By Dana Wierzbicki
I feel like it’s one of those well-known, weird rumors you hear in high school: the mythological Japanese dirty-panty stores. From the moment I was accepted into study abroad, I had my list of “Questionable Things to Do in Japan,” and hunting down a place that actually sold this legendary underwear for purchase was on it. Some people feel the need to prove the existence of Nessie. This underwear was my personal Nessie.
I decided to plan a solo trip to Tokyo, because I somehow managed to only make friends with girls who had already planned romantic trips to the big city to meet up with their boyfriends. How sweet. So I made my own plans for visiting a couple museums and the Imperial Palace, got a ticket to see a sweet Japanese band and then began the important search for a location for Panty Raid 2010. Surprisingly, or maybe not, there were tons of guys on the internet wanting to know where to find these places too, and I found one person who had mapped out exactly how to get to a place that had them, complete with visual cues from one of the train stations on my route. It was almost like God himself wanted me to get there.
Fast-forward to late one mid-December evening; I got off at the Shibuya train station, semi-shady directions in hand, mentally preparing myself for the long journey ahead. I already set my affairs in order and asked my friends to call the police if they hadn’t heard from me within the hour, because by then, I would most likely be dead in the back of the store or sold into sex slavery. I followed the directions, and within five minutes, I was standing nervously in front of the store wondering, “Is this really such a good idea?” A few seconds later, I decided “Definitely” and went in.
I’m not going to go into much detail describing the store, so just use your imagination and put in more used merchandise than you’re used to. I will say, though, that there were a lot to choose from, but only a picture of the original owner was on each package. When I picked up the package, I realized that the rumors were true! It wasn’t a sham. Inside the package, there rested actual dirty panties. I saw a stain. I paid and had some awkward conversation with the cashier, where he asked if I wanted to “donate” and I said “UH…haha…no.” He complimented my Japanese, though, so that’s a plus?
I left the store, Panty Raid completed and headed off to the comfort of a cat café to pet cats, drink tea and do that little “YES!” motion along the way. The most important “Questionable Thing” was complete, and the panties would probably be the best gift I would give anyone from my trip. Mission accomplished, Nessie caught.