The same figurine, third time in a row.
No fortuneteller needed—today was the worst kind of unlucky day. Standing in front of the vending machine, shoulders drooping, Tomoya sighed.
The anime theme song playing in the shop tried to encourage him: "Don't let hard times get you down; if you don't give up there's still hope." His backpack was stuffed with doubles and repeats. No room for hope in there. He left the shop muttering.
"Maybe next time."
As always, the low-ceilinged corridor was filled with a peculiar hubbub. To Tomoya, it was the sound of Nakano Broadway breathing.
A four-storey structure built about 40 years ago, it was anything but spacious on the inside. You could see at a glance that it was a shabby old shopping pavilion, but Nakano Broadway was an unusual place. Its floors were crammed with small shops laid out like puzzle pieces, most of them catering to an otaku clientele. There were row upon row of miscellaneous anime shops; dojin shops, which sell manga memorabilia and self produced comics created by manga fans; maid cafes; and rental showcase establishments. Some people called it the Otaku Mall.
Tomoya rode the escalator to the first floor. The second, third, and fourth floors were packed with otaku-oriented shops, but on the first floor there were drugstores, fast food restaurants, clothing stores, and other businesses serving the general public. On a weekday evening it was bustling with housewives and high school students on their way home from school.
Tomoya hunched his shoulders and headed quickly for the exit on the Waseda side.
"This thing weighs a ton."
The backpack, crammed with capsules, bit into his shoulders as he walked. The pack and its contents were all he had to show for the money he'd spent; he felt like tossing it away then and there.
Ten meters from the exit he stopped short, almost involuntarily. There, on a stairway landing, stood a lone capsule vending machine.
Copyright (C) Shokichi/Web Japan, English translation (C) John Brennan
Edited by Japan Echo Inc.