Monday, 25 November 2013

Pokemon center Tokyo - I choose you!

There's nothing quite as exciting for a geek soul as to read the letters "Pokemon Center" on a normal Subway flyer. Indeed, the first time I read about it, it was inside an flyer about famous attractions tourists can reach via the subway system. When I stepped out of the train at the indicated station, I couldn't however find a sign to said delightful destination - I decided to ask the station officer, who sat down in his little booth near the automatic ticket gates. He looked up from under his officer hat, at the gaijin girl approaching him. I took a deep breath and said:
"Excuse me please. Could you please tell me....... how to get to the Pokemon center?"
Just being able to ask those sentences in a real-life conversation felt surreal and made my heart almost jump out of my chest. Without blinking twice, he described me how to walk to reach the Pokémon center. From there I stepped out onto the busy streets, followed his route, went up the escalator, and there it was: The Pokémon Center Tokyo!


Large posters, displaying famous characters on the outside, the Pokémon center still looked rather professional. The first time I went there, the whole area in front of the store was full of people, children, students, office ladies, otakus and other, crouching down with their Ds' in their hands, trading Pokémon and playing the game. I often walk around in Europe, hoping for a trading haven like that. If we had a Pokémon center in Europe, just think how easy it would be to make new friends and trade/battle with them!!


Unfortunately, the Pokémon center has made it pretty clear that you are not allowed to take videos or photographs inside, so if you see them online, they were most definitely taken without permission.
To illustrate: imagine shelves upon shelves stuffed with key chains, plushies, posters, stationary, sweets, collectible figures, badges, towels, tissues, games, cards, lunch boxes and more items, featuring pretty much all Pokémon that have been released so far. It's heaven for Pokémon lovers, unless you have an empty purse - then it's torture!

Pokémon Center Opening Times and Holiday announcements
Sometimes the Pokémon Centers (there are 8 Pokémon Centers across Japan) have special promotions on, which are usually announced on their webpage. There you can receive rare Pokémon or items when you go to their event space. For Pokémon X and Y there wasn't an event yet, but there should be one soon, around the new year and the xmas holidays. Sometimes those Pokémon can be acquired through the online system for players outside of Japan, in the past though, there have been a couple of Japan-only events.


The Pokémon Center Tokyo shares the building with normal convenience stores, restaurants, companies (such as Berlitz) and other, so it's actually placed in a business environment in a tall building, which was surprising. I wish the staff was cosplaying as nurse joy, but instead they have a uniform. Nevertheless, it's worth the trip out to the Pokémon Center. Even if you should not be an adamant Pokémon fan, you still have to admit: There's nothing quite as cool, as asking in real life where the Pokémon center is, and getting an honest answer.

 3 Tips if you want to go to the Pokémon Center Tokyo
1) If you go there for trading, pick a weekend when there are both workers and students to trade with. That way you get the maximum of potential trainers for trades and battles.
2) Check their event times! You might be lucky and get a free Pokémon. Be aware though that usually those events only involve the newest game release. For the next events, you will need a 3DS and Pokémon X or Y.
3) Bring more money than you think. Don't forget Pokémon is an expensive merchandise brand. If you should see the Pokémon item that you always wanted, you want to make sure you can afford it!

They have an English introduction to the Pokémon Centres HERE

Love
x
Cat