The Store that Every Otaku Should Visit When in Japan
I would not call myself an Otaku, but then again, I am a huge fan of anime, manga, Japanese cinema, and videogames, so maybe I'm just in denial. What I can't deny is how excited I get when I enter this chain of second-hand book stores in Japan and why I have to recommend this as a must-visit shop in Japan for anyone who would even remotely call themselves Otaku. The store is called...
Some of you readers out there may already know about Book Off as a second hand book shop, but oh boy, it is so much more than that. It also offers movies (DVDs & Blu-Ray), CDs, and videogames (for all console and handheld game systems). Of course, all of those items are all second-hand as well. So why shop second-hand at Book Off instead of new? Here are a few reasons:
1) New DVDs, CDs, and Videogames are REALLY expensive in Japan. 4000 yen (about $37) for a new music album?
2) Space is a premium for many shops, so they cannot afford to keep old stock on hand for long. For travelers heading to Japan looking for something that came out a year or two ago, it may be too late to pick up the item you want brand new.
3) Japanese second-hand is basically brand new anyway. The second-hand stores, especially Book Off, are meticulous about only re-selling items that are in great nick.
4) Book Off offers Tax Free merchandise for foreign travelers.
But here's the primary reason why Book Off is a must-stop shop: it often holds those hidden gems for foreign-born Otaku.
Let's say that you're looking for a super rare old school Japanese game that cannot be found anywhere else (maybe the Ashita no Joe Pachinko game for PS3). Oh, what's this?
Perhaps you're a huge fan of Dragonball and you're trying to get the whole collection of manga. Oh, look over there...
Or perhaps you love J-Pop but want to find one of the band's first few albums that are no longer sold in new-music shops...
This is why Book Off is so wonderful--it offers fans of Japanese anime, manga, videogames, and music the opportunity to find those treasures that they may have missed out on being overseas.
If you decide to head to Book Off, you won't be hard pressed to find one: this chain can be found in hundreds of locations within Japan. The website is in Japanese, but just click on the map in the website to narrow down the shop located closest to you. Happy Treasure Hunting!
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