Nakano Broadway

If you like anime and manga, You will want to visit Nakano Broadway if you visit Japan.  I’ve been there all three of my trips to Japan.  Surprisingly, I don’t have that many pics of the inside, but what I have is here.


It’s a short walk from the Chuo Line Nakano station.,139.6637232,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x1526bb6342856fa9:0xe9aa9d88c43197d5

The mall is known for it’s shops containing anime and manga goods, but there’s actually much more there.  My first trip we go there before Mandarake opened and I walked around the entire mall, finding all sort of little shops selling all sort of Japanese stuff that had nothing to do with hobbies  or anime.  There’s also the long covered shopping district as you walk toward Broadway.

For  some off the wall shopping in Tokyo it’s worth going just a little off the beaten path to get to Nakano Broadway.  It’s also a good stop after visiting the Ghibli museum as both are on the Chuo Line.


Nakano Broadway Official Site.

Here’s a playlist of walkthrough videos.

The main attraction for most non Japanese is Mandarake the used manga, anime and Otaku goods paradise.  Mandarake isn’t just one big store, it’s a bunch of different small cubes scattered all over the third and fourth floor of Broadway.

Danny Choo does a walkthrough.

And another one

Still more.

Nakano Broadway is one of those places that are always worth taking time for.  It’s also easy to get to and worth the trip if you are in Tokyo. Highly recommended, for what that’s worth.


The Tokaido And Sanyo Shinkansen End To End

Apparently a Japanese TV program made these cab view videos when the 100’s were new.

The Tokaido Shinkansen:

And the Sanyo Shinkansen:

These videos are interesting because you can see the line before some the improvements were made, such as the tunnel noise reduction shields and the constant tension catenary. You can also see the colorful trains on the Yamanote and Kehin Tohoku Lines as the train runs through Tokyo at the beginning of the run.  In all these sped up videos are an interesting look at the Shinkansen


In The Rush To Spiff Up For The Olympics, What Is Tokyo Losing?

This article showed up on my facebook feed the other day.

The problem with those big developments is that they don’t seem to have much character.  There’s something about the rows of closed doors in hallways that discourages intercommunication and neighborliness.  Yes the big buildings  have great views and are efficient but there’s not much character there.  Walking in some of those Tokyo neighborhoods and they just ooze the kind  character that gives life to a big city.  Quite frankly, if you are hoping to encourage travelers to come, character and atmosphere are exactly what you want.

Here’s some big developments in Shinagawa:



On the Shimada River:


And one of the most infamous buildings in Tokyo, the Asahi beer building:

One thing those massive developments never seem to develop is true character.


They never seem to have life in the streets like this.


Or these.





And these.



There’s something to be said about the places just hanging on, but providing a living for people.


A great city needs to remember where it came from and remember, no matter how great the developers claims that their plans don’t always work out. I’ve seen far too many cases where those big buildings just seem to be out of scale and out of touch with the communities that they are dropped into.


Context is important in development.  And a city needs diversity. Anyway here’s an album of Tokyo neighborhoods with all sorts of buildings, large and small.

Dear NY Times Magazine


I recently read you Voyages issue Of the NYT Sunday Magazine.

Most of the photo articles were excellent, though I think that Mr. Sugimoto was trying too hard to be artsy when he had a great story and should have run with it.  Sort of a reverse Marco Polo.  But the story that really bothered me was the one about Tokyo by Mr. Soth.  Which should have been titled “Hotel Room” or maybe, “Room Service.”   The thing about Voyages is the experience and locking yourself up in a hotel room and calling in room service is not experience. Which is sad because Tokyo is a city that begs to be experienced. In a way that was the point of “Lost In Translation.”

To show Mr. Soth a little of what he missed, well here’s some pics I’ve shot in Tokyo.

I was spending my own money, so I didn’t stay as fancy as the Park Hyatt. The View from my hotel room was rather prosaic, though the love hotel did have it’s romanticism.


Perhaps that was good reason to leave the room. Tokyo has a lot of the unexpected.


Such as little French cars.  It pays though to go off the beaten path and try to find perhaps the prosaic and unloved, well at least by it’s owners, photographers certainly love this little rusty locomotive.


It may be the most photographed train in Japan.  Of course it’s not hard to find rust and steel in the industrial parts of Tokyo, far from the usual tourist traps.


Still, even in the industrial area a grandfather can share with his grandson.


On your way back, you can always enjoy the nightlife,


or get up early and join the morning commute.


You can visit markets not yet busy.


Or watch a park being prepared for the day.


Before taking a festival with great street food


Guarded by stalwart giant guardians.


And some not so giant.


Before catching the evening commute.


And daring the night again.


And wandering the underground warrens of Tokyo Station.


Before going out to play the obligatory video game.


Before encountering raucous politics


Perhaps it may be better to take a speedy journey.


Seeing strange sights out the window


Before having a quiet drink in a sublime location.


While I didn’t eat such exotic things as bug sushi, I did have a series of rather strange to the US hotel breakfasts before setting out to explore.


Finding out that perhaps the culture was a bit loser to home, or at least the advertising was.


One thing about being behind the camera is that you never have to feel as if you don’t belong there.


Which can help if you are in a place where normally you would feel out of place.


No matter how attractive the scenery.


Though it’s still easy to find people in touch with tradition.


Though the strange and exotic does have it’s charms.


Still there’s always time for eats, even takiyoki, maybe especially takiyoki.


Isn’t the point of the voyage, the experience?  If I want room service and pizza delivery, all I have to do is stay home.  Tokyo has nothing that should truly scare you and it’s a great place to shoot.  There’s always something to find, the unexpected the strange the new.  And it’s so easy to explore.  Why stay in your room?


The Abandoned Houses Of Tokyo

This is what happens when a society starts to go into decline.

Actually you can see these houses everywhere, not just the suburbs. Not so much in the commercial areas or the high end residential areas, but they are all too common in places you would not expect.  When even a tourist such as myself notices the problem even near places where tourists are likely to go, it’s a serious issue.