♥ The Pretty Otaku

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Hey there!

Today, when I was out with some friends for lunch, I saw THIS CAR in the parking lot of the restaurant!

 

OH MY GOD IT’S A HATSUNE MIKU CAR!
I squeed with fangirlish glee, started singing “Miku Miku ni Shite Ageru,” and snapped pictures like a mad fiend. 

I am so jealous of whoever owns this car. Miku is such a cutie. I’d love to have a Miku car! 

 

I’m also very impressed with all the costume details they included. Her sleeve has all the “menu” options and her headphones are pretty cute too. 

 

There was another cute miku on the side of the car… 

 

And look who else made an appearance! 

 

Vocaloid for the Unaware:

Perhaps you are wondering why I was so excited about seeing this car with this particular character on it. If you are, that means you don’t know the awesome that is Vocaloid, and I’ll have to remedy that situation.

 “Vocaloids” are computer software programs that can be programmed to sing like a human. At this point in time, listeners can still tell that the singer is obviously robotic, but who knows what the future will bring? As of now, I like ot think of vocaloids as any other kind of instrument. It takes a lot of skill to be able to use a Vocaloid well, after all. Maybe a different sort of skill than that required to play a piano, but it’s a skill nonetheless.

Some smart marketer/developer/whoever decided to create cute anime characters to represent each of the unique voices available as vocaloid software. That’s who Hatsune Miku is, one of these characters. In fact, she is the most popular one.

Here is the website where Miku and some other popular vocaloids are sold: http://www.crypton.co.jp/mp/pages/prod/vocaloid/ 

A popular vocaloid-related thing is for people online to make songs and/or videos with Miku and other vocaloid characters. Some of these are pretty impressive, and alot of the songs are really catchy. Here are some of my favorites.

Miku Miku ni Shite Ageru: an older Miku preview song. How can you not love it?

World is Mine: A newer, cute Miku song about being the world’s number one princess.

Love is War: Miku singing something a bit darker, but still great.

Dreaming Little Bird: A song by vocaloids Kaito and Meiko, two of the oldest Japanese vocaloids.

A cover of the theme from the anime Paprika, done by Kaito. His voice is perfect for it, I think.

Imitation Black: A song by Kaito and two other male vocaloids named Len and Gakupo.

Spice!: A song by Len. I like it alot, it gets stuck in my head.

Dancing Samurai: By Gakupo!~ Never fails to make me smile. C’mon, it’s about samurai and dancing.

Paranoid Doll: A darker Gakupo song.

Hope you enjoyed it!

Matta ne!~
The Pretty Otaku

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Hi everyone! I’m going to start this blog off with a bang, aka a guide about where you can find the best doujinshi in the city of Nagoya, Japan. Lots of people have documented good places to find doujinshi in Tokyo (Akiba, Otome Road, etc.) but information on Nagoya is pretty scarce. I had to do all the legwork myself after I got here.

This here is a subway map of Nagoya. It will be your best friend on your visit. If you plan on going all over doujin-shopping in one day, I suggest buying an all-day pass at whatever station you start from, it’ll be cheaper than bouncing around paying 230-290 yen for every stop you make.

The first stop of our guide is the Tora no Ana:   http://www.toranoana.co.jp/
This store is open monday through friday 11:00am~9:00pm, and 10:00am~8:00pm on weekends.

Tora no Ana has a wide variety of new products. They have manga, anime, CDs, magazines, etc. The doujinshi that they carry tend to all be newer releases of the circles that affiliate with them, they have new stuff every few weeks.

Here’s a map, if you can read Japanese.

For everyone else, take the subway to Hisaya-Odori station. You can get there on the red (Sakura-dori) or the purple (Meijo) lines.
Use exit 2A to leave the station.

Now… look to your left.

Ta-da! You’re right in front of the store!

You can use other exits to get there, such as exit 4A (which is slightly easier to find, in my opinion): if you do, this is the building you’re looking for. As you can see, exit 2A is literally RIGHT IN FRONT of the store.

The next stop on our guide is the Mandarake: http://www.mandarake.co.jp/
This store is open most days from 12:00pm ~8:00pm

This store is my absolute favorite! Why? Because the doujin is CHEAP! Everything at Mandarake is resale, so it tends to be very affordable. If you spot something you like at a Tora no Ana or other store, I suggest looking in the Mandarake first to see if someone else has already bought it, decided to resell it, and then you can buy it cheaper. Unless it weirds you out to buy your doujinshi knowing that someone else owned it first… I mean, who knows what they did to it… >->
Besides doujin, Mandarake also has resale cosplay outfits, lolita clothes, manga/anime, figurines, trading cards, cds, and other things that geeky people might like to collect. Definitely worth a visit.

Here’s the map:

The map says otherwise, but here’s the way that I get to Mandarake. It’s more convenient for me because I’m always coming from Osu, a place with lots of fun shops and places to eat. You’d probably like Osu too, so give my way a try!

First, go to Osu Kannon station on the blue line (tsurumai line). Use exit 2 to get out.

 This is the road you will see, with a Circle K (the sign is a K in a circle, the place is called Circle K, get it? Clever, Japan. Clever.)
You can’t see it very well in this picture, but a bit down from the circle K is a 7-11. This is where you turn left.

Once you turn left, you’ll see one of the side entrances  to the Osu-Kannon temple. It’s hard to miss. Just walk right in front of the temple, and maybe take a picture. Good photo-op, if you want to convince people that you didn’t spend ALL your time looking for anime goods and actually did spend time enjoying Japan’s fine cultural assets. They never need to know the truth.

(in case you can’t guess, I took this picture on a different day than the other Osu ones. I think the lack of rain gives it away.)

Passing in front of the Osu temple, you wil see this entrance to part of the Osu shopping district. It’s just a long, narrow street with shops. Enter here.

 Continue walking down the street until you see this shop called Fierte on the left hand side of the street. It’ll be a few minutes before you get there, don’t worry, most likely you didn’t miss it.

Turn left in front of fierte. You will now be walking down a narrower street/alley. But look, there’s the Mandarake!

Ta-da! You made it!

Where to next? How about the Kanayama Animate:  http://www.animate.co.jp/
This store is open 11:00am~8:00pm most days.

Animates sell new products; a LOT of character goods (plushies, folders, figures, etc.), anime, manga, catalogues, art supplies, and a smaller amount of doujinshi than all of the other stores on this guide. They sell the same doujin you can get at Tora no Ana, or for cheaper at Mandarake.  I don’t recommend shopping for doujin there regularly, unless there is a new doujin out that you want NOW. However, Animates are the #1 place to buy character goods for an awful lot of popular anime/manga, so it’s a good place to visit.

The Kanayama Animate is one of the two Animates in Nagoya. Although it’s smaller than the other, I notice that they have a slightly different selection of goods. As such, it’s definitely worth visiting both locations, in my opinion.

The obligatory map!

Take the purple line (Meijo line) to reach Kanayama.  Use Exit 3 to leave the station. You should be able to see a McDonalds a bit across the street. The Animate is to the left of the McDonalds, on the second floor of the adjacent building. It’s super easy to find. The picture below is a little busy, but you can see the “mate” of the animate, white against a blue background, towards the bottom of the dark-colored building that is next to the brown building/Mcdonalds.

Next up is obviously the Nagoya Station Animate! However, all of the next three stores that I’m going to mention are ALL reached by Nagoya Station. As such, I will start explaining direction for each of them from the same “start point,” that is, the Taiko-dori entrance of Nagoya Station.

Step one: Get to Nagoya Station. By subway, this means take the yellow line (Higashiyama line) or the red line (Sakura-dori line).

 Nagoya Station Animate is open most days 10:00am~8:30pm.

This here is the map, of course.

This is a picture of Nagoya Station. The WRONG side of Nagoya station. You want to be on the OTHER side. The underground area of Nagoya station is incredibly easy to get lost in, so my best suggestion is to get above ground as soon as you can, and then head into the station. If you come up on this side, just know that you have to walk through the building and get to the opposite side.

WRONG SIDE:

If you’re inside the station, THIS is the sort of sign that you are looking for, ones that say “Taiko-dori Side.” Taiko-dori side is the direction that you want to exit.

The Taiko-dori side has this sculpture in front of it, just an FYI.

Across the street there is a Bic Camera. Lots of electronic here, if you are interested. Cross here.

Now you should be facing the front the Bic Camera. Turn left. Now you will be walking straight for a while. Eventually you will pass by a Denny’s…

Then, eventually you will come to a store called a Mini-Mini. Their mascot is that strange superhero-looking character in the bottom right corner. I can’t guarantee that character will still be on the window when you go, but it says Mini Mini on their door.
The Animate is just past this Mini Mini.

Be careful! You might walk right past the Animate. it doesn’t stand out very much.

Next, we’ll visit the KAC Shop: http://www2.spacelan.ne.jp/~kac-shop/
The KAC Shop is closed Tuesdays, but is usually open 11:00am~7:30pm.

The KAC Shop is another resale doujinshi store like Mandarake, except that they ONLY sell doujinshi, rather than all sorts of resale geeky goods. They also sell some art supplies and non-resale doujinshi as well. KAC Shop specializes in doujinshi intended for GIRLS – that is, it’s VERY heavy on the yaoi. Their prices for resale doujin is ALWAYS higher than Mandarake, but this actually can be helpful. Because everything is priced higher, there is a good chance that you will find something rare that you can’t find anywhere else.

To reach the KAC Shop, start back at the Bic Camera. Instead of turning right or left, keep walking straight.

It won’t be long before you see the KAC Shop across the way to your left! It is extremely nondescript from the outside, as you can see all the posters on the windows are facing inward so that you can’t see inside the shop. Look for the KAC Shop banner.

Alright, just one (two?) more stops. These two are partner stores that are right next to each other:
Melonbooks: http://www.melonbooks.co.jp/ and Livret: http://www.livret.jp/
Melonbooks is usually open 10:30am ~ 8:00pm and Livret is open 10:30am ~ 7:30pm.

Melonbooks sells doujinshi aimed at guys. Livret sells doujinshi aimed at girls. They are a little bit like smaller-scale Tora no Anas, just with a different selection of doujinshi circles affiliated with them.

Maps:
 
As you can see, the Melonbooks map likes to pretend that the Livret store doesn’t exist apart from itself. Livret is having none of this.

To reach these two stores, start from the KAC shop, as in, follow the direction that will get you to the KAC shop.  Then, turn down the road directly next to the KAC shop, it should look something like this:

Continuing straight, you’ll eventually cross a street  and pass the Nagoya Liberty Hotel. The Melonbooks and Livret are right on the other side of this hotel.

And there you have it! A picture of Livret for your troubles; Melonbooks is next door if that’s more your thing.

Wow, that took a lot of work. I hope you found it helpful. Are there any other doujinshi store/chains/companies/whathaveyou that you know of? Please drop me a line, so I can see if there are any stores that I’ve missed here in Nagoya. As it is, I tend to stumble on the websites of these companies by accident, and that’s how I find out that they have stores in Nagoya.

Thanks for reading!
Matta Ne!~

The Pretty Otaku

Hello everyone who may happen upon my blog!

I’m just your everday girl who happens to be obsessed with anime, manga, cosplay, and other geeky things.

Right now I’m studying abroad in Japan – I have been here for a semester already, and will be here until May. Why didn’t I start a blog sooner? I’ve been too lazy, I guess.

I hope to use this blog to post pictures of Japan, my adventures, the doujinshi and character goods I buy, cosplay, and random musings on life, love of bishounen, and the pursuit of manga-related happiness!

Mata ne! Come back soon, ok?

The Pretty Otaku



  • Mike: I was in Nagoya this year (stayed at the Marriott) and it is amazing to me how well you have captured the area around the station. It felt like I was

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