The creativity involved in Japan's porn industry is on full display at this seven-floor sex goods shop next to Akihabara Station, and the best way to peruse their wares is slowly, from the top down.
The top three floors are given over to DVDs. Hop out of the lift at the seventh, walk past the posters of porn stars, and you're immediately confronted with hundreds of transgender skin flicks and shelves packed with 'mature' content. It's here, too, that you'll find what are billed as used panties, offered as part of a 'gachapon' game costing ¥1,000 a hit. 'Normal' and used DVDs take up the remainder of these floors.
On the fourth floor you'll find all you need to host a rollicking cosplay event, with gym slips and tartan schoolgirl uniforms being the order of the day (tartan miniskirts start at ¥3,500). Things are ever-so-slightly more upmarket on the third floor, where you'll find two rooms of women's lingerie. It's not exactly Agent Provocateur, but it's a little more tasteful than the French maid stuff being flogged upstairs.
Things take a turn for the hardcore on floor two, where whips, masks, ball gags, vibrators and dildos are all present and correct. The most fiercesome looking item we saw was the Robotech Reviber (¥7,800), a frightening amalgamation or dildo, catapult, and the throttle from the cockpit of a Boeing 747 – more an instrument of torture than a pleasurable treat for a loved one.
The store is most most riveting on the first floor, where it's all about fake vaginas and anuses, each promising the most realistic experience imaginable. At the time of writing, the Tenga products were grabbing all the attention (fake throats and vulvas in what look like deodorant bottles; a 'Deep Throat Cup' will set you back a mere ¥850). However, the products that really stood out claimed to be accurate recreations of the orifices of some of Japan's best-loved porn actresses. Why Madame Tussauds didn't think that up first, we'll never know.
One of the most interesting things about a trip around M's is just how normal it feels. Sure, you'll find the occasional lurking man, but it seems to be particularly popular with young married couples. If it weren't for the corkscrew butt plugs on floor two, you might just as easily be in Uniqlo.