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bluemax151

Shopping tips for Taiwan & Japan trip

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I will be travelling to Taipei Taiwan with friends in April and from there will be heading over to Tokyo Japan for 5 days. This will be my first time in Japan since my previous trip scheduled for 2011 was canceled due to natural disaster. We may also go to Hong Kong for a day but that's currently up for debate. One of our group is from Taiwan and still has family there and someone we will be meeting in Taiwan works for a travel company and will be accompanying us on the Japan leg of our trip. In theory we should be covered on general info and the foremost point of this topic is for nerd shopping pointers but any advice would be greatly appreciated. As you can guess since I am a member of this board Macross is one of my areas of interest but I'm also an avid Gundam, 1/6th scale, Videogame and Airsoft collector. I love motorcycles too but I somehow doubt I'll be buying one crating it up and shipping it back :) It would be excellent if someone could point me in the direction of a store(s) with a great selection of used retro games.

I did poke around the forums and perform a search but all the topics I found were fairly old and may not have the most up to date info.

http://www.macrossworld.com/mwf/index.php?showtopic=32893&hl=%2Btravel+%2Btips#entry844725

http://www.macrossworld.com/mwf/index.php?showtopic=21294&hl=%2Btrip+%2Badvice#entry457027

http://www.macrossworld.com/mwf/index.php?showtopic=20577&hl=%2Btrip+%2Badvice#entry440231

http://www.macrossworld.com/mwf/index.php?showtopic=12417&hl=%2Btrip+%2Badvice

http://www.macrossworld.com/mwf/index.php?showtopic=11021&hl=%2Btrip+%2Badvice#entry204603

http://www.macrossworld.com/mwf/index.php?showtopic=8639&hl=%2Btrip+%2Badvice#entry156432

http://www.macrossworld.com/mwf/index.php?showtopic=22636&hl=%2Bjapan+%2Btrip

http://www.macrossworld.com/mwf/index.php?showtopic=20577&hl=%2Bjapan+%2Btrip#entry440119

http://www.macrossworld.com/mwf/index.php?showtopic=16492&hl=%2Bjapan+%2Btrip#entry335738

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Bring tons of money, and make sure you have plenty of wiggle room on your credit card as well. Make sure you visit Electric City - Akihabara (its off the Yamanote line, hard to miss), you'll find plenty there and you will need at least a full day there.

No haggling over prices in Japan, or at least I've never tried.

If you can find the time, try to get out to Twin Rings Motegi (Tochigi). The Honda Collection Hall has a sick motorcycle collection and it's worth checking out.

Edited by peter

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Nakano Broadway Mandarake is a must-visit place. Just take the Chuo line, exit at Nakano Station, and head towards Sun Plaza. Follow that road to the end, and you're golden.

All Mandarake stores open at noon, by the way.

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Akihabara is a bit different to what it was, but is still worth a visit. If you're pressed for time, the giant Yodabashi Akiba store (you can't miss it, its like the arcology from "Blade Runner") is a good one stop place for recent releases. "Book Off" is a second-hand CD/DVD/Book chain with branches all over the place. Don't forget to buy an ice cream thats 33% tastier than any other ice cream at the Gundam Cafe!

Theres a good toy shop in Ueno, a few buildings up from the "OIOI ("Marui") City" department store across from the main Ueno station. I can never remember the name of the place, but it has like a flying saucer with a couple of eyes on it on the fascia.

Kiddyland in Harajuku is another good toy shop, though more for a "general" toy-buying audience than collectors.

Not an essential visit, but you'll probably regret not seeing the giant RX-78 Gundam replica in Odaiba.

Don't discount department store or "mainstream" shop toy departments, they can sometimes have older items and are under less pressure to cycle stock than the more fandom orientated places.

Generally keep your eyes peeled, you never know when you might spot a place of interest, and many small businesses are located above and below ground level.

Everything you buy will be packaged to within an inch of its life, and this can add up (particularly in generally small Japanese hotel rooms); discreetly visit convenience stores to use their waste bins and consider posting back large or numerous items.

Particularly in Akihabara, many items of interest are now locked behind glass cabinets, so it can help to have a bit of knowledge of spoken Japanese.

I feel your pain about the cancelled 2011 trip, I was booked to go a couple of weeks after the same events. Wasn't my first trip, but hurt all the same (though obviously small potatoes compared to all those that lost their lives).

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Theres a good toy shop in Ueno, a few buildings up from the "OIOI ("Marui") City" department store across from the main Ueno station. I can never remember the name of the place, but it has like a flying saucer with a couple of eyes on it on the fascia.

Yamashiroya, right outside Ueno station

Edited by peter

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For Tokyo dining, I highly recommend Curry House CoCo Ichibanya (several locations all over Japan), Asakusa Imahan (Taito-ku, home of the best sukiyaki in the world), and Tucano's Grill (Akihabara and Shibuya, great Brazilian Churrascaria). If you're into Gunpla, the best places are Yodobashi Camera and Bic Camera, as they sell Gunpla and some anime toys at up to 30% off retail.

Odaiba is also a great place to visit, especially with the Gundam statue in front of Diver City. Gundam Front Tokyo sells Gunpla and other merchandise at retail (sorry, no tourist tax exemptions), but they have tons of exclusive goodies you won't find anywhere else.

If you're allowed an extra day or two, take a train to Shizuoka Prefecture and do some of your shopping at Gotemba Premium Outlets.

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For Tokyo dining, I highly recommend Curry House CoCo Ichibanya (several locations all over Japan), Asakusa Imahan (Taito-ku, home of the best sukiyaki in the world), and Tucano's Grill (Akihabara and Shibuya, great Brazilian Churrascaria). If you're into Gunpla, the best places are Yodobashi Camera and Bic Camera, as they sell Gunpla and some anime toys at up to 30% off retail.

Odaiba is also a great place to visit, especially with the Gundam statue in front of Diver City. Gundam Front Tokyo sells Gunpla and other merchandise at retail (sorry, no tourist tax exemptions), but they have tons of exclusive goodies you won't find anywhere else.

If you're allowed an extra day or two, take a train to Shizuoka Prefecture and do some of your shopping at Gotemba Premium Outlets.

Does CoCo Ichiban still have the curry challenge? My friends and I tried it and failed. 1.3kg of rice, and as much curry as you need (to wet the rice) in 20 minutes and you get your photo up on the wall of shame.

Favourite sushi place is actually one stop away from the airport in the town of Narita. It's called Edokko:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_t3C7S5jos3o/S1lgbTX5WSI/AAAAAAAABDA/VSH12W1nX7I/s1600-h/DSC00013.JPG

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_t3C7S5jos3o/S1lgbkkGosI/AAAAAAAABDI/P9ccQ8_ECzw/s1600-h/DSC00012.JPG

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_t3C7S5jos3o/S1leQXxFJ_I/AAAAAAAAA_4/Hpkf9QV0i5I/s1600-h/DSC00071.JPG

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_t3C7S5jos3o/S1ldgvOxkFI/AAAAAAAAA_I/-fn0GJBV3T4/s1600-h/DSC00079.JPG

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_t3C7S5jos3o/S1ldfUtTdGI/AAAAAAAAA-o/xMozJBSOsqE/s1600-h/DSC00084.JPG

I flew to Japan once or twice a month for a period of two years and I made it a point to go here every trip that I flew into NRT.

Edited by peter

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be sure to check out the underground mall in Taipei.

a few months ago in Tokyo, i was just aimlessly walking the streets of Ikebukuro and a queue in front of a ramen shop caught my attention since it was already 10pm.

lemming that i was, i lined up, and was not disappointed. the place is called Mutekiya.

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