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Answerman - Is California The Otaku Promised Land?


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Kyjin



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 97
Location: Tokyo
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:35 pm Reply with quote
Something to add: if you're interested in studying Japanese culture, LA is also a fantastic place for that. UCLA has a strong modern Japanese program, and USC is one of only a handful of places in the US with a strong Premodern Japanese history program. (I moved out here three years ago for grad school for just that purpose!)

I gotta say though, living in LA spoils you. I forget when I travel to other places that people don't have easy access to Daiso, Kinokuniya, Book-Off, and Japanese-style karaoke joints...
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Aquamine-Amarine



Joined: 13 Jul 2014
Posts: 190
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:41 pm Reply with quote
You can't pay me to move to California. Sanctuary cities everywhere, sheltering criminals. Earthquakes, droughts, no water, high taxes and expensive gas... I don't care if it's the anime promised land. I'll stick to ordering things online.
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Parsifal24



Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 770
Location: Holland MI
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:42 pm Reply with quote
When I was in Berkeley I visited Japan Town with my Uncle and Mom and visited a Kinokuniya it's amazing how wide the variety is in comparison to the mostly Big Box store over in the midwest.
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Sheleigha



Joined: 09 May 2008
Posts: 1541
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:56 pm Reply with quote
Aquamine-Amarine wrote:
You can't pay me to move to California. Sanctuary cities everywhere, sheltering criminals. Earthquakes, droughts, no water, high taxes and expensive gas... I don't care if it's the anime promised land. I'll stick to ordering things online.


This sounds incredibly sensationalist, and aren't nearly as extreme as they sound. These things are not exclusive to CA, nor are they worse off than many other states that suffer from other more severe, constant natural disasters.
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 2833
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:00 pm Reply with quote
Aquamine-Amarine wrote:
You can't pay me to move to California. Sanctuary cities everywhere, sheltering criminals. Earthquakes, droughts, no water, high taxes and expensive gas... I don't care if it's the anime promised land. I'll stick to ordering things online.


I live in New England, where it's hard to get around in our mega-winters (especially for me), but I tell people I'd like to go somewhere warmer, but as we've just seen from the last few weeks on TV, the majority of the other sun-belt states--California, Florida, Texas, the Southeast--are just plain nuts! Shocked
Wonder if it has something to do with attracting high populations, or the idea of less visible seasons giving one less of an idea of time passing.

Seriously, finding some place where you could "get" anime was more of a myth back in the 90's, when you had to find stores and physical-rental places just to get VHS's and Stuff, or to see anime at all, but that was before the days of streaming TV episodes, Internet communities and Amazon online ordering. Most of the thread seems to be about where to be to get the Cool Food, and, well...
Like a certain other people who believed they had a "promised land", we anime fans--persecuted and called "otaku" by our once ruling captors--have to take our nation with us in spirit wherever we go, without a home.


Last edited by EricJ2 on Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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John Thacker



Joined: 28 Oct 2013
Posts: 427
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:02 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
The state has more Japanese Americans than any other place in North America, and by far the most Asian Americans in general


By percentage it's still easily Hawaii, though.


Last edited by John Thacker on Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Beltane70



Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 1858
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:07 pm Reply with quote
There's also quite a few places in NYC and North Jersey in the area around the George Washington Bridge where anime and manga are readily available.
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FloozyGod



Joined: 26 Oct 2015
Posts: 109
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:08 pm Reply with quote
Visited my sister in Berkeley for a weekend, and I got an AoT wall scroll from Japan Town. There just so happened to be some Japanese culture festival going on by the bay, There were toys, clothes, I got some artbooks, the character designer for Tatami Galaxy was signing stuff, and there was even some singers from Japan there too!!! Really cool, would visit again!
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Hardgear



Joined: 27 Mar 2009
Posts: 421
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:10 pm Reply with quote
As you implied towards the end of the article, nothing beats online. Ever since I figured out I can buy directly from Japan via distributors like HLJ, I haven't felt the need to go to a physical store. If you know what you are looking for and stay on top of new releases, this is the way to go. And if you don't know, nothing is stopping you from browsing their giant stock.

The only exception is that I will hit up the dealers rooms at conventions to see if there is anything there that I want but for whatever reason can't find online.
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rizuchan



Joined: 11 Mar 2007
Posts: 638
Location: Kansas
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:19 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
(Outside of major metropolitan areas, you might as well be in Nebraska.)


Actually, there was a little anime shop in Omaha last time I went, which was more than the KC area could say at the time (and maybe even now).

I would love to have a physical anime shop to hang out at, but every time one tries to open around here it never lasts very long. They just can't compete with the prices of stuff online. Manga and merchandise are one thing, but paying MSRP for discs is just too painful.
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Blanchimont



Joined: 25 Feb 2012
Posts: 1181
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:21 pm Reply with quote
Are there any problems with bootlegs of merchandise?

I am enough weary of online shops as it is and wouldn't trust half of those advertising on UK anime mags. But with online ones you can at least do some research on the products and the stores themselves and eventually develop a feeling which stores to trust enough to go back to.

Going in cold into a small shop however, of course the well-known brands(Good Smile etc) should be easy enough to recognize on things like packaging et al, but I'd probably still feel a bit iffy...
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Kikaioh



Joined: 01 Jun 2009
Posts: 1156
Location: Antarctica
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:26 pm Reply with quote
Aquamine-Amarine wrote:
You can't pay me to move to California. Sanctuary cities everywhere, sheltering criminals. Earthquakes, droughts, no water, high taxes and expensive gas... I don't care if it's the anime promised land. I'll stick to ordering things online.


I'd love it if someone would pay me to move to California. Having visited most of the states, California ranks among the nicest, most culturally diverse places I've ever lived at/visited. The biggest drawback is the cost of living --- but again, if someone would pay me to move (and presumably live) there, it would be pretty awesome. San Francisco in particular is maybe the nicest city I've ever visited, and I've visited a fair number of cities locally and abroad.
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Sheleigha



Joined: 09 May 2008
Posts: 1541
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:30 pm Reply with quote
Blanchimont wrote:
Are there any problems with bootlegs of merchandise?

I am enough weary of online shops as it is and wouldn't trust half of those advertising on UK anime mags. But with online ones you can at least do some research on the products and the stores themselves and eventually develop a feeling which stores to trust enough to go back to.

Going in cold into a small shop however, of course the well-known brands(Good Smile etc) should be easy enough to recognize on things like packaging et al, but I'd probably still feel a bit iffy...


They are definitely around. In Japantown SF there's two bootleg stores I know of, and one in LA near Little Tokyo. They're pretty easy to notice, too, if you know what the legit stuff looks like. Nendos with shoddy paint jobs, statues with pixelations on the box, the overuse of canvas material for packaging... Rule of thumb is that if it's a popular character/series and the actual item has been OOP for a while (and cheap) yeah it's a bootie.
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rainwithsunshine
Aria CompanyAria Company


Joined: 19 Jun 2010
Posts: 30
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:38 pm Reply with quote
Waah!! I miss it all so much! I lived in the Bay Area for only a year, but my heart will always remember. I was such a young Love Liver watching the movie at New People. Hilariously, I took another trip with friends to SF for their Cherry Blossom Festival and envisioned lovely sakura but was greeted with one protected tree. . .? It was funny and all else was a blast. Especially scoring double awards via raffle! A gorgeous tea set I use every night for tea with my love. As we blast through Stardust Crusaders. I vividly remember my last trip to SF; it was extremely bittersweet saying goodbye and knowing not when I would, if ever, return. Another funny note is not discovering of the Kinokuniya in San Jose, where I was living, until the LAST month living there. Probably best for my wallet.

Los Angeles, though. . . must hit it up!
Japan, on my wish list!
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Stuart Smith



Joined: 13 Jan 2013
Posts: 933
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:42 pm Reply with quote
Kikaioh wrote:
I'd love it if someone would pay me to move to California. Having visited most of the states, California ranks among the nicest, most culturally diverse places I've ever lived at/visited. The biggest drawback is the cost of living --- but again, if someone would pay me to move (and presumably live) there, it would be pretty awesome. San Francisco in particular is maybe the nicest city I've ever visited, and I've visited a fair number of cities locally and abroad.


It really depends how liberal minded you are. I live in the Bay Area and it's pretty terrible if you get annoyed by that kind of stuff. Anytime I have to go to San Francisco it's a chore. It can get pretty embarrassing at times what's the kind of stuff we come up with. I wouldn't mind moving but I own lots of property and makes it impossible to do and keep my nice income.

But in the age of the internet I just import stuff from Mandarake. Import stores here are a rip-off. If all you care about is Japanese merchandise the internet is much better off.

-Stuart Smith
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