An Otaku’s hungry search for anime…

Before I left for Taiwan I had wondered to myself, “Hmm… Will there be a lot of anime shops available there?”  I knew that there were some people that often cosplay during events, but I wasn’t too sure if anime was a big thing.  To my surprise, there are probably a lot more otaku crazed fans here than back home!  Since arriving to Taipei, I have found that this country is extremely influenced by both Korean and Japanese culture.  From food to fashion, the Japanese culture has left a huge mark on many Taiwanese both young and old.

If you are into the cute Sanrio characters, you’re in luck!  Hello Kitty is everywhere!  Someone like my sister, who is Hello Kitty crazy, can buy make-up, jewellery,  pots & pans, cookie sheets, toilet paper, and the list goes on.  There also exists a Hello Kitty cafe, which I still have yet to visit, and… brace yourself… a Hello Kitty hospital!  They are definitely in love with that cat. (^_^)

For anime lovers, I have scouted out a few shops and areas that may be of interest to you.  For video games, toys and models, your best bet is to check out Taipei metro mall.  When travelling on the MRT, get off at Taipei main station.  There are four different malls, so just follow the signs when you get off, and head one floor down to area Y.  It is a pretty big space… Even I got lost looking for a bus station here. (@_@);;;  Once you reach the Y section, you’ll pass clothing stores, souvenir shops, and eventually you’ll reach your destination!  Prices are quite reasonable in comparison to North America so you’ll find yourself in heaven!  Be sure to check out the gallery for pictures of just a few stores that I found there.

If you are wanting a new experience, within the food area of the mall there will be a couple cosplay tea shops, Maiden Cafe and Chitty Mood. Keep in mind that these restaurants can be quite pricey, but if you are wanting to stop by for some afternoon tea, be sure to make an appointment.   The idea of these tea houses are quite popular in Japan, although I have yet to drop by and see what the craze is all about myself.

If you decide to do more shopping for anime goods, hop back on to the MRT and take the blue line back to Ximen station.  Once there, get off at exit 6 and be sure to take a walk around the shops.  When searching for anime shops be sure to not look only at the store fronts, but look up as well! Some shops will be on the second floor and the signs will be above the doorways.  Some stores in Ximending include:

1) Animate! – which is two floors full of comics, magazines, toys, and stationary.
2) Mag Freak – there are numerous locations of this store and it mostly sells comics, posters and bags.
3) Index ACG – This store showcases everything anime on six full floors!! For example there is an arcade, two floors for comics, a card playing area and a cafe to hang out!
There are also a lot of hidden cosplay shops where you can rent costumes and wigs! This comes in handy because you just never know when you might need that school girl uniform or Domo Kun outfit…(>_<)

** On a side note, I am thoroughly disappointed that I didn’t know about, or get to, attend the Fancy Frontier anime event last week!!! (@_@);;; I have heard rumors that the next event will be held in July, in the meantime, I question myself… “Should I cosplay or shouldn’t I?”  Ahhh Decisions… Decisions…Any suggestions out there?

For more information:
Hello Kitty hospital as shown on ITN
Fancy Frontier
Mag Freak

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