May 04

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The Idol and Monster Shop

Suddenly, you discover you have just too many monsters in your room! That collection you started when you were six has colonized every shelf and surface, leaving you nowhere to put the empty instant ramen cups that stack up during online gaming marathons. But what can you do? Chucking them in the recycle bin is unthinkable – some of those figures are valuable! If only you could sell them and use the proceeds to fund your new obsession, AKB48 collectible cards!

Enter the showcase locker shop!

Rent one of these clear-fronted displays, arrange the treasures you want to sell, and hope the right customer stops by to browse! I’ve seen these shops all over Tokyo, and they provide surprisingly accurate demographic snapshots. This one at Nakano Broadway is predictably stuffed with anime/manga goods and the collectible obsessions of adolescent boys. The one I saw at an obscure suburban shopping mall was a meatspace version of Etsy, featuring overly optimistic offerings of bead jewelry and other housewifely handicrafts.

Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo mystery series, now out for the first time in paperback

More Nightshade book goodness here, in case you think you might want to, you know, read it or something

A young woman is found dead in an abandoned car, with a pair of strangers old enough to be her parents. Their suicide note apologizes for a disaster that hasn’t yet happened. And someone is stalking the…read more

…or watch the book trailer (0:52)