Monday, December 8, 2008

toy hunting in taipei

I just found out last weekend that Taipei is a good hunting ground for... designer toys!

How to find them: First, take the subway to the Zhongxiao Dunhua Station and get out at Exit 11. There, you'll find the Dinghao Shopping Center (above).

On the third level of Dinghao is Monster Taipei (above), a store which sells all kinds of toys, including Bearbricks. Jen Huang, the owner of this store is the driving force behind the Taipei Toy Festival, an annual event that has put Taipei on the map when it comes to designer toys.

Here, the staff will gladly give you directions to the next store (below).

Monster Gear, the sleek, upscale version of Monster Taipei, is only three blocks away. At this store, you do not have to sift through boxes – all the toys are properly displayed behind clear glass, like easy targets. If you're also scouting around for fashionable street gear, just go down the basement.

A rainbow of Bearbricks adorn the door of Monster Gear.

(Above) The next stop is Hot Dog Toyz, a two-minute walk from Monster Gear.

The store (which is on the 2nd floor) is neatly organized – it's the sheer number of choices that will confuse you!

It's the best place to find Bearbricks in Taipei (or in the world, even) – look at this display! Thanks to the wonderful salesperson (I forgot her name); she gave me two (2) free 'secret' bears because I spent so much – haha!

Finally, there's Paradise Toys, only a minute away from Hot Dog Toyz. Not quite 'paradise' in terms of size but definitely worth a visit.

In my experience, the hunt for designer vinyl toys is not easy. They are only available in a few specialty stores that are often hard to find. Even in big cities where such toys have a large cult following – New York City, San Francisco, Paris, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei – you'd better come armed with Internet research if you don't want to go home empty-handed.

Happy hunting! :-)

(Top photo) The 'She' Bearbrick (wearing a cheongsam) was created by Jen Huang of Monster Taipei for the 2005 Taipei Toy Festival in Taiwan. It belongs to a set of six – the others were designed by Pal Wong, Mark Chang, Nathan Jurevicius, Brothersfree and Push Comics.

Info from www.taipeitimes.com / Pics by yours truly

11 comments:

sunny lucero said...

ahrrmmm! parang taipei will be my next destination!

Bearbrick Lover: said...

Haha! Sunny, because of Taipei's strong youth culture, not only toy stores thrive, even hair salons make good business. The young Taiwanese have the trendiest hairstyles I've seen in the world. No bad hair days in Taipei! :-)

fiona said...

hi! wow! your bearbricks must be complete by now!

anyway, do you have any idea how to enter fourxthree's site?

Bearbrick Lover: said...

Sorry, Fiona, no idea. It seems to be under construction. :-/

bbx said...

hi guys, fourxthree fell on some hard times. Nonetheless i'm pleased to let you know that it will open up again in some form or another before the year is out (fingers crossed!) Thanks for all the support. Stay Tuned.

Awesome post btw! What is the language situation in Taipei? Anyway I'm stumped cuz I haven't been to Hong Kong yet either...

Bearbrick Lover: said...

BBX, I am looking forward to the fourxthree relaunch.

Taipei is like Shanghai. Not very many people speak English and all (?) the road signs are in Chinese. But somehow, we got by with maps and sign language. :-)

andy b said...

Nice photos! Glad you had a nice trip to our fair city.

But please don't compare Taipei to Shanghai LOL. The level of English here is at least 10X better than in Shanghai (which I've traveled to several times). Plus I think you'll find people in Taipei juuuuuuust a bit more friendly and helpful. ;-)

By the way, there's also a new CI Boys store near Paradise. And, you missed Tin Tin toys, which is on the floor above Monster Taipei.

I've also written up the Taipei toy scene on my blog (http://kaijukorner.blogspot.com/) and will be adding to it after I take shots of the newest stores this afternoon.

Taiwan is a hidden gem in East Asia that too few people visit. Just for the food alone (including veggie friendly deiciousity!) it's worth a visit. :O)

Bearbrick Lover: said...

Andy b, I'm glad my friend invited me to visit Taipei, I really enjoyed it! It's less hectic than Hong Kong, but exciting as well. I love how the youth art/culture is very progressive. I will definitely go back there for another visit. :-)

leo said...

nice. ill keep this blog in mind next time i go back. good looks son

Anonymous said...

Hey, cool site! I stumbled across this site looking for places to buy toys in Phuket. Sadly, The Manga store is gone. Can you edit your post so others won't go vainly looking for it? Thanks!

Bearbrick Lover: said...

Hi, Anonymous,

Which 'Manga Store' are you talking about? The one in Central World in Bangkok?

I don't remember mentioning that info in any of my blog entries. Which blog entry are you referring to?

Thanks!