Well, I've successfully come and gone... or is it went and returned? There really wasn't too much unexpected on the trip. Most of my time was spent hanging out with friends, and for the odd 30-60 minutes of dead time I had inbetween I'd pop into an arcade. Here's some random thoughts on the trip that I should've been posting as the trip happened.
-I've forgotten what it's like being in a smoker-friendly country as a non-smoker. The arcades are especially rough.
-Akihabara was pretty much the same. I didn't buy anything that rare. In fact, most of what I bought was in the "junk" stack. I even bought a few games for less than 100 yen. The rest were PS2 games that Imissed and got for discounted prices. Katamari Damacy, Growlanser IV, etc.
-I wanted to pick up Inoue Junya's manga Otogi Matsuri (which I did) so I went into the Shibuya branch of Mandarake. I knew they had a game section, but alwasy assumed they'd have nothing special. They had a nice selection of rarities in the showcase, and the prices weren't any worse than Akihabara... some were better. I wound up getting all 6 books of Otogi Matsuri, btw, which is so far a pretty cool book.
-G-Front has about 10 ESPRade boards... none of them have the original instruction card.
They did have a Progear w/ original card, but no comic strip (the one thing I need).
-I dropped about 12,000 yen on JLPT Level 1 books, as I've decided I need to get off my ass and pass this test one day.
-There was not 1, but 2 Claire model Dreamcasts at Trader 2 the day I first went. they were roughly 27,000 yen each. The next time I went, they were both gone.
-Trader 2 also had Heim Waltz and Eyeful Home both for under 50,000 yen, although I think they sold the Eyeful Home.