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your memories from visiting Volks in Japan

Mar 20, 2007

    1. For those of you who have visited Volks stores in Japan (including but not limited to Tenshi No Sato... any Volks store is fine.)

      what are some particular memories that you have? ie, the first time you ever got to go to a Volks store, did you have some particular happy experience, or something that you thought was really neat that made an impression on you?

      like for me, I loved the seasonal flower decorations all over the stores and seeing one offs for the first time (this was before the volks store in usa had opened too.)
      Also, I kept the bag my items came in for a while (and some of the papers), because I'd wanted to go to a Volks store for so long that I felt bad about throwing the plastic bag away. haha. XD...

      what about you? :)
    2. The displays :D:D:D:D!!!!!!!!!

      It was more like a gallery than a store... which was sooo awesome :drool. Oh and Shinku! I'm not sure if it was an *actual* Shinku because I didn't know very much about Volks at that time (it was in the Volks in Akihabara... anyone know ^^;?) but she was in Shinku's dress o.o... but her pigtails were braided for some reason~ so cute *^*.

      But that's it o_o I didn't do anything but look at the displays really. I didn't have a doll at the time or very much knowledge about them ^^... the fact that I was even in the store was a total accident... I just wandered in by mistake when my friend was looking at some anime figure kits with ginormous boobs.
    3. One time I went to a Sumika on my own and was just wandering around, having a nose-about. There was a Korean girl, and she was very shyly chatting to one of the store assistants about her dolls in slightly broken Japanese (^-^) It was somehow really sweet, because he kept encouraging her and telling her how good her Japanese was, which just made things worse cus she went bright red and started stuttering. XD!
    4. I lived about two train-stops from Shinjuku for almost a year, so I went to the Shinjuku Volks in the Alta building nearly every week. The first thing I remember when I think back is how nice and enthusiastic the staff always were there: they were always open to a chat, would run over with a basket or offers to help if you looked as though you needed it, and seemed terribly interested in how I'd found out about Super Dollfies and whether they were popular in England or not.

      I also got to see an Omukae ceremony once when I was just browsing around the store, and watching the store manager come out in his red velvet cloak and make the speech before the long box (in the middle of a huge flower-display) was opened up and the new owner got to see her new FCS dollfie for the first time was quite the experience, too. I was always struck by the number of people who'd bring their dolls into the store for photographs, too, and I'd have loved the chance to do that myself while I was over there (now that I have a Volks doll, I might well succumb to temptation and take him with me next time I'm in Japan ^^)

      The only other Volks store I went to was the big one in Akihabara, and aside from the large glass-fronted displays you have to pass through to get to the store itself, the main thing I remember is being just tall enough so that every time I went to look at some of the clothes on display I'd bang my head against the hanging artificial flower arrangements they'd have above all the shelves! :lol: I think I spent most of my time in that store in a permanent semi-crouch! XD I remember loving the huge choice of clothes at the Akihabara store, and (for the cheapskates like me) their huge bargain bins were wonderful too. Nothing like getting a couple of really nice shirts or trousers for $8/£4 each!
    5. I have to second the nice-ness of the Shinjuku staff when I was in Japan. I tried to visit as many sumikas as I could in Tokyo, and went to I believe all but the Ginza location and one of the Shinjuku show rooms. They were really nice when I purchased the Mou Hitori Watashi and they had one of the best displays I'd seen. The Harajuku one was also nice because they had Shinku on display, as well as some in progress sewing projects that looked like at least one was Aeris from FFVII.

      I got a bit embarassed at Sato when I tried out my Japanese. The staff was polite though. Osaka had some pretty nice clothes, but I still think my favorite so far was Shinjuku Alta.
    6. Well, I had a mixed bag... I went to the Akihabara store and the store was incredible! :D The window displays really jumped out at me, a long glass case of every type of Volks doll in every kind of costume...
      The unfortunate part came when my friend and I went in to order our first FCS dolls (and what was to be my first Volks) and finding out that the Volks waiting period had changed (in the week and a half since we had recieved many many assurances of a 30 day wait) to 50 days... 3 days after we were to leave Japan :o :...( ...
      And then after a frantic notice to the board a couple people came forward and said "oh, yeah, we knew that for a while..." :vein :evil: :x :barf :doh
    7. Well, the Shinjuku store(s) and the Akihabara store is famous for their sweet staff. I love the Ginza store just 'cause it felt like a big Super Dollfie hug (it's a little small), but I really have to carry flag for the Harajuku store. It was raining the day we came, drizzelin' mostly, but once we left the Harajuku station it was like the flood gates of Heaven opened. The staff at the Harajuku store somehow saw us coming and rushed to greet us, opening the door so we could run in quickly. They gave us some washcloths to dry off a bit with. One of the girls even noticed a hem in one of my pants legs had come loose and gave me a safety pin to get through the day. Plus, you know, the Harajuku store has a GREAT selection and tons of space.

      And you know, I know this is a Japan-Volks thread, but I do love the L.A. store. The girls who work there are sweet, and I am maddly in love with the guy who works downstairs selling the WTG stuff. He's sooooo cute and always over-dressed!
    8. I spent a week in Tokyo this past summer and stayed a fifteen minute walk from the Studio ALTA building in Shinjuku where the Shinjuku Sumika is (I didn't plan for that, but it was a nice coincidence XD) I loved seeing all the items on display. Later I went to the Harajuku and Akihabara stores, and I remember the adorable Tony and Hewitt cartoons in Harajuku and the FCS heads on display at Akiba. Even my mum, who doesn't like dolls, loved being at Volks because of the gorgeous displays and warm atmosphere. I have to say though, it was hilarious walking with my mum through all the rows of pervy figures as we manoevered our way to the Akiba store!

      Of course, I have to thank Cassiel (again) for her Volks guides, because there is no way I'd have been able to find any of them without her help!
    9. I went to the Harajuku and Shinjuku stores a couple of times during my stay in Japan. It was amazing just to be able to browse and touch and examine things I've only seen online before. It was also a bit awe inspiring to see the dolls on display and those in boxes (including the limited Manabu and Midori) just sitting there, waiting for someone to take them home.

      A lovely memory for me was during my lunch break at school, and hurrying down the street to the Studio Alta Shinjuku Sumika and buying a skirt and pair of eyes I previously coveted. The man behind the counter asked if I had an MSD, and I nervously answered that I had a Dream of Doll, thinking that a doll from a rival brand wouldn't be appreciated. Instead his face lit up in a "Oh, that one" expression.
    10. I went to the Shinjuku Alta and BiGs stores. I liked the sale items, hehe, and also how wonderfully polite the staff were! The Alta store had nice displays, which entertained my non-doll travelling companions while I perused the racks of wigs and clothes.

      I may be visiting Hokkaido soon, so hopefully I'll get to check out the Sapporo and Sendai Sumikas. ^_^
    11. When I lived in Japan, I lived much much too close to the Nagoya Sumika. (My poor aching wallet!) The staff there were incredible; Mayumi looked for us every Thursday or Friday. It got to the point that we didn't go necessarily to shop, but to talk. Mayumi studied English so she'd be able to talk to us more. I was devastated (though very happy for her) when she was moved to Kyoto. Her faceups were lovely, and I was glad to see Volks take notice. I also loved the way Yamada-san would always seem pleasantly surprised when we were there. Nagoya definitely is my favorite of the Sumikas. I'll never forget getting there very late on the day of an After Event, despairing of finding anything I wanted still there...lo and behold, one lone Rengemaru waiting for me. I had to beg my roommate for a loan; I hadn't brought enough with me, since I had given up on getting him at the store. Good thing I had Volks points to cash in too. :)

      Tenshi no Sato remains in my memory as a place of peace. Work and life were so frantic for me in Japan; Kyoto was just different, and Tenshi no Sato was always sunny and the rooms were large and calm. I just loved the quiet tranquility of it there. I ordered my Thomas there, when the F-22 was a Sato exclusive. Hehe, I also loooooooved the little orange confection I had in the cafe there. I didn't want to eat the little chocolate medallion with the Tenshi no Sato logo printed on it, it was so cute!

      I visited several Sumika in Tokyo, Studio Alta, Akihabara...They were sweet, but I remained faithful to my Nagoya.
    12. I usually try to visit as many Sumikas and SRs as I can when I go to Tokyo, but I always never manage to get to the Ginza one for some reason ^^; (And the Tachikawa one because it's quite far...) My favourite is probably the Harajuku one because it's nice and big and the displays are always so beautiful there!

      Akihabara's is worth a visit too because they stock a lot of stuff and there's a Nono sporting a beautiful Little Princess outfit just like the cover of the Volks Sewing book Vol.2! I was so excited to see her because I've never thought I'd see her in real! I also bought Nana while I was there. Actually, the process was far less magical than I thought. The staff merely opened the box quite matter-of-factly to let me check the contents before I paid for it. XD;

      The only Sumika outside Tokyo I've visited is the Osaka one. I don't really remember much of it, to be honest... except it's quite big and stocks quite a lot of stuff. It's rather like the Osaka version of the Akihabara one because it's smack right in the middle of Den Den Town (read: lots of otakus, anime merchandise and doujins in the vicinity XD).

      I visited Sato in autumn two years ago and it was a really pleasant trip! I took a walk around the neighbourhood in the morning and visited the beautiful Togetsu Bridge and Arashiyama. Then in the afternoon, I walked to Sato and gosh, the garden is the most beautiful place ever. It was covered with a layer of red maple leaves and it was a pleasure even, just exploring the garden. I regretted not bringing my doll along, as there were quite a few doll owners taking the opportunity to bring their dolls out into the beautiful garden for photos. I remember there was a weird otaku-ish guy in the lobby taking pictures of his dolls and he actually looked extremely withdrawn and awkward among the bunch of female doll owners there ^^; The One-Off and LE doll museums are definitely well worth a visit (beautiful, beautiful dolls!) and the shop in the basement stocks a LOT more stuff than the Sumikas. I had the impression that living in Kyoto must be really fun for SD owners because they can visit Sato any time they like to meet fellow SD owners and take lots of pictures. Well, I'm looking forward to my next visit there already :fangirl:
    13. I lived in Osaka for about 5 month as an exchange student 2 years ago. It was really cool b/c I lived near the Volks shop in Osaka, about a good 2-3 bolcks away. I've been there only twice though through out my whole 5 months. ^^;; I didn't have a doll back then but I wanted one so bad. XD

      My first expeiance was awesome, I was completely shock b/c I walked into the shop without knowing it was a BJD store. It was ammazing. I started to take pictures of the dolls with my cheap Keitai(cellphone) until a lady told me to stop. XD My 2nd time there I went with a friend and stole a poster off the walls in the hall ways. =X I couldn't resist.
    14. I wandered into a Volks store a few years ago. We'd been in and out of manga and figure shops most of the day and ended up in Studio Alta on the way back to the station. As we were leaving, I saw a little plaque next to an elevator that said Volks (or VS) so we headed up! At that point I had 1/6th dolls and was pining for a Megu or Cecil but I'd never seen a BJD in person. How could I not look?

      When we tried to enter the store a lady stopped us and nervously tried to explain that we couldn't come in but her manager came over and gestured for us to come inside. :) I was overwhelmed by all the dolls on display and wanted one so badly that I barely let myself look at them. I picked out a few general doll supplies and got in line to pay. I noticed that all of the other shoppers were over the age of thirty (which made me realize I wasn't so odd at the age of 29 for wanting a doll) and they all had baskets full of doll heads. Watching the sales total for the lady in front of us go up and up was...educational. It made me think quite highly of Volks that they let us in to poke around even though we were clueless. :sweat

      It wasn't until I got home and did some research that I realized it was a members only sale on oldskin parts. If only I'd known! Even though I wouldn't have gotten the sale price, I could have bought heads!!! I also found out that I was less than a block away from every single Volks store in Tokyo, but had no idea. I ate a snack in front of the BiGs building, I walked right past the one in Ginza, I was around the corner from the Ikebukuro store, etc. :doh

      I'll be hitting as many as I can in the next few of weeks, I'm heading to Tokyo next Thursday. :)
    15. I was able to go to the Akihabara and Osaka Sumikas. One memory I have at the Akihabara store was not being able to find it (^^;;;;) and wandering around on the wrong Volks level. After searching through the figures (of questionable content), and hobby stuff for 10 minutes or so me and my friends were able to get to the correct level. AND WHAT A DIFFERENCE! XD The Sumika area is so fancy compared to the rest of the store.
      Also, I think when we went to the Osaka Sumika it was a day or so after a Dolpa, so they were stocked a lot better than when we had gone to Akihabara.
    16. Well, I got my sumika (in Sapporo) about every other week... unless my wallet is in pain.
      The first day I went, I was so confused about how to find it, I wasn't sure where it was. It's in the second basement of ALTA. And it has 2 doors. I should have gone through the back door to reach the BJD section first, but I went through the one in front of the elevator, since it was closer. The entire store seemed to be model figures. I walked through, and at the mid point of the store, it changed. It was like an entirely different store started. (Just as Hikaru-han said the floors were different in Akihabara) Flowers everywhere, the one offs on display, a HUGE center rail full of the latest model dolls on display (like the dollpa collections)...
      They waved and said "irrassyaimase" and all, but looked a little (lot) nervous. When I dared to ask them a question about FCS, all 3 people who were working that day, suddenly sighed in relief and started chatting with me. They had all been afraid, since none of them spoke English, and they figured the tall blonde girl probably wouldn't speak JPN. ^_~ Thank goodness for my JPN Major! I guess Sapporo gets WAY fewer forigners than the other stores do. I've only ever seen one other, and he's been living here for a LONG time, and is fluent. Even during the dollpa after-event, he and I were the only non-natives there.

      The really memorable things were the other visitors at the store though. The staff is sweet, and remembers my name, my dolls names, and EVERYTHING I've ever bought or told them from day 1... but other doll owners in the store always want to share thier dolls, and greet new people too. That store is like a family, really. I love it.
    17. I went to the one in Akihabara about 2 weeks ago. I agree the window display is very nice! I spent most of the time at the 1/6 section though. I had a fever that day and was overwhelmed and happy to see all types of headmold in person but was too sick to spend any more time there.

      I remember when I signed the bill I accidentally drew on their desk. I kept apologizing like a dork and the shop staff probably thought I was being a dorky tourist and he laughed.

      Oh, I stayed at Ikebukuro, and I still am kicking myself for not visiting the volks store just a few blocks away from where I stayed.
    18. I think I still have all my Volks bags! *^^*

      I've only been to the one Volks in Osaka - way back before there were any Sumika's or Sato.

      Even back then, the displays were so beautiful (nothing like they are now, but...) and the sales assistants were friendly, patient and helpful.

      There was just one little Super Dollfie area in the back of the store.

      I remember looking at a standard SD Megu box, and a salesgirl coming over to open it for me and show Megu to me - urging me to pick her up. (I was way too scared too.) ^^;;;

      I want to go back so badly and see Sato!
    19. The Volks store in Shinjuku is so~ big!
      I've been there once and it was raining on that day. It was a bit difficult to find.
      The one-off displayed there are gorgerous! really.
      I'm quite regret that I've been to Kansai but I've never been to Volks in Osaka and Kyoto
    20. Oh, the Volks stores were amongst the highlights of my trip to Tokyo. I visited the one in Akihabara and the one around the Harajuku area, and both were wonderful! So big and so cozy...with dolls on display! Gah! It was all I could do not to pick them all up and start cuddling them!

      I remember the shopkeeper in the Harajuku shop. He was a delight and kept bowing and smiling to the endless delight of my Dad. And there was a shop girl who was packing a doll into a box, complete with face-up and clothes and wig...and I thought, "Somewhere in the world, someone is going to get this doll and be endlessly happy." She was doing it with such care!

      Ahh, good times...and yes, I've kept all the volks bags too. ^_^