Gaming Moto Azabu


BACKSTREET STORIES
Gaming Moto Azabu

By KIT NAGAMURA

Rather than dwell on the dark side of life at this time, I decide to get my game on by heading to a store just off Azabu-Juban’s main shopping street in central Tokyo’s Minato Ward. Max Game, at the foot of Kurayamizaka (Dark Slope), is surrounded by kids of all ages sitting at tables, strategizing and laughing over decks of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Vanguard and Dream Master trading cards.

News photo
A cluster of century-old homes in Moto Azabu.

Once a button shop, then a candy store, Max Game has for two decades specialized in everything from the flashest video adventures to used trading cards. “There aren’t many places like this,” 30-year-old manager Hiroshi Yoshida explains. “We sell what kids really want. I’d personally like to see kids getting exercise outside, but in our era, there’s no space. At least here they can get out of the house and socialize.”

Yoshida’s words float around in my head as I toggle west on the backstreet behind Max Game. Just past the venerable old building of the Salvation Army’s Azabu Corps, I almost miss a tiny sign painted on a window that reads “Antiques.” Entering a dank stairwell, feeling like a video-game avatar, I locate a low-lit room arranged with exquisite pottery, pendulum clocks and metal deskware.

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