02:28:05 AM »
It contains the Japanese Temples.  These were special tiles designed by Mobius to be included with the Japanese base game.  However HiG released them prior to Essen last year, before the Japanese publisher had the chance!!

Offline Mr Meeple

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Re: Trip in Tokyo
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2017, 03:53:09 AM »
I see, thank you for your explanation! I had a look at the website of mobius and found a photo of it: http://www.mobius-games.co.jp/HansimGluck/CarcassonneJ.html - thanks to google translator  ;)

Anyways it is really nice that you have the Japanese edition of it  :)

Offline Decar

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Re: Trip in Tokyo
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2017, 04:07:56 AM »
I really like the 'J', it's a shame they weren't brave enough to apply them to the tile backs.  However Carcassonne is already very popular and they wished to remain fully compatible!

Offline Mr Meeple

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Re: Trip in Tokyo
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2017, 02:44:40 PM »
Absolutely. With regards to the front cover of the packaging I thought that they have the 'J' at the tile backs - similar to the Russian edition. But it makes sense that they want to be fully compatible instead of making their own edition.


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