Friday, December 11, 2009

Visit to Cure toy shop (shop closed in 2010)

Here's a shop apart! It always sounded like a cool place, and who wouldn't want to visit the home of the Boogie Man?? I've wanted to check it out for years - had the address and lil' map from their website taped in my "otaku data" book for a long time...

I finally got the chance a couple of weeks ago. Getting to Tsukuba station, which is way out to the northeast of Tokyo, isn't too tough. It's a straight shot from Akihabara on the Tsukuba Express. Takes 45 minutes on the rapid train (you'll want one of those - they come often enough) and costs roughly 1100 yen each way.

Now that you've made it to Tsukuba, you've got your work cut out for you. I didn't have any luck Google mapping the English address which I got off their site, so I had to rely on some old skool Japanese address locator skills.

Back in the day (before Gmaps and detailed maps on store websites made us into mushy Staypuft Toy Hunters), we used to spend upwards of 1-2 hours in search of shops...through blizzards and hail storms, no less! /digression
OK, so if you've managed to print out a detailed map, that's awesome. Otherwise, there are a ton of public maps in the area that can help you find 3-13-1 Azuma. (There's also a police station near the subway station (exit A2, if I remember correctly) and they may be able to help you pinpoint the address.)

From the subway station, Cure is a 15 minute walk through a very quiet and pleasant area.
The shop's storefront is understated. Reminded me of a US mini-mall with the little parking lot out front. :O)
Once inside you'll find a huge variety of toys for sale. As the very friendly staff explained to me, there aren't too many sofubi collectors in the area, so they need to carry a wide range of toys - basically a little bit of something for everyone. Sounded to me like a smart strategy!

Here's one of my favorite cases, with lots of (sold out) Boogie Men on display:
Cure also has a lot of sufubi, especially from Secret Base:
And some clothing - Usugrow in the house!
But that's not all....
Uber Star Wars selection!
Nightmare Before Christmas. Nice!
So, Cure is a solid 1/2 day trip there and back from Tokyo, but I'd say it's definitely worth checking out - if not only to get away from the crowds of Tokyo and enjoy a more laid back shop run by very cool people.

**I heard a few weeks ago that the Cure shop has closed. Real shame that, but the good news is new Boogies are still coming out. :O)

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