For the past couple days, since coming back from my trip to Tokyo, jet-lag has wreaked havoc on my circadian rhythm. I’ve been waking up at 5AM everyday, two hours before I have to get ready for work. Rather than get up and be a productive human being, I’ve laid in bed and thought of Magic  related puns that I could use in the title of this article. Japanic Spellbomb perhaps. Noble Japanther? Tokyotian Soldier? In the sleep deprived haze that comes after a full day of traveling, Erica suggested Japavalanche Riders, which I actually considered for a minute. Then I realized it didn’t really work, even if it did reference everyone’s favorite Magic dating columnist. I ultimately decided on a pun-free title for my article, though one that still vaguely reminds me of Marc Cohn’s 1991 hit single, “Walking in Memphis”.

Anyway, I spent six nights in Tokyo, a woefully short period of time for such a huge and vibrant city. I visited some exchange students that stayed with my family, ate sushi everyday, and spent more yen than I should have at the Pokemon Center and the New Japan Pro Wrestling Shop. Oh yeah, and I went to a bunch of Magic stores in search of Japanese EDH foils, cool stuff I couldn’t find in the states, and any deals I could find.

On my first full day in Tokyo, I went to the Hareruya Magic Store owned by professional Magic player Tomoharu Saito. The store itself was remarkable, not only did it carry a huge assortment of supplies, packs, and singles but it had a spacious play area with room for 300 players. The store was clean, well lit, with a ton of windows casting natural light over the tabletops. I saw players jamming games of Legacy, testing for standard, and drafting. I even got invited to play a game with a Swiss player also on vacation, though I unfortunately didn’t have any decks on me.

Here are some pictures I took of the store:


One section of the play area at the shop.



Some classy prints adorn the walls.



This is one of Saito’s trophy cases. This guy has more than one trophy case.



The bulk bins.



They had Magic vending machines!

It took me a little while to figure out how to find and buy stuff that wasn’t in the display case, especially given that I don’t speak Japanese and the employees don’t speak English. One of my friends was able to translate for me though and I was able to get everything I was looking for by going on the website and adding stuff to a cart. I picked up some foil Japanese commanders for my EDH decks,Borborygmos Enraged and Selvala, Explorer Returned. I also was able to find a Japanese foil Isamaru, Hound of Konda, for my brother as he has been looking for one for years.


Just 8,000 yen.


After going to the Hareruya store, I had no other plans to go to any more Magic shops. I had tickets to a pro-wrestling event, a baseball game, the Studio Ghibli museum, and a bunch of other plans to try to cram into one week and didn’t want to spend too much time rummaging through bulk bins and doing conversion math in my head. However, after taking a trip to Akihabara to check out the five-story HEY arcade, I just happened to walk by a few card shops and couldn’t help but stop inside.

The best of these stores was Big Magic, located on the ninth floor of a building exclusively dedicated to hobby stores. The store was stacked wall to wall with display cases featuring just about every card you could ever want. One case proudly displayed a veritable treasure trove of Power Nine alongside Alpha/Beta duals. The next case over was full of expensive foils including the City of Traitors foil test print and the Adarkar Wastes alternate border test print. Seriously look at this:



Nothing to see here.



I ended up buying a foil 10th edition Japanese Wrath of God and a foil Invasion Fact or Fiction for my Hannah EDH deck. Erica picked up a foil Japanese Anafenza, the Foremost to finally get into Tiny Leaders.

Over the course of the week I stopped into a few other stores, this is a picture of my final haul:


All KMC sleeves are really cheap in Japan, I got these for 386 yen or like $3.25 in USD. I was also really excited to get Treachery for less than $5, Humility for less than $8, and  Tower of the Magistrate for roughly $1.50. It seemed like non-foil EDH/casual cards were cheaper in most of the stores I looked in.

If you’re interested in some of the non Magic related stuff I did in Japan, here are some vacation photos:


This is from a cat cafe in Ikebukuro. It’s like a normal cafe except that you pay based on the time you spend there. Oh also there are cats, 20 of them at this cafe, that you can pet and hang out with.




This is from a Pro Wrestling NOAH event. The lady in front of me fainted shortly before this picture was taken. On the ring apron Minoru Suzuki is leg-locking some jabroni.


The view outside my window at the Hyatt Andaz in Tokyo.

I have a bunch more but since this is a Magic article, I think I’ll wrap up here. Or rather, I guess I’ll just tell one more quick story.

On my last day in Tokyo, I bought a bunch of snacks, liquor, and other small gifts from this convenience store called Family Mart (they have them all over Tokyo). After ringing me up, the cashier places a large box on the counter top and motions for me to put my hand inside. I am confused but curious and I reach in and grab a slip of paper. It’s a small glossy coupon with a picture of a beer. A can of Sapporo. The cashier then says, “free”. So I assume I have won a beer, which is cool if not a little odd. The cashier then motions for me to put my hand in again, then puts up six fingers. I eventually realize that I get to claim seven prizes since I spent so much money. This is a picture of the box and my final haul:


While I am not one to refuse free beer, I was on my way to the airport and didn’t actually need six beers. I initially attempted to give some back but after they had spent so much time finding the exact beers to take off the shelf, I figured I would just take them. Erica and I each drank two and pawned the rest off on some guys outside the hotel.

All in all my time in Japan was amazing, too short, and indescribable in a short Magic themed article. I would recommend Tokyo as an excellent place to travel to if you like arcades, pachinko, sushi, cat cafes, anime, clean public transit systems, vending machines with weird things in them, or baseball games where everyone sings the whole time. Really I would recommend visiting Tokyo even if you don’t like any of these things because the city is huge and full of amazing people, culture, and history.

I’m ready to go back.


At age 15, while standing in a record store with his high school bandmates, Shawn Massak made the uncool decision to spend the last of his money on a 7th edition starter deck (the one with foil Thorn Elemental). Since that fateful day 11 years ago, Shawn has decorated rooms of his apartment with MTG posters, cosplayed as Jace, the Mindsculptor, and competes with LSV for the record of most islands played (lifetime). When he’s not playing Magic, Shawn works as a job coach for people with disabilities and plays guitar in an indie-pop band.

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