Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hello, you have cat ears

Tokyo Dome; home field of the Yomiuri Giants baseball team and host to a myriad of other events from martial arts to monster truck races. However, it wasn't the sports that drew me there this afternoon but rather the surrounded shops. I was looking for a "Jump Store", outlet for the manga line "Shonen Jump" who produce the Prince of Tennis series. (Apologies to non-TeniPuri fan readers. This post is going to have a certain theme.) The location of this store rather depended on my understanding of the manga's Japanese web-pages so it was with uncertain footsteps that I approached the outdoor mall, looking up at the giant egg of the Dome rising in front of me. As I wondering whether I had the right place, I saw sauntering towards me in full regular attire:

Oh hello Fuji and Eiji.

That'd be a 'yes' then. Reaching the main open square, I found myself surrounded by anime characters. Ninjas, pirates, people whose parentage clearly included a feline, girls in frilly dresses and (most importantly from my perspective) tennis players.

It's all true! I knew it! Seigaku, I had to find you eventually.

It was around this point that I realised I'd forgotten my camera. [Brief pause in our story to allow for the necessary cursing that cannot be blogged.]

I set off around the mall, trying to take in everything while not being run through by a samurai. I can only presume this wasn't an entirely regular Saturday at the Dome, but I've still no idea what everyone was doing. Also, it IS Japan, so ...

Just then I heard loud screaming coming from above me. Was the anime really a huge cover for a Dome take-over? Ah no, it's just the GIANT ROLLER COASTER that wraps around the mall. Of course. Further inspection revealed a log flume, a merry-go-round, a big wheel and one of those things that drops you like 800 feet. There was also an attraction that was linked with Philip Pullman's "The Golden Compass". I was tempted to try it but couldn't guarantee that it didn't end on that roller coaster.

After locating my store, I dropped down at a picnic table to have a drink and take in the scenery. While sipping my coke, I observed Gakuto and Oshitari coming towards me, hand in hand.

Well, it was only what we had all suspected anyway.

They headed towards a group of their Hyoutei tennis team counterparts where Ootori (wearing platform heels for added height) and Hiyoshi were also cuddling close.

That was more surprising.

Shishido stooped to take their photograph before waving the rest of his group into a pile for a joint picture. I watched Hyoutei, a few random members of Rikkai and a lost Ryoma try and arrange themselves into acceptable poses. Ryoma's significant bust was posing a problem for his 12 year old boy image. Gakuto tried to flatten it with his hands. After the shutter clicked, Shishido abandoned the group to run towards a pirate with a huge sword. Well, it was no wonder Ootori was out of the picture. Behind him, Oshitari was trying on Ootori's platform boots.

By this stage I had choked on my coke and bubbles were coming out of my nose. I headed out, mulling over the question of whether to return and buy a Seigaku jacket from the Jump Store. They are pretty expensive but pretty damn awesome. Oh, the dilemma.

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