Friday, April 03, 2009


In the comments of the 4th anniversary post, jimpac asked for a post sharing pics and details about TACO che. I've had dozens of photos saved up and now that I've been kicked in the pants (and found a happy solution for hosting lots of pictures with PictoBrowser), it's time to post everything!

Folks reading on RSS: PictoBrowser doesn't play nice with you, so please click through and come see the 100+ photos! Mouse over 'Notes' to read the photo captions.

If you've been reading Same Hat for a while, you've probably heard me talk about the Nakano Broadway Mall. It's located just west of Shinjuku, and home to a sprawling complex of strange, otaku stores-- including the massive 15+ Mandarake shops. It's like a more underground and less commercialized version of Akiba, minus the foreign tourists with cameras and with more of the stuff we all like. How to get to Nakano Broadway and maps/pics from the Mandarake shops can be found here.

Last Spring, my GF and I went to Japan for two weeks, and I managed to fit two trips to the greatest shop in Nakano Broadway (and quite possibly, my favorite shop of any kind in the world), TACO che!! I was originally told about the shop by my German buddy Ben (who gavee me the Shintaro Kago Bullying kit from there back in 2007). TACO che is pretty much THE underground manga shop of your dreams. They don't have a specific tie to any one publisher, but I heard that the owner is close with the folks that fun Seirinkogeisha. The shop carries fan zines, dojinshi, along with nearly every title by Seirinkogeisha, EnterBrain/Beam and all the other indies we love.

The shop is located on the 3rd floor, in the general vicinity of the northwest end of the Nakano Broadway mall. Here are some shots from inside the store. The place is tiny, but every square foot is something cool and tempting:

These photos are all from March 2008, and reflect the books and goods that were hot at the time. Kazuo Umezu's 50th Anniversary (of his career in manga) celebration was in full force, and the store was crammed full of incredible Umezz goods:

In my two trips to the shop, I spent (eeek) over 300 bucks and filled a suitcase with books. I didn't really have 300 bucks to spend on comics, but I. JUST. COULDN'T. HELP. MYSELF. In addition to the bigger pubs and indie zines I mentioned above, TACO che also publishes their own occasional zines and pamphlets (which are insanely excellent, like this). Here is just a small smattering of the manga gems I am talking about:

Not content to be simply the BOOK store of our dreams, TACO che also carries limited edition shirts, toys and DVDs, including Suehiro Maruo posters made just for TACO che (sorry, I can't find that pic at the moment, will take one of the miniposter on my wall). Here are some of the shirts:

And here are some of the goodies:

They also carry lapel pins by all our favorites:

I tried to include good captions for all those pics, but if you have any questions (or corrections!) leave a comment here! You can see the photos directly at the non-flashy Same Hat flickr, which I'm using just to store pics for PictoBrowser to pull from.

TACO che continues to be the epicenter for all the manga and art we all love so much, so I'll keep my eyes ope on their blog and post interesting news. In the coming month or so, TACO che will be hosting signing events with Takashi Nemoto and Jun Hayami- hopefully Nate or Schultz can check those out for us!!


kouros said...

Oh my god. That place looks like heaven. Screw college, I'm flying to Japan and buying that entire store.
I need those shirts. More specifically, the Rapist Monk and Super Police ones.

Incredible post, though. I'd always wanted to visit Taco Che, but now I absolutely need to. Thanks so much for the awesome pictures.

zytroop said...

Great post! Looks like a dangerous place to be in with your wallet. Ryan I am desperate for a copy of 月光秘宝館, do you have any tips on how I can acquire it?

jimpac said...

Awesome pictures, dude. Thanks for putting them up.
Also, my Hanakuma Last Gasp stickers you sent arrived on friday. They're super sweet! Thanks a lot.

bittermelon said...

this place is pure heaven. you must've been peeing your pants with xxxcitement the whole time there. i have to check it out when i'm there in the fall, can't wait! the entire mall sounds rad...also it's pretty cool how they don't have any strict no-photo policy. thanks for sharing!

Ryan S said...

@kouros: Yeah, pretty much. The KAZZ shirts were hot. My friend Nate was here when we looked at the comments and he goes, "I like that this dude SPECIFICALLY wanted the "rapist monk" shirt. Pretty awesome." I concur

@zytroop: I had set aside a bunch of money just for TACO che and I promptly spent more than that. RE: 月光秘宝館... I grabbed a copy there, but aside from their site and the store, I don't think anywhere else carries it. Maybe we can work something out-- will email you back!

@jimpac: Glad you enjoyed them :) It felt good to finally share some of my vacation pics. That's rad that the stickers came so quick, i'm impressed!

@bittermelon: Oh, you know it! You remember me bringing the "bag of manga" over to your place after the trip and regaling ya'll with tales of this shop. You guys definitely should set aside a few hours to kick it in Nakano and soak in the shop!

I dont know if they are actually okay with photos, or if they just didn't feel comfortable telling a nerding out white guy to stop. I think TACO che is chill with it, Mandarake has a "NO PHOTO" policy in their shops though (I snuck all those photos in the previous mandarake madness post.

gizmogal said...

So sweet! Wish I could visit... perhaps someday. :D

kouros said...

Ryan: That's just how I roll. But I worry about the stability of the universe when you and Nate are in the same room. Spacetime simply isn't build to handle so much awesome.

Travis McGee said...

I went to Taco Che probably a month or so after your visit in 2008 ... looking at your shots, it makes me slightly depressed how much I missed or overlooked ... by that point in my Tokyo visit I was in severe burnout, having already trundled through scores of stores and spent many hundreds of dollars so I was pretty listless in browsing around the store. Also, given my limited Japanese it was a little harder to navigate than some other stores (Mandarake, for instance, has Romaji equivalents by all the Kanji labels in their manga sections for idiots like me).

Ryan S said...

@Gizmogal: Someday, my friend!

@Kouros: We spent the weekend walking around SF in the sun and then going to a thrashmetal show in Oakland. Good times!

@Travis: I think it was a good call to make TACO che my first stop, and tire out all my money spending tendencies at once. That's not to say that I didn't go a little mental at Book Off later in the trip in Kyoto. You know :B

Evan said...

Ryan, this post is epic! Nice documentation of a store I really wish I'd gone to.

Okada said...

One of the best (or epic as Evan said) in the history of Same Hat! Wish I could go there...

Ryan S said...

@anonymous: You gotta check it out sometime!

@okada: Thanks dude, I spent a long time organizing those photos (and sat on them for... 11 months?) so I'm glad folks are into it. Please spread the word about the post!

thanks dudes,

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that shop's awesome. I felt like I had struck gold when I found it too.

Lua said...

this is my most most most favorite store in the world. When i went to japan i emailed shintaro kago about where to find his work and other guro items, he recommended Taco Che! I must have went there like 10 times while i was there. I want to go back so bad!
I'd love to own all the stuff in there...