Slowly, step by step, I’m getting rid of fthe pile of stories I should have written ages ago. Apparently, this short stay in Jamaica works ideal for me and it gave the writing boost I needed. Yaeh, mon! Just a few to go and I’m clear – ready to explore further and start new ideas, reports and reviews. Couple of days ago, I wrote about my visit in Barcelona’s Goblin Trader Store and today I finished writing about my short stay in Tokyo.
My whole trip to Japan lasted all together 12 days. I’ve been to Kurashiki, Kyoto, Nara, Sendai, Ishinomaki and finally for the last three days – Tokyo. And in Tokyo I was hoping to find the store to drop in, take a look around and buy a souvenir from Japan.
Unfortunately, to find a proper store became an uneasy task. Google helped me only with official Games Workshop store, plus one more, somewhere far, far away in the suburbs. And, three days in Tokyo, so I didn’t have the desire to spend entire day to travel to suburbs. I think the main problem were in translations – Japanese is not well recognized by ‘latin alphabet’ Google, so that’s why I got minimal numbers of results.
It was the time for little bit different approach then. I simply asked so called social media about what and where I can find in Tokyo. Hobby stores, clubs. I gladly would take everything. And I didn’t have to wait long for help from the community. In this place I’d like to thank Twitter user – Champi (Spanish living in Japan) for giving me right directions. Thanks to Champi, I knew were to go in Tokyo. Arrows Store was the name.
Arrow Hobby Store is the heart of Tokyo, in one of the busiest and colourful districts – Akihabara. Akihabara is known as an area where you can buy all kind of electronics, video games, movies, comic books, toys and whatever any Japanese nerd or geek can imagine. Unfortunately, I’m not deep enough into Anime and Manga to go crazy in Akihabara. Went directly to the address found on Arrows Store website – 6 Chome-5-11 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0021.
The store is located in the first floor of the building on the corner of Kuramae-hashi Dori. Not easy to find as the store has no visible front or even the sign. Just small plate on the entrance to the building.
The store is small, but is was filled up with goods form the floor to the ceiling (as always in that cases). Boxes, blisters, books, and accessories. Mainly Games Workshop, but also Warmachine/Hodes and Bolt Action. First room is the counter plus cases with inventory and in the second room, there is one table available for gamers (once I was in Arrows some folks were playing Warhammer 40000), plus more models/games to buy. Arrows is the exemplary store of efficient usage of the space. When, you think you will not fit any more inventory into the store, somehow you squeeze, you pile up and there is more to fit some latest releases.
I was visiting Japan in the time when new better, thicker White Dwarf was back to the shelves. And since I didn’t managed to buy it in Poland, I was thinking to get myself nice juicy treat from Japan – fresh White Dwarf magazine with Slaughterpriest mini inside.
My hopes were false. White Dwarf was sold out on first few days and there was no even one left for me. Ech… instead I fixed the substitute plan – I will buy some model instead. As souvenir. It’s always a good excuse for acquiring some miniatures:). However, I didn’t anticipate the models in Japan are so expensive! Let’s take for instance recently released Kharn The Betrayer model – in Japan it costs 5100 yens (which is 48USD). While in Poland it costs – 100 PLN (which is 26 USD!). Shit, it’s almost twice the price difference! I must say, that was a big unpleasant surprise for me. All of the sudden, I gave up my plans for buying anything hobby related in Japan. Everything was too expensive.
And the other thing. The staff allowed me to take picture in Arrows, but they were unable to speak, even the simplest English! There was no way, I could ask questions or speak about community around the store. To be honest, it’s no big surprise. Japanese folks don’t care especially about speaking other languages in general. So, Arrows staff represented the majority of the nation. Just like that.
Later, after I was back to Europe, I discovered Facebook group for Wargamer community in Japan. Entirely in English. Wargamers in Japan is the name. Maybe if I knew this group earlier I could find some player willing to play with me friendly battle of Wh40k or some other quick skirmish game… Maybe next time…
So, little bit disappointed I didn’t buy anything, I left Arrows, the weather was pleasant so we walked around the district little bit more. Went to Imperial Palace park, stopped for a while at official Games Workshop store (the prices there weren’t better:) and few hours later we called the day off.
Too bad, the prices in Japan are so high. I really hoped to grab this Kharn model there, but since I’m not an addict (yeah, right!), there was no reasonable argument for to buy it there. I think, overpriced models in Japan are kind of the mystery, exactly like in Australia. Everybody just assumed, it’s far – so it’s expensive. But is it real reason? Or maybe GW policy to screw those far away lands? Like I said, the mystery (at least for me)
What’s next. Tomorrow I’m heading Europe. 10 days in Jamaica was splendid. Hot, sunny days next to the beach. Now, I’s time to get back and start new, exciting chapter in my life. Getting back to Barcelona after three years (I lived there from 2011 to 2013) is giving me serious positive goose bumps. Its going to be awesome. I can feel it. First – renting the flat, than transport all necessary things and finally, setting up the painting station. And back to work!
Until next time!
jak zawsze swietny artykuł.
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This is a very impressive article. Maybe, if you are near Koblenz, please visit us in Germany:) Greetings Sven from nerd-germany.de 🙂
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sure thing. we have to stay in touch. once a year I’m visiting Mainz (june-july, depends), so… Koblenz… why not? It’s so close. just tiny detour for one game or two:) cheers!
Greetings from the land of rising sun!
Unfortunately Japan suffers from “being in the same shipping zone as Australia” and the cost of shipping stuff here as well as customs really drove the price up.
I buy GW stuff from Japanese hobby shops to support business, plus it’s the only source. however when it comes to other games (Bolt Action/Flames of War/Infinity) I order from the UK, pay less, and get free shipping 🙂
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this is truly most unfortunate. I was thinking to be a miniature ‘souvenir’ when I was in Tokyo. well, it was too expensive. but you are right with supporting local hobby stores on the other hand. you are facing diffucult situation there…