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Isetan has done me the great favor of going on Sale. In Malaysia, Sales are big things, loved by millions. We love sales so much, here in Kuala Lumpur they have sales all twelve months of a year, and the government declares thrice-yearly national events called Malaysian Mega Sales, so everyone can go on Sale at the same time and outdo each other in slashing prices. I love Malaysia!

I got myself far too many pants, all at 50%-70% discounts. Work/casual pants were going for RM24 (USD6), jeans for RM35 (USD9). I now have pants to last me the coming year and I'm still within budget. Now all I have to do is survive one week without falling prey to the evil whisperings of local shoe shops as I pass them with their pretty, pretty sandals and their horrible, horrible SALE signs and their terrible, terrible "RM29.90-49.90" labels and we can all coexist in peace.

Vincci damn well better not go on sale. They're the best shoemakers evah, I have far too many of their products, and they make such pretty sandals. They make them in my size. And they make them to last. I have far too many sandals. My toes look like they were mummified and pickled. I don't NEED more sandals! *whimper* Yeah...um...I pass Vincci, two branches of them, everyday. So they damn well better not go on sale.

Clearly, the gods of J-rock have taken to shining their wee spotlights upon me, and have bestowed the gift of serendipity. I also mourn the passing of Salem Music Station, whose masses of Japanese music I'd somehow managed to pass over completely in spite of the fact I lived right across the street from one of their stores for NINE WHOLE YEARS. Of which about only six of those years were spent lusting after Japanese animation and film, and about two of those actively seeking Japanese music (... with specifically only one year with the actual purchasing ability to support legal means of pursuing it). *forehead whack*

Anyway, sometime between January and now, Salem Music Station at Ampang Point was taken over by Music Valley, with most of Salem's old stock still in place, just seriously not updated. I happened to wander in this afternoon, not really expecting much. Music Valley had tons of Japanese soaps in VCD box sets, and lots of anime, I don't really know what drove me to go poke around in their backshelves, but I did. And what do I find? Morning Musume, Mr. Children, Kuroyume and YEMON! Triad Years Act 2 is now so very mine! They also had X Japan's Dahlia, so that too is now mine. For RM38.90 each, this is beyond any of my expectations.

Also finally got my chance to do a (very quick) tour of Bukit Bintang Plaza and Sungei Wang. Sungei Wang is tricky to navigate. The architects had all the planning sense of rats, which would be an insult to rats. A thing to remember is that BB Plaza and Sungei Wang are two seperate shopping centres in the same building, joined at the hip. It sounds weird, and it is. So my tip to newcomers would be: always look at the floor. Pink tiles belong to Sungei Wang. White tiles belong to BB Plaza. If you're ever lost and not exactly sure which building you're in, this will help you find your way back.

BB Plaza has no music stores, at least, none that its directory could speak of. BB Plaza does have Diamond Comics and Basher Graphic Books, both fun places to poke around in.

Sungei Wang has music stores on nearly every corner. I went to every one. In an hour and ten minutes. My feet are killing me. Twasn't worth it from the point of buying anything, but I did learn a lot about Sungei Wang, other than that Famous Amos still calls to me like a lighthouse in the middle of a stormy sea (it's the SMELL! I cannot resist the smell of chocolate chip cookies!), and Teppanyaki has been around for as long as I have been alive (I used to drink orange juice and eat gyoza there when I was three).

Victoria Music Centre (Lower Ground Floor, Sungei Wang)

Keywords: W-inds, Utada Hikaru, Hamasaki Ayumi, Mr. Children, L'Arc

Has an entire Japanese section that includes pretty recent releases (they had L'Arc's Smile and Hiki's Exodus). They organize by Male/Female/Group, which is to say it can get pretty unalphabetical, so be prepared to poke. They also have really sweet and helpful sales staff, and if you're not into J, K or C music, they have a very extensive list of other music readily available, with impressive discographies. Recommended.

Music Valley Ivory (Ground Floor, Sungei Wang)

Keywords: Mostly girls...

Has a Japanese shelf, mostly pop, mostly girls. None of whom I really recognize, except the absolutely unavoidable Hiki and Ayu.

CD-Rama (Ground Floor, Sungei Wang)

Keywords: Utada Hikaru, Hamasaki Ayumi

Carries some Japanese CDs, all scattered among their Chinese CDs under Chinese Male Artists around the back. Organization is absolute mayhem. I quite think hunting around here is a waste of time.

Hong Kong Video (First Floor, Sungei Wang)

Keywords: Utada Hikaru, Hamasaki Ayumi, BoA, Do As Infinity, OSTs

Has a Japanese shelf, filled up with the above. Also has a seperate anime soundtrack shelf nearby, with the soundtracks of Inuyasha, NGE, GTO, etc. that I highly recommend because they're going for RM19 a CD. This complements their anime VCD section at the front of the shop, ensuring that you can now own all your favorite shows and immerse yourself in the music too. Recommended.

Sunshine Comics (Third Floor, Sungei Wang)

I may have gotten the name of this shop wrong. I do remember it as a Sunsomething Comics, but completely forgot to write the name down. This is a big manga/anime/J-drama/OST store, with yellow neon signboards, pretty hard to miss. I only had about three minutes to wander through it, but they have a nice OST rack (looks like direct Japan imports), and of course these walls of anime. They were playing a concert VCD while I was there, which I was told was "Masked Rider Concert". I didn't know people held concerts in celebration of Kamen Rider, nor do I dare to discern why. There was a singer who sang a rock song I didn't recognize but whose face I swore I should've recognized. He looked like Chachamaru (GacktJOB), of course he's not Cha, but same curly hair, angular features, build, bag of bones. Has a voice like Toshi (X Japan). Weird. Wished I knew who he was.

Music Valley (Ground Floor, Ampang Point)

Keywords: Morning Musume, Kuroyume, Mr. Children, Glay, Hide

I Bought: Yellow Monkey (Triad Years Act II), X Japan (Dahlia)

Ex-Salem Music Station. They have a Japanese rack stashed at the back next to Instrumental. It's not marked. Just look down till you see the five or six rows of CDs with kana on the covers. Since this place is clearing its Japanese stock, all of these CDs are quite dated, and thus, quite cheap (RM 38.90 per CD). You might also want to poke into their anime and J-drama sections, both pretty extensive. It's recent enough that they even carry VCDs of Gilgamesh. Recommended.

CD-Rama (Second Floor, Ampang Point)

Keywords: Utada Hikaru, Hamasaki Ayumi, SMAP, Glay, Dragon Ash, Dir en Grey, L'Arc, BoA, DAI

I Bought: L'Arc~en~Ciel (Real)

The thing I love about CD-Ramas is that if you're a member of Popular Books, you get an additional two or three dollars off each CD. Ampang Point's branch updates its stash pretty often, and the staff is lovely. They have a consistent habit of stacking their Japanese CDs under Chinese Artists, but the AP branch also has an actual Japanese shelf nearby. I found dusty and unloved copies of Real and even Diren's Gauze! Recommended.

Tower Records (Concourse, Suria KLCC)

Keywords: COME HERE FIRST!

I Bought: L'Arc~en~ciel (Tierra, Heart, Smile), Yellow Monkey (8), Sads (Conclusion of Babylon 2000 DVD)

Has a very extensive Japanese section, perfectly organized and frequented by actual Japanese people. Always remember to pick through the titles even if it's just a stack of the apparently same CDs. Some of their imports go through Taiwan or Hong Kong, so the copies at the back might turn out to be RM10 cheaper than the copies at the front. CDs here move fast. I made the mistake of turning my back on an RM39.90 copy of L'Arc's original Dune for one day, and it was gone by the time I returned. Tower imports new stuff often too. They have the full discography for L'Arc, including the re-released Dune. Also remember to go through their DVD section, as they carry a number of interesting concerts from people like X Japan, B'z, Sads, SMAP and even those blasted girls...for RM48.90! COME HERE FIRST.

Best Denki (First Floor, Suria KLCC)

Keywords: Dragon Ash, DAI

Has a Japanese shelf, quite dated. Cheaper than Tower (RM 40), but only has about 20 CDs.

Sony Wings (Second Floor, Suria KLCC)

Keywords: ?