As I confirmed with my poll the other day, one of the major reasons people are studying Japanese language is because of their attraction to modern Japanese culture, in particular Manga and Anime. In keeping with that, this time I would like to talk about one of the best comic shops in Florida, Tate’s Comics in Lauderhill. (There is another store in Boyton Beach, but I’ve never visited there so I will be focusing on the Lauderhill location)
Tate’s comics has been around since 1993, and I’ve been visiting it for at least 10 years. In fact when I visited there a few years ago, I found a comic on display which happened to be from of my good friends from college. I ended up purchasing it and getting in contact with him after that, and we have seen each other at least once every several months since then.
This store boasts 6,000 square feet of goodness, filled with comics, figures, and related items. The store claims it sells “toys” but there aren’t too many toys like you would find in a typical toy store, with comic and other figures dominating. The comic collection definitely has a bias towards American comics, but there are a few shelves of Asian manga as well, and even a few DVDs (a few years ago there was a much bigger Anime DVD collection, but they seem to have given that up recently). When I stopped by a few days ago one of the big sets of shelves was empty and being renovated, hopefully they’ll put more DVDs or manga there.
To be honest, this shop has very little manga or other items written in Japanese, and shouldn’t be compared to a Japanese bookstore like Kinokuniya. If you look around you can find a few, such as Hobby Japan and sometimes an occasional Manga or art book in Japanese. To make matters worse, in the last few years many of the products sold here don’t quite fit with my tastes, being somewhere between “weird”, “eerie”, and “dark”. For those a little sensitive to this type of stuff you might want to keep away from the second floor loft, which contains some extra strange trinkets and some pictures of women wearing provocative clothes. It’s clear the owners are trying to stock up on hard-to-find niche products, and the weird faces displayed in the front window bring home that point. But whatever their strategy it’s definitely working, as they have been gradually increasing the size of their store (see their history on the web page here).
Having said all that, odds are any lover of Japanese culture will find at least something of interest here, from Books on Ghibli history to stuffed animals of the “Cat Bus” from Totoro, Final Fantasy posters to asian art collections you won’t likely find elsewhere. There is also a nice collection of Japanese drinks and snacks, including classics like Pocky. There is also a section of independent comics where on occasion local comic artists sell their wares, like my friend did in the past.
For several years now Tates has held at least one or two events a year, where they stand up a large tent in the parking lot and sell products at a discount. The next one happens to be next month, you can check out the schedule here.
Anyone interested in comics or any sort, or fantasy, should definitely check out Tate’s Comics if they happen to stop by South Florida.