So after the not entirely satisfying excursion to Akihabara detailed in my previous post, a certain kaichou pointed out to me that the fujoshi mostly congregate at Otome Road in Ikebukuro.

I had numerous other things to do in town, so I never made it over until tonight, my last full day in Tokyo.

Holy crap. I have fallen in love with Ikebukuro. You can keep your Shibuya, Kotobuki. You can keep your Akihabara, Madarame. Bukuro is like Shibuya and Akiba put together, but with only the good parts of each.

I had intended on going there, getting some dinner, popping my head into Fujoshi central, and heading back to my hotel to pack. An hour, 75 minutes, tops.

Three hours later, I head back, knowing I have to get up really early for the shinkansen.

So what did I do there? I saw the Owl monument, of course. Had some ramen. Saw some buskers (haven't seen many of them, or indeed, panhandlers). Then I went to Fujoshi central: Animate.

Blows Gamers out of the water. Bigger, cleaner, better organized, and just plain less seedy. Though it obviously is more female-oriented, there were male-oriented series on display, as well as male customers (I'd estimate 90% female, 10% male). I didn't see any male westerners besides myself, but my presence did not cause even one eyebrow to raise. And I bought something: a poseable Danbo action figure.

I found a Bookoff as well: better-stocked than the so-called flagship store in Shibuya.

Obviously I'm dealing with small sample sizes here, but my first impression of Ikebukuro was just as a warmer, more welcoming, nicer and more inclusive place than Akiba.

Or maybe it's just that I like to be among large groups of girls more than among large groups of boys.

In a few hours, I'll be heading off to a hot springs ryokan in Gifu prefecture. That's right: my own personal onsen episode. I'll be sure to report on ghosts, boys trying to peek in the girls side, and people fainting from staying in the hot water too long. (Am I leaving any clich├ęs out?)