|Kitakyushu`s Mandarake is in there|
This was partly inspired by a sign I saw recently at Mandarake advertising the opening of their new shop in Kitakyushu, which is just an hour away by train. So yesterday morning I headed off to the nearest JR station and got on board a train headed to Kokura, which is the main station in Kitakyushu.
The ride was kind of nice, I don`t take the train too often in Kyushu but when I lived in the Kansai area back in the late 90s/early 00s I used to take it all the time. Made me a little nostialigic for those days. Especially when I got off the train at Kokura at around noon and was greeted with such a stereotypical Japanese train station image: a throng of salary men eating noodles at a platform kiosk.
|Salary men in Kysuhu love that Udon|
It is a pretty decent store though. It is smaller than the Fukuoka Mandarake, but not too much smaller. This was what I expected since Kitakyushu itself is a bit smaller than Fukuoka, but not too much smaller.
They had a pretty decent selection of retro games in there, so if you are in Kitakyushu it is definitely worth taking a look. I would have loved to have been able to take some photos, I have no idea why they don`t allow it, I mean it is effectively free advertising for them if bloggers like me put photos of their stuff up. Anyway.
I picked up a few things there, not too much but I found a few neat odds and ends that I will devote some future posts too.
After finishing with Mandarake I headed to the south side of Kokura station. Before the trip I had done some research using google maps to try to find a few other shops that, like Mandarake, might have some decent Famicom or other retro gaming stuff. I did this mainly by typing in key words like `Famicom` or `game shop` in Japanese while the map was centred on Kokura. I was able to find only two places in the station area that seemed promising.
The first was this Book Off:
For retro game collectors, as I have said before, Book Offs are very hit and miss. In my experience about 70-80% of them don`t have any retro games at all and of the few that do they usually have a poor selection or high prices.
This one, however, still has a decent if small selection and quite reasonable prices:
here which indicated that they did stock retro games. They also had this awesome looking photo of the store front, which really got me excited:
Only trouble was I couldn`t find any store named Famicom World. I walked up and down the block a couple of times trying to figure it out (Japanese addresses are nowhere near as simple as Western ones so it isn`t just a case of looking for the number on the building).
Then my eyes struck upon this:
NOOOO!!! If you look closely you can see the outline in katakana of the words `Famicom` and `World` up there, along with the winged-globe mascot visible in the above photo. In keeping with the trend of retro game shops going out of business that I noted on here only a few days ago, Famicom World is no more!
So that was a big disappointment and brought my Famicom hunt to an abrupt end. I`m sure there are a lot of other Famicom shops in Kitakyushu, in fact I know there is a Manga Souko location somewhere in the suburbs up there, but since I was forced by time constraints to stay near the station I unfortunately couldn`t check them out.
Happily though I did have my hauls from Mandarake and Book Off to console me on the train ride home, so it was a pretty decent day despite the anti-climax of Famicom World!