Wednesday, December 9, 2009


The weekend of Nov. 28, the good people behind the making of the new Left4Dead 2 video game held a promo event in Akihabara, across Chuu-ou Dori from the UDX building. Basically, it was just a large booth set up to look like a toxic waste storage shed, complete with "keep out" tape. Inside were several large monitors showing off the game. People weren't being ushered through very fast, so the wait was about 30-40 minutes to get inside.

Around the booth, women dressed up in plain outfits were handing out "first aid kits"; little paper packets containing 2 band aids and a pack of 10 colored cotton swabs (pink, blue and yellow), with advertising for the game on the back. It looks like a fun game. I may have to think about getting a XBox at this rate.

One comment: I'm a fairly ardent gamer. I really like Japanese RPGs (Final Fantasy, et. al) on the PlayStation. But, since coming to Japan, I haven't really had the opportunity to sit down and play like I used to. Plus, the games cost more here. I just have too many other things that I'm doing to have time to bash monsters like I used to. Sigh.


At about the same time, one company had set up a booth in front of the UDX building to sell bags of rice, under the appropriate label "Moe Minori" ("cute and sexy harvest"). I don't know how well their sales went, but it is definitely "moe". I like the way her hair turns from braids to grain stalks.


A week later, I decided to check out Junichi Nakahara's memorial gift shop, Soleil, in Hiro-o, just east of Shibuya station on the Yamanote line. Junichi was an illustrator, fashion designer and doll maker from the '20s to the 50's, and he did the covers for Shojo no Tomo (Girl's Friend) magazine prior to launching two of his own magazines. I wanted to visit his shop to be able to write it up in the Anime and Manga Galleries and Museums page. But, I took a wrong turn and ended up heading back to the train station by accident (a common problem in Tokyo). Fortunately, I walked by two different shops with Looney Tunes characters painted on the shutter doors. The shops were a couple of blocks apart, and there wasn't a Looney Tunes theme elsewhere on the street, so I'm not sure why both places had related art.


After visiting Soleil, I continued on to Tokyo station, where I wanted to do some Christmas shopping at the gift shops there. Again by accident, I found the Astro Boy goods shop at one end of the station. Better hurry, if you want a Tezuka fix - the shop closes by Dec. 13.


Within Akihabara station, there's an ad for one of the manga magazines, offering a Christmas present for you. Many of the characters in the ad are from Deadman's Wonderland. Very festive.

Also within the Akihabara station, the cell phone company Docomo had their booth set up for promoting wireless laptops using their internet services. Actually, Docomo had the same booth set up some time previously, but it was taken down by the end of that weekend. The space here is often used to promote a variety of things, including the Which Witch game I ran photos of before.

Here, we have Tetsujin 28-go, known in the U.S. as Gigantor. This is the same character that is now a 30-some foot tall life-sized statue standing in Kobe. The one shown here is not quite so big,


Just outside the Akihabara station, in the Yodobashi Camera building tunnel, they had a display set up to sell the new Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince DVD. The staff was dressed up in Hogwarts robes and carried wands.

The display stand was designed for anyone that wanted their photo taken before buying the DVD, and I think they could put on a robe for the shot if they wanted.


Just north of the Akihabara station, beside the UDX building, someone set up a Christmas tree covered with Gundam toys. Not sure why, because there's no one nearby telling potential customers where to go to buy the toys. And, that night, it rained pretty heavily. The display was still outside the next day, though. The monitor ran advertising for a new Gundam game, and occasionally people would gather to take photos of the tree.


However, NOTHING says "Christmas" like little happy green zombie ghosts. This poster ad was on the shutter doors of an electronics shop at the east end of Akihabara. I don't know if the green girl is part of the shop's brand or not, but she does look pleased to get a present. Although, her hands look like a pair of alligator clips, so she may have problems actually playing with her presents...

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