Friday night I got back home from a quick little trip to New York City! I was there for the Adobe 99U Conference and had a great time. The conference was sponsored through where I work and the concept surrounding the conference was “creativity is future-proof” – it was a very educational way to think about the future as a designer (which is my day job), and left the conference feeling very inspired and motivated to do awesome work in the future.
One of my favorite things I heard from the conference speakers is how important it is to pursue other creative ventures that will come to inspire your work in return. The job that I do for work is primarily on the web and designing interfaces, but just as important to me is getting offline to work with real tangible objects and think in a different way than from what I get on the computer. All in all, I feel better than ever about design and about the creative hobbies I pursue outside of work!
In my free time away from the conference, I had a few chances to check out some stores around NYC. If you’re looking to do some kawaii shopping while in the city, this should be a pretty decent list of things to check out! Check out the Google Map here for where all of these locations are.
Kinokuniya: The NYC Kinokuniya is a force – three levels! The main level has the regular bookshop with a giftshop in the back (heavily cat-themed), while upstairs is all anime and manga with a bunch of CDs, DVDs, and artbooks. There’s also a tiny Japanese cafe up there with sushi, bubble tea, and other Japanese fare… including a fantastic view of Bryant Park. The basement of Kinokuniya features their Japanese magazine selection, Japanese books, and a bunch of stationery! Washi tape, stickers, Traveler’s Notebook and more… Kinokuniya has stuff you won’t be able to find at any other shop in the United States.
BOOK-OFF: A short walk from Times Square is BOOK-OFF, a Japanese store with one shop in New York City. While the BOOK-OFFs here aren’t as impressive (or cheap) as their Japanese counterparts, this is a good place to go if you’re looking for Japanese books, manga (English or Japanese), and CDs.
Koryo Books: I don’t know a lot about K-pop, but this store had a ton of k-pop goods, including Kakao Friends stationery and other Korean stationery goods. Worth a stop if you navigate to Koreatown (also stop at the Hmart across the street for Korean and Japanese grocery shopping!). There’s also a k-beauty store attached to Koryo Books, so if you like awesome skin care, it’s a great store to check out.
Nintendo: I love Animal Crossing and Pokemon, so I was really excited to visit my first Nintendo store! They have a bunch of cool memorabilia and merchandise and games to play. It doesn’t hold a candle to going to a Pokemon Center in Japan, but if you like Mario and Zelda, there’s a lot here for you.
LINE FRIENDS: This is the only LINE FRIENDS store in the United States! LINE FRIENDS New York City is a plethora of cute and so worth a stop. Times Square is hell to navigate, but this one is right on the main strip (Broadway and 45th) and with a huge screen outside, you can’t miss it. Inside is a giant Brown you can take a picture with, and loads of LINE characters, including the popular BT21 characters designed by BTS. BT21 easily takes up a half of the entire store, even with a dedicated room in the back with giant sculptures of them and signed canvases by BTS. The merchandise ranges from plush to apparel to lots of stationery, and all of it is so cute.
Daiso: Daiso is really the promised land. We don’t have them in the Midwest, to I make it a point to visit any Daiso I can go to when I am on the West Coast. But now, there’s a Daiso in New York City just outside of LaGuardia Airport! It’s very easy to take a cab there on your way to or from the airport and there’s lots of great stationery that hasn’t been accessible to this side of the country yet. I know it’s a bit out of the way, but don’t miss it! You won’t regret it. The shopping center it’s in is very nice and also has an Asian grocery store and multiple bubble tea places. Best of all, it’s not crowded like Manhattan.
If you’re still curious about what you can find at LINE FRIENDS and Daiso, check out my haul video below! You can also check out my Journal With Me video recapping my time in NYC.
I’ve been making big updates to my stationery collection lately (self-spoiling birthday month lol) and will have a lot more haul/review videos soon. I’m also working on some personal pet projects that have been totally indulgent, but fun. I’ll share those soon, too! On top of that, I’m attending Anime Central this weekend and will be doing a big review of it afterwards. See you then~