(English follows) 呪術廻戦領域展開フェア２０２１になんとか行けました！超遅くなったので案の定何にも残っていませんでした！いや、Tシャツ2枚とか人気のないアクリルスタンド1枚とかステッカー2枚とかアクセサリー指輪のみのような悲しいい光景でした。まあ、でも私の狙いは特別デザインのTカードなので無事にゲット！よかったら写真を見てくださいね↓
Sorry I’m late for this event! You know what happens to late-comers at the party: they miss out on all the spiked punch and have to drink tap water the rest of the evening xD
Another Extremely Popular Jujutsu Event
The Jujutsu Kaisen Ryōiki Tenkai (Domain Expansion) Fair 2021 opened on March 26, and I’ve had it on my calendar for a week or so before that, thanks to the SmartNews app which never fails to alert me on Jujutsu-related events.
“Go to a Jump Shop between March 26 to April 11” was what I wrote in my schedule. After numerous interferences and unnamed diversions and a whole bunch of excuses, finally, this Sunday, April 4th, I managed to get my lazy ass to a physical Jump Shop. These shops are run by the Shueisha publishing empire and sell official merchandise of their most popular manga and anime.
I think one of the things that turned me off from going earlier was that the state of emergency in Tokyo and surrounding areas made it so that you had to make reservations via an app just to enter the store, and you had to specify a date and time. Date is fine, but time? How do I know I won’t be distracted playing the latest gatcha (capsule toy machine) at a game center and not forget about the time? I hate it when I’m asked to be in front of a store at exactly 11:30 or my spot will be forfeited.
Anyway, whinging aside, on Sundays anyone can enter the Jump shops without the scheduling app, so I made sure to go this particular Sunday else there really will be absolutely nothing left on the very last day (a Sunday) of the fair. It was a smart decision, relatively speaking, as I did get what I wanted.
Inside the Jump Shop
First, in the cover image above is the Jump Shop, one of the fourteen in the country. I’ve been to several stores in and near Tokyo in the past years and all of them have this red-and-black theme.
At the very front of the shop is the Jujutsu shelf, with a banner containing a manga drawing of the four main characters: Yuji Itadori in front, with Nobara Kugisaki holding a bouquet of roses at the back, next to Satoru Gojo in sunglasses and Megumi Fushiguro with his mouth in an O-shape. Below the banner is the shelf where the merchandise is supposed to be.
There are keychains, pinback buttons, cookies with the character faces printed on them, postcard sets, photo sets, clocks, flat acrylic figurine stands, coaster sets… As you can see, most of them have sold and the shop is out of stock.
What was left were a couple of t-shirts, some stickers, one not-so-popular group acrylic stand or photo plaque (I think most people prefer individual figurines with die-cut shapes, and not the group ones that are a boring rectangle). And then there was the custom jewelry, called “accessory” in Japan.
A bunch of customers were constantly crowded around the glass case and I couldn’t take a picture without people being reflected on the glass. Click here to get a better view of the products. Each costs JPY2,200 (about 20 USD).
Judging from the number of available purchase cards, the Gojo series (blue stone) has run out of rings and had only one necklace and one pair of earrings left, while the Sukuna series (red stone) has run out of necklaces and had one ring and one pair of earrings left, meaning customers can no longer buy a whole set. I can imagine someone wanting to do so and cursing the person who bought one piece only, thus ruining the set’s availability xD
Taking Photos with a Cutie
Then there are the large cardboard cutout standees which you can take pictures with and pretend you’re part of the Tokyo Jujutsu school. One of them’s the same illustration as the fair banner, but with the characters shown in their full-body glory.
I’m wondering why Itadori’s hair is more light brown than pink. Honestly, I like the pink hair on him, it’s such a nice change from all those anime/manga main protagonists having dark hair.
Needless to say, the most popular cutout is Gojo-sensei. People were lining up to take photos with him, and I stood behind a group of giggling middle school girls, who were taking turns photographing each other next to the standee.
“Shall I take a group shot?” I offered.
They squealed in the affirmative and one of them handed me their phone, so I took a photo of them copying the figure’s pose. Stills are fine, but in this day and age it’s all about video, so I also took a short vid of them hamming it up, to post on their Instagram Stories or Tiktok or whatever that app was xD
Mind you, I didn’t do the above out of the goodness of my heart, or because I’m a nice person. I did it so I can have my turn and then get on with the day’s itinerary 🙂
Jujutsu Kaisen Tsutaya Point Card
On to what I really came here for, this one:
Anyone who’s been to Japan even for a short period of time would have noticed the ubiquitous Tsutaya logo, a minimalist design consisting of the bright yellow letter T against a blue background. This famous logo was designed by an equally famous (well, in the commercial design world, at least) product designer, Kashiwa Sato. He also designed the logos for Uniqlo and Rakuten, all giants in retailing in Japan.
Tsutaya first started as a video rental store, but it grew and grew until it became one of the most recognizable brands in the country. Their loyalty system, known as T-point, is now implemented by hundreds of other stores. That means you can earn T-points by purchasing something from one of the shops. What makes a consolidated point service great is that you won’t have to have a loyalty card for every damn store. That would be a nightmare! Who’s got the energy to carry around hundreds of cards or hundreds of apps while shopping?
When I first came to Japan years ago as a student, the T-card was one of the first things I acquired. It was a good idea, as lots of places participate in its point program. From bookstores, music shops, and movie theatres to ticket stores and streaming services, to travel reservation sites and hotels (including Airbnb), to camera shops, photo studios, sports retailers, convenience stores, delivery services, drugstores, DIY shops, restaurants, haberdasheries, to gas stations, car maintenance services, movers, builders, recycling shops, hairdressers, to banks and other financial institutions, to work placement services, airlines…you name it, there’s always a place you can use the card.
As for what to do with the points you earn, you can exchange them for goods, or invest them, or donate them, or turn them into digital currency. If you’re a traveler you can convert your points into airline mileage. Me, whenever I online shop at a participating store then I use my accumulated T-points to pay for the purchase.
Here are the usual run-of-the-mill T-cards, for comparison:
The top right one is a credit card with a T-card built-in, and the one below it is a regular T-card (the orange sticker is from Autobacs, a car parts shop). On the left is the Jujutsu Kaisen T-card I purchased at the Jump Shop, still in its packaging.
There’s actually very little need for a physical card anymore since there’s an app that can be scanned in lieu of the card. But then it’s still helpful to carry the card around in case you (1) forget your phone at home, (2) lose your phone, or (3) run out of juice and forget to bring your charger. So yeah, I still carry the card with me just in case.
Carrying the Cuties Around
Anime and manga are part of life in Japan and there’s always a design collab with a famous one, but Jujutsu Kaisen is the only one I’ve ever really loved enough to actually *buy* a card for. The regular yellow-and-blue T-card is free, but these special edition ones are not. It cost me JPY 550 (less than 5 USD at the current exchange rate on April 5).
Is it worth it? Absolutely! It’s nice to take the card out of your wallet and see the adorable babies: Gojo being naughty as usual and sticking his tongue out, Fushiguro looking pissed as always, Itadori smiling and producing blue-colored cursed energy, alongside a pretty Kugisaki gripping her trusty hammer, all the while with the handsome but evil Fake Geto grinning wickedly in the background. Oooh boy, he’s gonna make these four suffer terribly in the months to come! xD Just looking at them puts a smile to my face 😀
- Getting a new T-card doesn’t mean you’ll lose your points with the old one, or start from scratch. You can easily transfer the points from the old card to the new one.
- As of yesterday, I counted the number of available purchase cards for the T-card and there were eight. It’s a store-by-store thing, though. Some stores might not have any left, while others still have a bunch in stock.
- The custom jewelry began selling on April 2nd, so that’s why there were some left when I went. Not sure about this week, though. Again, depends on the store.
- New products will be announced on the 9th, with the final day of the fair being on the 11th. The new merch are: square-shaped pinback buttons, a blue pouch with a pattern of the characters’ chibi faces, and a Gojo towel in blue saying, “It’ll be okay, because I’m the strongest,” one of his most famous lines in the manga 🙂
- For those without an accessible Jump Shop physical store, there’s always the Jump online shop. It won’t last forever, though, and the cookies and student ID card-shaped badges are all gone, just like in the physical stores 🙁
That’s it for my trip to the Jujutsu Kaisen Ryōiki Tenkai (Domain Expansion) Fair 2021. Hope you enjoyed this take on a slice of life in Japan.
Thank you so much for reading! Please take a moment to share a thought or two in the comment section below. Your comments give me life and are a real source of encouragement. xoxo – hana