25 June 2009

Inside a Shokugan Shop

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Here it is: the shokugan shop that I've mentioned before in the previous post. As promised, I will show you what a shokugan shop looks like (what is a shokugan?), and to a small extent, how it is like to bump into a small trendy shop in Hong Kong. Ready to have look?

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Entering the shop, one will notice the small but typical size of the shop, usually less than 3m in width or length. Shopkeepers have to make really good use of the space to stuff in as much stuff as possible but still make good display for the items.

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On the left there's a huge shelf of many sorts of shokugans, ranging from weapons, trucks, warplanes, down to guitars, and trading figures too.

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Dragon Ball stuff. Despite it being one of the most watched anime out there I didn't really watch much of it.

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A 1/400 Big Zam surrounded by many little Magella Attack tanks. When it comes to Gundams he's a fan of grunts of the grunts, namely Magella Attack and Ball ^^;

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Various trading figures. How many do you recognise there?

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The red robot at the back is Robocon from a Japanese TV series Ganbare!! Robocon. It was pretty popular in Hong Kong as well, where it is known as 小露寶.

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A closer look on some of the shokugans on the shelf. Closely packed together we see different kinds of shokugans here. Didn't notice that there's one for Peter Pan until I was blogging this. o_o

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Various Kamen Rider (aka Masked Rider) action figures on top of the shelves.

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Various Gundam and mecha stuff, as well as 2 antique High Complete Model (HCM) of Nu Gundam and Auge at the back.

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More antique toys from anime series including Casshern, Blocker Army/Corps, and Combat Mecha Xabungle. I seriously know nothing about them ^^;

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The vintage Gundam Mk II, ZZ Gundam, and Z Gundam. While nothing compared to MGs today, they awere some of the earliest (completed) action models out there when the series came out, and are very rare now.


As for the shopkeeper himself, I know him several years ago as military shokugans were much more popular back then, and I always came back to his shop for more releases. Yep, and this means more than half of my 1/144 tank collection (and most aircrafts) are purchased from him. Soon we knew each other and became friends.

Even though there are far fewer shokugan releases related to military now, I still come by and visit his shop to have a chat now and then. Running a small shop by himself isn't easy; having to decide what to stock in and sell them at competitive prices yet enough to keep the cash flow steady is not easy, and he admits that he doesn't earn much daily. One mistake and you can have a lot of surplus goods left behind and no one wants them even for a price that you'll not earn a profit. Nevertheless he continues to do his job as he likes the hobbies he sells, and there's a demand for them afterall. I was happy that the stuff I've bought for him from my trip really satisfied him, and such little things mean a lot to him already.

I want to thank him for kindly allowing me to take pictures of his shop, and you for stopping by and reading about this. Really do hope that you'll get to appreciate how the shops are like and how it is not easy to run one! Do you have shops like that in your area or in a trip, and if you've met them before how's your experience on them?

20 comments:

  1. Oh shit, its like my dreamworld in a small little block O.o

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  2. For such a small shop he really pack the toys in there and still keeps a nice selection. Bet you could easly spend a couple of hours in there and still not see everything.

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  3. Wow that's a cluster of items, if only we had a shop remotely like that with figures and models n such :/ Running a shop like that must be hard. He seems like a great guy and your a good friend for helping him out :D

    Even though I don't have military stuff I still would like to get some...if I got most of the figures and gundams I want out of the way ^^

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  4. Oh man, this is Awesome! Thank you for doing this! I think I'd end up spending a lot of money there, there are just so many little boxes I want to take home and check out.

    My wife and I will be going to Japan soon, I already warned her that she'll probably need to keep me on a leash.

    Thanks Q, nice work all around!!

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  5. @ Snark:
    If that's a single dreamworld for you there, then the whole area will be an utopia for you (well almost) XD

    @ TheGeek:
    Space is always an issue in Hong Kong, therefore people have to make maximum use of the available space out there.

    On average customers only spend 2-3 minutes maximum for shops of this size. While there's a lot to appreciate in such small space, you'd be in trouble trying to go through a mall full of them if you took too long in each shop ^^;

    @ blueplains:
    Running such shops outside Asia will be much harder, as the shokugans will be much more expensive than they should worth due to expensive import fees.

    Since what the shopkeeper wants to buy doesn't hinder my trip at all, helping out definitely wasn't a problem. Besides that's what friends are about!

    @ Apt-1B:
    I'm glad that you find it insightful. Hope you'll get to come to Hong Kong one day~

    You're going to Japan soon? That sounds great! Looking forward to see what you'll bring from there~

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  6. Hmmm... I love the Gundams

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  7. Hey whats up Q, just stopping by to say hi. The shop you were asking about is located somewhere near the HKUSPACE near the kowloon bay mtr station. Its in this industrial building called the “Kowloon bay industrial” on Wang hoi road. Maybe you can look it up? It was right next to the shop where they sold the burettes ^^”

    Its pretty hard to reach to, so go ahead and contact me if you need more information

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  8. Hmmm... where is this in Hong Kong?
    I'd really like to visit it. 8D

    Btw nice to meet you! I'm from Hong Kong too ^^

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  9. Heheh, well, to be honest, I think my dreamworld was Akihabara...except that place fucking ate my money like..a money eating lion thing...

    By the way, I propose a link exchange!

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  10. This is what I called "heaven"

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  11. @ Willie:
    Of course we love the Gundams~ (laughs)

    @ Asuka:
    Hm, Kowloon Bay? I don't go to that area often so it looks like that I have to do a bit of research there. Thanks for the tip, and I will leave you a comment should I got stuck finding it. ^^

    @ Kran117:
    T'is good to know that you're from Hong Kong too~ ^^

    The shop is inside Oriental 188 mall in Wan Chai. In case you are not sure the mall's address is 188 Wan Chai Road.

    Hope that helps~

    @ Snark:
    I remember that you've been to Akihabara and got quite a lot of stuff there. Come to the next dreamworld and see it yourself! Some stuff's price can be as competitive as Japan, surprisingly or not :o

    No problem on the link exchange, gonna add you to mine now!

    @ RyoBase:
    Heaven can wait; this is your "utopia" XD

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  12. yup.. i do have some shop that i visit oftenly.. but not in Japan but Malaysia.. remember the shop i always mention in my blog.. Grafity toys in Times Square.. hehe.. i try to make frens with them to get better offer actually.. hehe..

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  13. @ Agy:
    Glad you like the photos. As you may know, those photos are not mine but someone else's. You can go to his photo albums for more if you haven't done so as he's still acitvely uploading more photos.

    Even though I was not brought up in Kowloon, looking at some of these photos did bring back nostalgic memories...

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  14. @ seven6398:
    Ah I remember you mention that shop often. Would like to see how shops are like in Malaysia too! ^^

    Making friends with the shopkeepers can be beneficial. Not only might you get discounts from them, they also benefit as they can have a steady income from the returning customers. ^^

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  15. We have a lot of these stores here in Vancouver ^^; Maybe not as much as these, but they kinda add up, lol.

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  16. @ Lightning Sabre:
    There is? I did hear that there's quite a number of stores in some ares of Canada, but don't really know about them. Sounds interesting though, and maybe you can take some photos of them in the future? :o

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  17. Thanks for giving some insight into one of those shops!
    We have some general Japanese Stores in Düsseldorf that sell this kinda stuff aswell but its not really worth mentioning.

    In fact I didnt see much of Dragonball either.I always thought that it was kinda boring

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  18. Typically those stores don't let you take pictures... but perhaps I can ninja photo some of these stores ^^;

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  19. Q,

    hey, maybe you could do a post and list the address and locations of these shops you frequently visit

    Would be very useful for us in future, if anyone were to have the chance to visit Hongkong.

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  20. @ Blowfish:
    I remember you posting some pictures when you did a post on various Japanese stores in Düsseldorf ^^

    Shokugan and gashapon toys cost more than they worth outside Asia due to shipping fees, so it's understandable why it's not greatly appreciated. On the other hand they are pretty popular over here since even children can afford some of them. :o

    Dragonball... I didn't have much memories of it left from my childhood. There could be other reasons out there, but one of them that kept me away from watching it continuously was that the fights tend to drag out a bit too much for me.

    @ Lightning Sabre:
    Most shopkeepers don't like people taking random pictures of their shops, so it's better to take some from those who you are friends with, or just take them secretly...

    On the other hand, I am still amazed how somebody has managed to take a lot of pictures of the shops in Mongkok for ASCII, but since ASCII is a huge website I suppose the photographer has the shopkeepers' trust there.

    URL for those who are curious.
    http://ascii.jp/elem/000/000/419/419346/

    @ Jacques:
    Can't promise to make it appear soon, but I will see what I can do as it's definitely on my to-do list.

    This will actually part of my goal of trying to get people to understand and apprecaite Hong Kong a bit more when Japan is still a land too far to reach. Thanks for bringing it up too though!

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