While wandering in the Shinjuku area today, we visited the Shinjuku branch of the retail store Yellow Submarine, so I took a bunch of photos to bring you on a virtual tour of its offerings. I didn't shoot photos of the dozens of collectible card games being sold on the third floor, but focused on the board and card games, which took up about two-thirds of the second floor, with RPGs filling the remaining space. I didn't take pics of everything in the shop, but this gives you a sampling.
Here's the "new/hot stuff" table that greets you by the front door. The Fleet Commander games and accessories appear to be imports straight from Germany/Spiel — or at least that would be my guess — and imported games that debuted at Spiel 2015 pop up in other images as well:
The wall of classic intro games, complete with a video demonstration of Catan that runs continuously. Note the Dutch version of the Catan: Ancient Egypt spinoff game. As someone who has imported any number of games in languages that I don't speak, I can understand the appeal of having access to certain games in whatever form they're available.
And how does one play such games? Japanese rules are attached to the back of such games in a baggie. My understanding is that the importer creates these rules, but multiple importers bring titles into Japan and they don't share rule translations with one another or have a database along the lines of BGG, which means that if you import something on your own, you'll have to hunt down someone else who owns the game in order to copy the rules.
Cthulhu plushies! Along with Golem Arcana, Bolt Action, Bones miniatures, and other odds and ends.
Each game store in Japan that I've visited, both in May 2015 and now, has had a display case in which they show off games that look far more enticing when they're out of the box. I've rarely seen such displays in U.S. game stores, or in game stores in other countries for that matter.
The other half of the display case, this one featuring copies of the games on display that you can purchase, along with other titles.
Small suggestion for game store owners: Note that on this endcap display of releases from various independent designer/publishers, Yellow Submarine uses small wedges under the games to tilt them backwards, thus keeping them from falling off the shelf while also angling the game to viewers. These wedges are wrapped in gift paper to make them look nice.
Next to Reidemeister (the green box) on the second shelf, you might also notice a gift-wrapped box. Yellow Submarine had many such boxes all over the store to keep the smaller games from being pushed to the back of the shelf and lost. The second Machi Koro expansion is sitting on such a box, for example, to save space and keep it close to the base game.
I was not aware of how many versions of Cat & Chocolate existed. Now I am. The one for the wedding, subtitled "Japanese Ceremony", seems like it'd be a hoot!
Now you have a display case featuring tons of tiny games, perhaps half from Japanese publishers and half from publishers outside of Japan.
And here's the POP display case to entice you to add another item or two to the sale. Let no space go unused! I think that motto is a given here...
Bonus non-gaming pics! If you want more Star Wars toys and objects than you could possibly fit in your house, come to Japan. In the observation area on the 45th floor of the north tower of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building, you could fill your luggage to bursting with items such as these:
Or you could just enjoy the view...
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