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Some thoughts after visiting the SOOM store in Harajuku

Jan 31, 2009

    1. So, I went to the SOOM store in Harajuku the other day(after looking for it for 2 hours, when I finally found it I was like, DURRR just like the lady on the phone said!), to look at the dolls in person and see just how tall the Mecha Angels really are.

      I have a few realizations/observations:

      1. The dolls all looked much more doll-like in person than in pictures. Still very beautiful, though.

      2. and 60cm is still a lot of doll. For some reason I thought it would be smaller, but it's quite large.

      3. I wish more companies had physical stores you could walk into and see the dolls in person.

      4. If you're being paid in yen it's still cheaper transfer money to America and then order from the American site, by about $100 for a Mecha Angel.

      I also had more personal realizations involving my own doll concepts, like the Mecha Angel body is just too tall for the character I want her for. Super Gem it is.

      Any thoughts from anyone else about doll stores, the SOOM store in particular, etcetc?
    2. So cool! Could you buy dolls at the store or just order them?
    3. wow its cheaper to order a mecha angel on the site with usd? o_0
    4. I love seeing dolls in-person. I must admit that I have bought all my dolls but one without having seen them in-person, but that's just the way life is these days with buying on the internet and very few physical stores (which one usually can't get to anyway).

      Going to MeetUps can help when there isn't a store available. If there are people in your area with a doll you might be interested in seeing, sometimes you can actually request certain dolls in Meetup threads! Don't be shy. It may be a "no" but at least you can try.

      I've been lucky and had access to the Volks Store and the Elfdoll store in the L.A. area. It's just amazing to see the dolls up-close. They are always different than seeing them just in photos.

      Volks, of course, only has a few of the current dolls and the FCS display and some of their older dolls for display only, but it's still lovely to get to look at what they do have. They've had more recently... or maybe that was just because I caught them at a good time?

      Elfdoll usually has quite a few of their dolls in stock. Mostly people have to order them, of course, but sometimes you can buy right off the shelves.

      What dolls did Soom have on display??? Any/all of their Monthly dolls? Sold out dolls for display only? Or just their current dolls??? And did they sell other items? How big was the shop? Did they allow photos to be taken in the store (Volks, here, does not. Elfdoll does).
    5. i was wondering the same thing, can you buy a doll, and walk right out the door with it? i think i might pay a bit more for instant gratification.
    6. I believe for some doll, you can! I know there's a Volks dealer in Taiwan, and they have many dolls ready in store. If you like he/she, you can pay right away and take him/her home. I think only if you are ordering FCS dolls which require actual production in Japan, that, you need to wait.
      Unless it says "display only, not for sale" or "Owner: XXX", I believe you can buy those dolls and take them home right away! :)
    7. I plan on visiting the store next week when my friend and I will be in Japan, so I hope to see if they sell any items in addition to dolls. I assume that they do sell dolls in person, otherwise I don't understand the existence of the store unless it is mainly a showroom.

      Here is a map of the store in conjunction with the Harajuku district. The top left corner of the map shows the Japan Rail [JR] station in Harajuku. This is what I'll rely on when I go to look for the store. Any advice on what landmarks to look for?

    8. oh thanks, i guess flying to japan to get a doll would be very expensive, but fun!
    9. I'm hoping to check the store out in the next couple weeks as well, probably mostly just for window-shopping but maybe to buy some clothes/a doll carrier.

      For someone who wished other companies had stores, if you're in Japan, you should check out Akihabara! If you follow the directions to the Volks store there, you'll be in a building with several stores that carry BJD clothes and accessories, and some of them have dolls as well (offhand I just recall seeing Bluefairy but there were a couple of stores I skipped).

      I love going into doll stores here...there's something really special about seeing everything in person, and it's different from a meetup (although those are special too!). Also, the Harajuku Volks store, which was the first I saw, is really amazing, so many beautifully dressed and posed dolls! It was almost overwhelming...again different from a meet, perhaps because everything was laid out with the care you expect from high-quality store displays.
    10. I've been to a lot of sumikas and a few other stores in the States and Japan and while all the smaller stores gave me a feeling of "cute hobby store with nice people and pretty dolls", nothing really did much for me till I went to Sato because it's a lot more than a doll store. Visiting all the sumika did cement for me my first FCS, but Sato was so nice and relaxing and was so much more about enjoying the dolls with other people.

      It was nice to see the museum as well. I imagine Volks is going to have to expand that room soon with all the new dolls they keep adding!
    11. I wish there was a store near here that carried BJDs. It must have been a wonderful experience to actually see the dolls in person. Other than meet-ups, I've never had the luxury to see the actual dolls before I buy them. There are several general line doll shops around here but none of them carry BJDs. Still, when I was collecting vinyl, it was so nice to just walk into a store & see the dolls. And of course, I seldom got out of there without buying something.
    12. Wow! I didn't know that in Harajuku there is a SOOM store! That is good know it because the next April I will be in Japan... I hope to find it with this map!
      Thank you! :kitty2
    13. ack... I wish there were stores I could get to.. you're very lucky to be living near such places : 3
      I keep hoping i'll hear something about a store in NYC or ... something... *sigh*

    14. I would love to go there so much O_O
    15. They said that you couldn't just buy a doll and walk out with it, that you had to order it and it took about two months. They sell wigs, clothes, and eyes for direct sale though.

      They had all the monthlies on display and some examples of each size of doll. It's a pretty small store.

      Walk through Takeshita dori, and then cross the street at the big intersection, turn left 180 degrees(not down the little side street thing) and keep on going, farther than you think. You'll see the Soom store front and signs and stuff. :D
    16. Oh, and I didn't ask about pictures, but I didn't recall seeing a no photos sign or anything. Also, it's cheaper by 25 dollars or so by the normal exchange rate, but now with the dollar at 88-90 yen it's about a 100 dollar difference.
    17. wow that's really cool!!!
      is the dolls in soom cheaper than the ones on the website?
    18. thanks for the directions lettuchi. I'll be in Harajuku today. I hope I can find it and take lots of pictures of the outside of the building to post here.
    19. cant wait! looking forward to the pics
    20. Thanks for the photos in advance, Izayoi!

      I'm pleased to know that you and your boyfriend arrived in Japan safely. You have to tell mw how you like the hotel you're staying in! And how useful is the Japan Rail Pass there?