Tokyo Underground: Toy and Design Culture in Tokyo

Posted by JoshB 
Hello all,

You may or may not have heard rumblings of this over the past year or so, but the book is done, and it is out!

Tokyo Underground: Toy and Design Culture in Tokyo is a collaboration between Brian Flynn (Super7) and myself (Joshb of CollectionDX) with photos by Jeff Dey and others.

The book features all kinds of good stuff, but most importantly, it features lots and lots of maps. Tokyo Underground features maps to toy stores in Tokyo, broken down by neighborhood, with images, addresses, phone numbers, hours and more. There is also a handy guide about getting to Japan, and what to do from the minute you get off the plane.

Seeing as how this is a Super7/CollectionDX collaboration, this book covers all kinds of toy shops. From the designer type stores to the hole in the wall vintage toy stores. It is an essential guide when shopping for toys in tokyo.

Of course we didn't put EVERY shop in. There still has to be some secrets, you know?

Buy it at Amazon


Buy it at Super7


Barnes and Noble





"I think those Argentinians with the Italian IP addresses are the worst. You know what I call them? ArgItalians! Damn, I hates me some ArgItalians! Boo! "


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/24/2007 03:04PM by JoshB.
open | download - 1333388908_9f2ae7b2e8.jpg (52.2 KB)
Oh. Wow.
Congrats! While I truly think this is the best-idea-ever, is there anything in there for people who aren't traveling to Japan anytime soon? I love pop culture books (picked up both of Matt Alt's, recently finished Japanamerica), but I don't know if I'll get anything from it.
Congratulations, Josh! It looks like the perfect companion to Pat Macias' 'Cruising The Anime City'.
>Pat Macias' 'Cruising The Anime City'.

I loved that book. I hope he does another book like that with more over the top otaku.


I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
Nidaram - I like to think it is an interesting read even if you don't plan on going, There is a lot of text - a suprising amount of information. Non-toy people who I have shown it to have been interested in it.

Drifand - Exactaly. Patricks book was great, but light on toy shopping. Take the two to tokyo and you will be all set. I think our book has more practical information about tokyo in general - how to navigate the trains, what to expect with bathrooms, where to find ATM's that will take US debit cards etc...
I just picked up my copy last night and I have to say this book is amazing. Im about half way thru and everything about this book is awsome. I bought my copy at boarders and even my girlfriend who really doesnt give a crap about toys or anything complimented the book saying it was really nice and she liked the front cover.

The writing is well done, the photos are awsome and its definetly a good read. Im only have way but its so interesting. I hope to be able to go to Japan one day. Thanks to all those who put there hard work in.
Recieved mine today from amazon. Not bad, not bad... not bad at all...
Now I have to go back to Tokyo!
Stashed away on my hard disk is a Word file. Its an assembly of scattered notes, half-remembered directions, rambling paragraphs, home-spun advice and experience based on several trips to Tokyo, slowly getting more out of date as times between visits lengthens. I put it together with one aim; to help fellow anime fans find treasure in Tokyo.

Well, it seems that I may now be able to free up some K of hard disk space, because Joshua Bernard, Jeff Dey and Brian Flynn have written what may well be, for the next couple of years at least, the definitive anime toy shopping guide to Tokyo.

This is a book written by people who have not just seen the elephant, but measured the length of its trunk, lifted its tail, and inspected its toenails. Its all here - the utter uselessness of the 1-yen coin, what to do when affected by jet-lag induced 06:00am wanderlust, and the scarcity of trash bins in Tokyo.

What makes this book really shine, though, is its presentation. One of the authors runs a graphic design house, and boy, does it show. The book is full of superb photography, minimalist but extremely functional maps, and little graphical flourishes. In addition, most of the data is presented in bite-size but information-packed chunks, easily digested by a time-difference frazzled, culture-shocked gaijin brain. Even the seemingly bewildering Tokyo public transport system is broken down to one, pastel-shaded map and a couple of short paragraphs.

The cover is brilliantly understated; from a distance it could be mistaken for some upper-price range experimental novel by a Booker prize nominee; its only up close that one notices a certain giant, radioactive lizard lurking there. And its a good size; just right to be stuffed in a backpack and broken out when needed.

Although primarily aimed at toy collectors and those who love the mutant shampoo bottles known as vinyl, anime goods and manga buyers will find useful information here. Theres some surprising inclusions, too; not just dusty, back alley chogokin stashes, but so-hip-it-hurts designer vinyl emporiums,the legendary sells-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink-you-didn't-think-you-needed Tokyu Hands, and even Bape - with maps, which might just save Bape founders Nigos crotch from my boot [1].

Its not a replacement for a proper guidebook, but if you're just stopping by Tokyo for a raid on merchandise, its invaluable, and even experienced visitors will find something useful here. About the only thing I can say against it is that its almost *too* nice a work to be subjected to stuffed-commuter abuse on the Yamanote line...

[1] Its a long story.
Version 2.0 of the book is out and scheduled for release in a few days:

Interesting. I thought Flynn said it was coming out in the fall. Maybe it was just the mook he was referring to.

yeah, I don't think this is even at the printers yet.
I can see some old timers just starting to get over the old book and twitching anew...their old photocopied trapper keepers filled with the yellowed paper info they labored over for years... gathering info on the shops only they and their close friends knew about. Micro sized pages from aging Japanese gentleman and Magic Box end pages from Hobby magazines filled with scrawling notes of the early 90s.

Now a new version of their nemesis comes out, letting everyone go to the shops. Heh.

Ahh the good old days when only the nerds could horde their wares. ;-)
josh fraser Wrote:
> Now a new version of their nemesis comes out,
> letting everyone go to the shops. Heh.

I had to do a double-take to see who wrote this - you got the bitter newcomer voice down pat.
josh fraser (Moderator)
Huh, I thought I was trying to sound like an bitter oldtimer. ;-)

I mean, I had those trapper keepers, hand written directions and cut outs from Magic Box print adds. Haha
The revised TU2 will be out in about two months, possibly earlier. We gave it a nice once over and Josh added in a few new shops as well. Overall, it is more of an update versus a rewrite, but considering how fast the last version sold out (three weeks) it should be a welcome addition for most collectors and travellers who missed it the first time.
Comin' soon? Preorder announcement.

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