Last week I embarked on a journey to one of my old haunts in Chinatown. It was completely spur of the moment. It had been a few years since I really enjoyed a trip to Chinatown. I mean, I have visited at least once in the past four years, but this time was very different. I had wanted to visit my favorite store. It was a nice Japanese anime store in the belly of the Elizabeth Center Mall. Everyone who has visited Chinatown knows the store that I’m talking about.
The store was littered with various anime and live action movie posters, Card game boxes on display along with several knick knacks from multiple video games and the like. This was the mecca for any otaku or anyone who just wanted to watch some anime that hadn’t been Americanized by the cable networks. And the owner wasn’t bad either.
I remember as I rode down the escalator, I was expecting to see people lined up outside the store looking at the latest anime poster and while others completed their transactions. But I was sadly mistaken.
I turned to see a jewelry store in its place. Most of the stores were gone and bore a realty sign. My heart sank. I mean this was a place that my friends had introduced me to in my early twenties. It was a part of my youth. I was branching out into a world I knew barely anything about…Japanese anime.
I was brought into a world of some of the most interesting and sometimes disturbing characters. It was fun for me, because it brought forth a world of fantasy that I had never been privy to. It was cool!
However, all the joy I felt was gone as I watched the owner of the jewelry store putting pieces on display in the window.
What happened? Where was the anime store?
Well, luckily for me I knew the owner and tracked him down to the card game store he runs.
I told him that I had went to the other store and he said he had to close it. In a world of streaming and downloading, people weren’t buying anime anymore. This was sad. A place who made a lot it’s revenue based on anime and live action movies and just faded out of existence because everything around it evolved while it didn’t.
Max the owner, had offered me a bundle of dvds for $10. I couldn’t pass up the offer. After all I got to see stuff that I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to watch.
So paid him and I left. It was bittersweet.
As I made my way passed the park, a place where my friends and I had some of greatest conversations ever as we sat and ate pork dumplings. But that changed with the times because no one is allowed to stay in the park after dusk.
Even the Dunkin Donuts we frequented when I had a craving for a chocolate chunk cookie was gone and now replaced another dumpling store which some of you may know- Tasty Dumpling.
With so much change I noticed some things stayed the same. A few stores are still around which provide some comfort.
With what little comfort I got it still doesn’t change that I miss Chinatown. My Chinatown.