In which, our hero tempts fate.

There are plenty of ways one can tempt fate.

The most common is to precede any action with the phrase “Hey, y’all, watch this.”

To my credit, I didn’t do that.

On the other hand, I did blindly assert to my wife that finding her the soundtrack for the anime “Twelve Kingdoms” would be NO problem in Tokyo.

I may have, in fact, scoffed just a little bit at the suggestion that I might have difficulty.

I set out this morning with the intention of finding that for her, and getting some shopping in along the way. Small surprise there, I’m sure.

The smart shopper in Tokyo is aided by the existence of numerous “Recycle Shops”, basically operations that deal in used goods – CDs, manga, DVDs, toys, and so on. If you’re a little behind the cutting edge of fandom – as I typically am – you can pick up last year’s Hot Must Have Items for a quarter to a half of their original price.

This has its downside – nothing like seeing stuff you paid full price for selling for peanuts – but its upside as well – feeling justified in having waited to get something as you pick it up for, as mentioned, peanuts.

Particularly enjoyable was the CD recycle shop in Nakano Broadway that was selling several bins of anime soundtracks for Y300 each – or Y300 for 3, essentially a “buy one get two free” sale. It was mostly mid-90s anime and voice actor CDs, with a particularly strong emphasis on Hayashibara Megumi albums. I’m a fan, I stocked up.

That was also the first place I checked for the Twelve Kingdoms soundtrack. They didn’t have it, used or new, but I wasn’t worried too much because Mandarake has a huge CD and DVD shop in the same building.

I struck out at Mandarake, too.

I was starting to build up a nice bundle of Mosaic.wav and Kotoko albums for me, but I was going to feel really ashamed if I went all the way to Tokyo and couldn’t deliver the goods for my wife.

It was time for the gloves to come off. I went back to Akihabara.

K-Books didn’t have the soundtrack. Neither did Liberty, or Trader, or Gamers, or a bunch of other small stores that I tried. I was even checking the “rare items” showcases, where these places show off stuff you don’t really WANT to pay for, but might be forced to pay for.

I was a broken, defeated man, and heading to get some dinner, when I passed the Akihabara branch of Animate. Looking at their store directory, I saw “Anime CDs – Sixth Floor.”

I thought to myself, do I really feel up to climbing to the sixth floor to be disappointed again?

Then I thought about going home and saying “Hey, I couldn’t find the ONE LITTLE THING you asked for, but look at all this stuff I got for me!”

And I hit the stairs.

Animate, at least, had a divider in their CD section for Twelve Kingdoms, but it didn’t look like they had the soundtrack. They had a drama album, and something that looked like an image album, but that was it.

Then I realized that there was a small spacer next to the divider, and that, upon pulling it off the shelf, it said, essentially, “for the Twelve Kingdoms soundtrack, take this to the register.”

I did this, and upon doing so the reason I’d had so damn much trouble finding the soundtrack was revealed.

For whatever ungodly reason, they packaged the thing in a DVD keep case. I shouldn’t have been looking in the “rare” sections of CD shops, I should have been looking on whatever shelf they kept CDs in weird packaging. I would still probably have looked right past it – anime DVDs are hideously expensive in Japan, so for sanity’s sake I tend to gloss right over them.

Nonetheless, my quest ended on a high note.

Then I went to Cafe Mai:lish for dinner. There wasn’t a line today, so I got to walk right in.

I may have stared a bit at the girl who greeted me as I entered, I’m sure they kind of expect that, but I wasn’t staring out of lechery – I was staring because she was wearing some sort of weird purple dress trimmed with fake fur.

I realized very quickly that it was a theme day – no maid outfits today. All the staff was in Idolmaster cosplay outfits and, of course, the classical music that they usually play was replaced with Idolmaster music.

I actually LIKE the music from Idolmaster, but it did kind of spoil the effect the place usually has, which is sort of an oasis in the middle of Akihabara where you can recuperate from the madness. Having the staff in cosplay mode brought the madness right on inside.

Also, there wasn’t a Ritsuko, which was unforgivable.

Oh, and some outfits – purple things with fake fur trim, for example – should be left in the realm of the virtual. For sanity’s sake.

No pictures today. I’ve been to Akihabara and Nakano Broadway on previous trips, I didn’t think I needed to spend more memory card space on them. Nothing much has changed. The Asobit City near the station seems to have shut down, but their other branch is still there. I thought for a little bit that the Messe Sanoh doujin-soft shop had closed, too, which would have been a disappointment, but I finally found it a couple of blocks away from where I thought it should have been.

Tomorrow my father comes to Tokyo and I get to show him around. I think I’ll spare him the maid/cosplay cafe experience, or perhaps I’ll spare the maid/cosplay cafes the “my father” experience. Either way.

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