Night walk in Nakano and Don Quijote at 2am

Don Quijote is infamous for being a crammed shop that sells almost anything. Need a new bike, 2kg rice, sex toys, the latest Arashi CD and a bunny costume? No problem, it’s all available at Don Quijote. Besides being infamous, the store is famous for having long opening hours. So I thought why not drop by at 2am?

The Don Quijote near Nakano Station is open until 5am. So if you wake up at 4 thinking “I don’t have any clean underwear!” – no problem, just go to Don Quijote. The opening hours are well past the ones of the Nakano Broadway shopping mall which some compare to geek mecca Akihabara because it has a Mandarake store. Mandarake sells all kinds of anime and manga related merchandise.

So let’s start the walk, shall we?

Not much going on here, as it’s a residential area. I started the walk at about 2:20am.

For the most part, people just ignored me. This vending machine however – glowing eyes!

Convenience Stores are open 24h. See those boxes in front of the store? That’s where you can sort and get rid of trash. You can also pay your bills or buy concert tickets there, although not all stores offer the latter service. If you feel that some weirdo is following you running into a convenience store is a good idea.

Time for a Japanese lesson! When you start learning Japanese, this will be among the first characters you learn: “o” written in Hiragana. Hiragana and Katakana are syllable-based writing system and easy to learn. So why doesn’t Japan simply abandon Chinese characters and just use Hiragana and Katakana? The Japanese language is full of homophones, words which are pronounced and spelled the same as other words. Chinese characters also carry a meaning which the syllable ones do not. Korea switched from Chinese characters to an alphabet and while it is easier to learn it requires looking at a context to get the meaning of some words.

“とまれ” (Stop!).

Construction workers. They come at night and finish whatever they are doing before the morning rush hour. I wrote about them before.

Inside Don Quijote: They were rearranging the first floor. I bought food here if I was on my way from school to my home. The store is not the best choice when it comes to fresh food.

All the stairs are painted and the walls are full of posters. Shopping at Don Quijote is not really a pleasant experience, even slim people have to be careful not to knock something over. So did I buy a yellow bunny suit? That’s a secret!

One of the arcades was still open. This is a UFO Catcher machine. I’m terrible at them so I rarely try.

Don Quijote is not the only business operating at late hours. Besides hotels, some ramen and fast food restaurants and even some cinemas are open. There is no train service at night so people might find themselves stranded after drinking with friends and colleagues. There have been rumors that a 24 hour service is planned for some lines in Tokyo. However, this would be bad for quite a few businesses and would also create a problem for doing construction work on the tracks. Most people are used to the current system anyway.

This post is a follow-up to my post about night walking in Nogata – I just walked into the other direction.

Mia Jaap

Journalist, developer and passionate about Japanese and Korean language. Japan is my #1 country for travelling, penguins my favourite animals.

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