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Renting Anime in Tokyo
by Joel R. Voss aka. Javantea
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April 24, 2006 17:00 JST
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My conclusion from Anime is Too Expensive in Tokyo is that I should rent anime or watch it on TV. I created a dictionary of useful words and practiced them. That gave me enough confidence to ask the employee at Tsutaya how I could get a rental card. I was able to do it and so can you. The cost is comparable to Scarecrow in Seattle (370 yen per day for anime). You need a passport and a handle on a few easy kanji. I'll give them to you here so that you'll be ready.
Tsutaya DVD/CD Rental

There's a form to fill out to get a card. How do you ask them for it?
ano rental ka-do apprikashun kaku wa arimasuka?
A rental card application document is exist?

They will be helpful. Just insist. Use the words I've laid out here and you should be good to go.

The rental application is pretty easy. If you have a grasp on basic kanji, you're pretty well set.
名前 [なまえ] namae/ family name
電話番号 [でんわばんごう] denwabangou/ phone number
年月日 [ねんがっぴ] nengabbi/ date
生年月日 [せいねんがっぴ] seinengabbi/ birthdate
[][][]-[][][][] postal code
男 [おとこ] otoko/ male
女 [おんな] onna/ female
住所 [じゅうしょ] jyuusho/ address

At this point, write down your address on a piece of paper as it is written in English. Give it to the person and say:
juusho wa koko. kono kanji kakimasuka?
Address is this. This kanji write?

The nice guy was quite willing to write the kanji for me. I'm always impressed seeing Japanese people write kanji. They're so skillful at drawing those crazy pictograms.

They will then ask for your passport which you can give them. It'll take a minute to check your non-existant records, then they will read a few things in English. It's pretty much a "Yes, I agree." type thing, so say hai as long as you understand 50% of what they say. They will ask for 300 yen, which you give them gladly.

You now get the card. You can browse their massive selection of anime, cds, and movies, pick one or more and bring it up. You only need to bring up the clear case, not the DVD case. You give them the card and the item.

They will ask you whether you want to rent it for a week (shuu). They might also point to the pricing guide on the counter. You should probably rent it for a day so that you don't get too lazy. You're going to go there everday anyway, right? Actually, you probably shouldn't go rent anime everday, but that's up to you to decide.

The correct word to give them is:
一日 [いちにち] ichi nichi/ one day

You're done and watching anime. The thing is: most of the good anime is headed to America. This fine year of 2006 is an unprecidented situation where so much good anime is ending up over in the US pretty quickly after it is released in Japan. And it's really not more expensive in America, either. Maybe the American companies are trying to reduce the amount of pirated anime by keeping their costs the same as Japanese, I don't know. What you will find in Japan is a bunch of stuff that didn't make the cut. I watched Sunabozu (licensed and now released in USA as Desert Punk) which was funny as hell. I watched Gankutsu (licensed and released in USA as Count of Monte Cristo) which was mildly good. I watched Ashita no Joe which was good yet slow.

I just watched one that I still can't read the name of. It was a war movie where Japan wins WW2 by luck and good tactics. It might be released in USA. It was boring, but very interesting. Does anyone believe that Japan could have won WW2 by luck? The scenario is plausible, but Japan has no Captain Tylor. Neal Stephenson's research for Cryptonomicon lead him to write that the US broke the Japanese encryption and could predict every move. From there, it required the capture of two important islands to ensure the easy invasion of the mainland. By the time those two islands were captured, the Japanese could not have won or lasted in WW2 (even without the atomic bomb). History can be discussed to great length in this matter and the use of the atomic bomb can be argued for eternity. But I am not so much interested in who wins wars. Peace is the only true question.

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If you are interested in traveling Japan, feel free to e-mail me.