A few weeks prior to my trip, one BL author, Mio Junta, had been tweeting a couple of Yowamushi Pedal goods in her twitter. Not only did she tweet about her dining experience but she also tweeted tons of awesome and really cute images of cakes, pastries, and merchandise with characters of Yowamushi Pedal in it! Apparently, it’s part of an ongoing event held at Namja Town. Given that my trip was a few weeks away and that my life had been completely consumed by Yowamushi Pedal, I didn’t care if I haven’t slept for 48 hours by the time I arrive in Tokyo. My roommate wanted to bring me to the Tiger and Bunny cafe but since we lost the lottery for the reservation, I told him I wanted to visit Namja Town and I wanted to eat the face of my favorite character.
As such, I’m happy to share with you my experience in visiting Namja Town. Not to experience the fun arcade games developed by Namco but what it’s like, as a fujoshi, to experience a special event tied to a fandom. It was honestly an awesome and eye-opening experience.
Namja Town is located at the 2nd floor of Sunshine City’s World Import Mart. To be honest, my friend and I didn’t know where that exactly was but as soon as you enter Sunshine City, we found tons of signs leading you to Namja Town and J-World.
Namja Town is an indoor amusement park and it has tons of games that you can play inside. Games range from kiddy arcade games to crane catchers to gashapon machines. I don’t think I noticed Namco arcade video games in here which was kind of a surprise for me since that’s what I first think of when I think of Namco. But I guess that’s also telling of how diverse Namco is!
Namja Town has two sections: the food section in the east and the game/amusement center in the west. The food section contains the Namja Gyoza Stadium and the Fukubukuro Dessert Yokocho. The west side has all the games when there are anime events, this is where they set up the games related to that event.
You can enter Namja Town for the price of JPY500. If you want to play all the arcade games for your entire visit (there’s a really cute one that lets you find a ghost!), you can pay the price of JPY3000. Any food whatsoever in the event place must be paid in cash.
If you want to read more about Namja Town, you can check their English guide!
The Tie-In Events
Now on occasion, Namja town would hold different events in their premises. I think the purpose of these events is just to diversify the Namja Town experience. And it’s kinda cool because the events can vary. When I went there, the events were related to Hoozuki no Reitetsu and Yowamushi Pedal. It was quite timely because at that time, I was enjoying both shows.
Since my friend and I didn’t have any plans to play the games (and I was just dying to experience all the Yowapeda goodness), we took the regular entry of JPY 500. They’ll give you a cute ticket which you use to enter the premises. Once inside, you’ll find the various posters and banners related to the event. Clearly, I picked up the Yowamushi Pedal and the Hoozuki no Reitetsu posters! It’s mostly a guide of what are their specials related to the event are but if you checked the website, you’d probably know what these are already!
So we entered Namja Town and was immediately drawn by the nice homely feel of the amusement park. While the rest of the world was gunning for an ultra modern atmosphere, Namja Town basked in its antiquated urbanscape. Some of the seatings in the area were old wooden tables, seats, and crates. It’s like being in the set of Always Sanchome no Yuuhi (Always – Sunset on Third Street). It’s so cute and lovely and my friend and I were clearly drawn to the architecture of the park.
The interesting thing is when these events are happening, almost all the areas of Namja Town’s dedicated for these series. That said, you can’t exactly say that it’s a paradise for these said series. It’s not like the entire interior of Namja Town looks like a scenery of Hoozuki no Reitetsu or Yowapeda. Instead, the series finds itself in small posters and signs that says ‘this particular area is dedicated to doing this for that series’. If you don’t take your time to look and poke around, you’d probably won’t know which designated areas are dedicated for these series and end up seeing the regular attraction of Namja Town.
Hence, when my friend and I arrived, we were greeted by an extremely long line of girls lining up for two columns of gasha machines. I noticed that the gasha had Yowapeda merch and I heard the barter call the girls in to line up before 8:00 p.m. Apparently, that was the last group of girls they entertained for the gasha. I was totally tired and hungry from flight. I was in no mood to wait in a line of 40 girls deep. Drawn by the smell of food, I dragged my friend to the food area.
Namja Town Eats
The food area’s a mix between the gyoza and the desserts. My friend and I thought that the gyoza stadium didn’t mean that it’s “only gyoza”. You can’t expect a place to serve nothing but gyoza right? Well, to our chagrin, every food item in the gyoza stadium had gyoza in it. The only difference it had was that these gyoza were served differently. Some were burgers. Some were in yakisoba.
What’s interesting when they have events is that their food and desert stalls actually serve the dishes related to the events! So these stalls were filled with special dishes related to Yowamushi Pedal and Hoozuki no Reitetsu. It’s a matter of finding the stall that serves the event dish that you want!
So we decided to choose something unique and ones that also contained my favorite characters. I ended up ordering the キモッ!! キモッキモッ肝ニラ炒め餃子 (Gross! Gross gross stir-fried innards and chives gyoza! | JPY 680). I chose that dish clearly for three reasons. First, it’s a Midousuji (a Yowapeda character known for his line ‘Kimo–!’) dish. I also chose it because it had a really clever name! Lastly, I’m also a big fan of kimo nira itame so this was the perfect choice for me. I also got to eat Midosuji’s face on a shrimp cracker!
My friend ordered (more like I ordered for him) the ボケなす餃子マーボー丼 (Silly Nasu Gyoza Mabo Don | JPY 890), which was kinda like a mabo tofu where there’s no tofu but there’s gyoza and mabo sauce on top and a grilled eggplant on top. Ah! Also Arakita’s face on some fish cake sheet.
These gyoza savory dishes were… okay. I was expecting it to be quite gourmet or at least in the levels of awesome given the pictures online but it wasn’t like that at all. That said, there was something exciting about eating something related to your favorite character. I realized that I enjoyed the dish more because of its clever association with Midousuji but to say that it was great eats. Well… it was great for my fangirl heart, at least.
Was it the same for desserts?
It was a little better. Again I made the choice for this and I WANTED TO EAT TOUDOU’S FACE SO BADLY but at 7 p.m., his cake with his stupid face was already sold out. As to why I want to eat Jinpachi Toudou’s face, well, I want to get rid of his ugly smug because it’s ruining my life! My fangirl life is ruined because he exists!! >A<)
My friend’s dessert was the キモキモキモキモキモッ!! アイスパフェ (Grossgrossgrossgrossgross! Ice Parfait | JPY 780) which was another Midousuji dessert. Is it obvious that I love him? I do. I honestly do. Actually, I love all of them but I guess I was also drawn by how unique this dessert was. Midousuji’s ice parfait was perhaps what I expected from an anime cafe. The dessert was actually pre-prepared (the girl just had to put Midousuji’s face on top of the ice cream) but the flavor combinations on this one was noting short of AMAZING (just like Midousuji!) First, there was a layer of vanilla cake. On top of it was a layer of blueberry ice cream and raspberry marshmallow chewies. Midousuji’s face was surprisingly not fondant but rather a nice chewy bubblegum-ish flavor of strawberries and berries. It also had some mochi underneath. This was an exceptional dessert, a fitting one for Midousuji too! It was the perfect dessert to cap my first try of an anime-themed cafe!
Games! Games! Games!
A Namja town experience is not complete if you don’t try the games!
After we had our Yowapeda grub, I dragged my friend to the crane machine area and the Yowapeda game event area. The thing here was it was actually difficult to navigate Namja Town. It took us some time to find the right corridor that led to the game area. If the map is not helpful, look for the crane game machines! That’ll lead you to their event game areas.
When Namja Town hosts an anime event, they also put up game areas for this said anime. Clearly I knew I was in the Yowapeda game area because of the large standees of the boys and a special mamachari bike with Onoda! Hence, I was an idiot and took photos while the rest of the girls just giggled over my enthusiasm. My friend was not exactly keen as a photographer but he obliged me nonetheless!
Namja Town had two game events for Yowapeda, a “high cadence” garahon event and the Usakichi mogu mogu bowl. The Usakichi event was like a bowling game. Throw a bunch of cabbages and knock some pins down to win a price. I didn’t play this game because I wasn’t fond of the prizes.
The garahon event was similar to those raffles you see in anime where there’s this big round thing you rotate and out comes a ball that dictates your price. Unlike the Usakichi event, this garahon had specific times. You need to go to the lady and get your number and you had to wait for your number to be called at a particular time for you to even start spinning the garahon. I chose this event because I wanted to win the cute cat-ear stands from this game. I saw Mio Junta tweet her swag from this game and she got a lot so I thought this was an easy game. I THOUGHT WRONG.
First, this game is srs business. When I lined up, girls before me were putting in JPY 5,000++ in the ticket machine WITHOUT GETTING ANY CHANGE. Each turn in this game costs JPY300 and since this was my first day in Japan, I wasn’t sure I was ready to spend that much just yet. This would become a big regret for me especially after seeing how much these prizes were being sold in Akihabara. I ended up spending on JPY1500 which was a fairly modest expense and I was rewarded appropriately with two can badges of Maki-chan and three yowapeda postcards. Two of those postcards went to friends while the two pins I got were the only ones they had left.
Now here was the interesting thing, by the time I got to the game, they had a sheet that listed all the prizes you can win from playing the game. The thing is you just have to choose which one you like. The thing was, when I was there, and this was just a few weeks after this event opened in Namja Town, 3/4ths of the prizes related to that game had X marks over them, indicating that they were GONE. I asked the lady if this was just their stock for the day and she said no and that these were the stocks they only had left and it would take some while before they could restock the other prizes.
I was disappointed because I really wanted to get the picture stands for my trip (and they’ll be my little elves I bring when I travel!) but because it was unavailable, it was hard to get them again. So even if I wanted to turn more, that only meant I’ll most likely get a postcard or the cat stand of Kinjou. Not that I don’t like Kinjou, but yeah… It’d be a lot better if I got a whole lot of them, right?
Now, this “shortage” of goods wasn’t only seen in the event itself but also in their merchandise in the Namja Town store. A lot of the shelves were cleaned out. The items I was looking for, such as stickers and decals related to Yowapeda were all gone. Most of the neko series and tumbler designs I wanted were also gone.
Is Namja Town worth a fujoshi trip?
Even if your favorite anime or manga is running an event in Namja Town, I think it is still quite a worthwhile trip! They do have tons of games that I was curious of but didn’t have time to play or enjoy. The desserts are a delight and if I was mad crazy over gyoza, then I guess the gyoza stadium is a plus for me.
If your favorite anime or manga does have an event in Namja Town, then do visit. The goods they release in Namja Town are totally adorable and their prices are quite reasonable. The experience of eating a dish related to your favorite character, more so playing a game related to that anime is quite fun!
If I learned anything on my first day in Japan, it was the fact that fujoshi, as consumers, were amazing and were certainly a force to be reckoned with. The line in the gashapon and the dwindling amount of prizes was a telling sign of the joys and difficulties that I’ll be encountering throughout my trip. If anything, I learned that I can’t let my guard down as a Yowapeda fujoshi fan. Going to Japan was totally a battlefield.
At the same time, I realized that as a fan, the industry that fuels me knows my needs. They know what makes me happy and honestly, the level in which I was emotionally gratified over measly games and mediocre food just because it was tied to my current favorite anime was surprising and amazing. I was immediately caught in the fujoshi circus and to be honest, that was what I was looking for.
Up next… shopping! shopping! shopping!