Let’s call it the original “big in Japan” export: Godzilla, the city-crushing amphibious dino-monster, returns to theatres later this week. Japan has long unleashed its unique cultural phenomena – from Victorian-dressed Lolita girls to its wide-eyed anime characters – on the world.
Toy designer and photographer Koji Harmon grew up in L.A. on a diet of such Japanese playthings as Microman and Kamen Rider. He’s now based in Tokyo creating and selling soft vinyl collectible figures through Comet Debris (cometdebris.com).
“The new movie may definitely inspire me and other makers to do some Godzilla or kaiju-style characters,” says Harmon, who shares his favourite places to play in Tokyo with Karan Smith.
“This is an area of western Tokyo which includes Inokashira Park, shops, cafés, restaurants and department stores. The Ghibli Museum [showcasing the animation of Studio Ghibli] is here as well. The park is pretty big, with a large pond where you can rent canoes or swan pedal boats. It’s surrounded by trees and is beautiful in all seasons. It feels like you’re not in Tokyo. It’s less crowded than some of the other shopping areas.” Kichijoji Station on the Inokashira Line
2. Nakano Broadway
“This is a shopping mall, which includes tons of manga, character and vintage toy shops. Mandarake has several stores in the mall, and they’re known for buying comics, videos, books, toys, character goods from collectors and reselling them in their s...