I have been on this plane for what seems like years. I had a sinus infection for the better part of my work trip, but this did nothing to throw my insane plan to stop in Tokyo during my extended 12 layover. I had a mission, and that was to find the girl a present from Mandarake.
With my call to Alt the night before and a few quickly scribbled notes on the location of the Mandarake Complex, I got on the 7:44 am NEX from Narita and got my camera ready to document the quick trip to the motherland.
I relied on my memories of the train system and managed to get to Akihabara a couple hours before the noon opening of this black monolith of Otaku. I spoke briefly and polished up my crippled Japanese skills with a couple flyer girls asking where the store was and found I was pretty close by. A good friend of mine came along from work and we got some food nearby. I ate my mackeral with abandon dreaming of what the store would have waiting.
Needless to say, I was slightly dissapointed as most of the floors catered to the new skool and I silently regretted not going to Nakano to get my vintage fix. That said, I did manage to pick up a cheap Billiken tin that I needed and afterwards turned to my companion and said I wanted to get to Shibuya…it was near his hotel anyway, and I still have maybe an hour before I needed to be on the next NEX train to the airport. I was counting minutes literally.
Back on the Yamanote we go, and 30 minutes later, I am in my familiar zone, the place I used to hang and eat, watch overage women dressed as local school girls to keep their wealthy aging benefactors , and steer around the sketchy Eastern blockers who always made Hong Kong Rolex dealers seem tame and legit. I LOVED being back here even if it was for 20 minutes… literally.
Run down “seizure” strobe stairs into the depths of Mandarake, and make my way past the teenager cosplayers who greeted me.
Walking with purpose I notice the quality of vintage has been severely depleted by the raging internet and my hopes of finding anything seem dim at best for my nerd woman.
With 2 minutes left in my clock, I spy a worthy option, a Mint in bag Curricular machine st vinyl. His teddy bear stare prompts the yen in my pocket to loosen and I motion the tween store clerk out of his slumber to bring this gem to the even younger check out girl. Bagged, paid..score.
One minute to go, I say my goodbyes to my friend, promise we will hang out longer next time and get back to the train with moment to spare. I sit on the train and sigh with relief. Regan will be pleased and I make a mental notch on my hardcore belt.
Sometimes it is fun to be insane.
Added Bonus: Mandarake Dec 15th at 1:30 pm