Japan staycation

In order to karaoke to the Vapors' "Turning Japanese" with true authority, get schooled on everything from samurai spying to shochu-sipping hot pots.



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Toy Tokyo (91 Second Ave between 5th and 6th Sts; 212-673-5424, toytokyo.com) is the best place to beef up your Munny collection or form a new obsession with some quirky plaything. Owner Israel “Lev” Levarek points to his current best-sellers: a key chain shaped like an edamame bean ($9.99) that makes a snapping sound, and the Gloomy Bear, an adorable pink critter with blood disturbingly spattered over its body, mouth and nails ($9--$35).

The selection at Kinokuniya Bookstore (1073 Sixth Ave between 40th and 41st Sts; 212-869-1700, kinokuniya.com) is dizzying in its scope—the three-floor store is jammed with more Japanese photo books, anime, manga, art texts, magazines and J-pop CDs than you’ll ever know what to do with, not to mention a basement filled with stationery, pens and Hello Kitty trinkets, each more whimsical than the last. (There’s also a Cafe Zaiya on the top floor, with cheap Bento box lunch deals ranging from $5 to $8.) But if you’re more of a cheapskate literary type, stop by BookOff (49 W 45th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-685-1410, bookoffusa.com), a Japanese chain bookstore whose New York location sells used tomes in both Japanese and English. The $1 bin is also worth a rummage.

Inside info

Mayonnaise and squid are common Japanese pizza toppings.

Experience Japanese culture | Eat and drink like the Japanese | Shop like the Japanese

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