Tuesday, August 21, 2012

DiverCity Tokyo Plaza at Odaiba & GUNDAM!

DSCF0035Hey look it’s not another beer review or rant!  For once in a long while my wife and I went on a drive for pleasure. We decided the night before to head on down to the recently opened Tokyo Diver City on Odaiba island right across from Fuji TV’s headquarters. DiverCity opened a month ago July 2012 so it was kind of neat to be one of the first visitors to the store. I also haven’t been to Odaiba since I studied abroad here as a university student just over 7 years ago so it was nice to be back again to this very unique and resort like part of Tokyo.
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I’m not really a shopping kind of guy but I was curious to see the first ever Old Navy and American Eagle clothing stores in Japan. It’s not really easy to find clothes my size in Japan so having stores like these helps ease the frustration of shopping a bit. I was very pleased to find they carried my size and the prices weren’t too high even though they did raise them to be more in line with Japanese clothing stores. (boooo) I do fit in GU/Uniqulo stuff but my size seems to disappear quick and they don’t carry as much stuff I want to wear compared to places like Gap/Old Navy.
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My wife had her suspicions and she was right. My main objective was to check out the life-size mobile suit Gundam in front of the mall there. After missing it on display around Tokyo for the past couple of years, I finally got to see it for myself. It did not disappoint. It would have been nice to see it lit up at night but my camera sucks anyhow and probably wouldn’t have mattered much. Even if you aren’t into anime or robots, it’s still pretty cool to get a picture in front of. You can’t see something like this every day. We even got a more professional picture of us on a platform in front of the mobile suit which was 1500 yen with paper frame. The people on the platform will also take a picture of you with your own camera with no obligation to buy the picture if you wish not to. That’s pretty darn cool.
On the way back into the mall we stopped by the Gundam Café and bought some goodies like a package of instant Gundam Branded mild pork curry (ACGUY Curry with Jaburo Cheese inside) and a Gundam Café rubberized key strap. The café also sold a limited variety of Gundam themed beverages and light meals. A must visit for any fan of the series.
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After spending about 10 painfully hot and sweaty minutes outside in the summer heat I got all the video and pictures I ever wanted. So we headed inside the crowded 8 floor mall for some shopping. We didn’t see everything in the mall as we came by car and parking wasn’t free even with the 2 hours we got knocked off our parking pass for spending over 5000 yen there. My wife enjoyed checking out the H&M and the HUGE 2 story Forever 21 there. Of course there were many other stores to shop at but that’s all I really remember.
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There was one thing I found strange about the mall. I am not sure how often this happens but one of the men’s restrooms was temporarily repurposed for woman’s use only. This was due to overcrowding at women’s restrooms there but even with that restroom available to the women there it didn’t seem to draw many in. The sign seemed to cause more confusion than good as many women seemed to double back from the restroom when they realized where they were even with the sign in the entrance way.

While it is not uncommon to have coed restrooms in Japan this was the first time I’ve ever encountered such a use for a men’s restroom at such a new and modern facility here. My wife said there was still a huge line in the regular ladies room where she preferred to go to because well men’s restrooms are icky. As many other women like her thought as well. In my opinion I think it was a dumb idea and probably didn’t help as much as intended. If anything, the mall designers should have just made that whole area women’s only. It’s not like the men would have missed it much.
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If you are in Tokyo you should check the place out. You can buy a lot of Japanese specific souvenirs there as well as clothe yourself if you aren’t quite Japanese sized. Not to mention buy some exclusive Gundam swag and food at the Gundam Café right outside the mall.
Click HERE for the official mall website in English. It lists all the shops and special events as well. Here’s a few points of interest if you are too lazy to follow the link above:
  • Gundam Café
  • Round One family amusement center and bowling alley
  • McDonald’s
  • Subway Sandwiches
  • Starbucks
  • Godiva Chocolate
  • Hello Kitty Japan store
  • maidreamin (maid café)
  • H&M
  • Forever 21
  • Old Navy
  • American Eagle Outfitters
Here are some bonus shots of Yoyogi Parking Area and Tokyo tower taken from the car as I drove to and from DiverCity.

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Yoyogi PA
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CROWED SHUTOKO! & Rainbow Bridge in the distance

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