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Japan truly is the place to live your best otaku life.
Our Japanese-language reporter and manga artist Udonko recently heard about a special spot in Tokyo just for otaku: Cura, a massage clinic made for and run by fellow nerds (and yes, that name is a reference to the Final Fantasy healing spell).
Udonko had never been to a massage clinic before, but had seen a Tweet about the clinic’s head therapist taking days off to visit art exhibits of one of Udonko’s favorite games and real-life adventure inspirations, Touken Ranbu. Why not start at a place where they had something in common?
▼ Apparently, this happens often. These are just some of the signs saying Cura’s head massage therapist is taking the day off.
— 整体ケアルラ@日本一オタクの集う＆推し語りのできる整体院です (@msgCura) October 6, 2022
It was easy to get to the clinic located just outside of Shinjuku-gyoemmae Station. As soon as Udonko entered, she was met with…
▼ …otaku goods, otaku good, and more otaku goods.
Anime, games, manga, you name it–there were goods everywhere. Udonko spotted the Touken Ranbu items right away, confirming the hearsay from Twitter.
But what would the actual massage be like? She started to fill in the form and noticed some obviously not-medical-related questions right away.
▼ “Please tell us your oshi [favorite characters or performers].”
The box to fill in your oshi was quite large compared to the other spots to fill in since it’s meant to give you enough space to write your oshi for anime, manga, game, voice actors, and so on.
▼ There are even checkboxes for common fandoms like Final Fantasy and Pokémon.
Udonko checked off the Love Liver, Pokémon Trainer, and Saniwa (Touken Ranbu player) boxes, still not sure how much that would influence the massage experience. She never thought the day would come when she filled out a form confirming her status as a Touken Ranbu player.
After filling out the form, she proceeded to the massage booth, which was bursting with as many goods as the rest of the clinic.
▼ Even the ceilings had Touken Ranbu paraphernalia.
The massages are also specifically catered to otaku, offering courses for after attending concerts, before attending concerts, before cosplaying, and even ones for V-tubers and artists. As an artist herself, Udonko went with the artist course. She expected them to only focus on her shoulder area, certainly stiff from drawing and staring at screens all day, but the course also included the legs, the back, and more.
The massage was excellent, to say the least. She’d gotten massages from family members before, but this was relaxing on a totally different level. At some point during the massage, the head therapist started a conversation with her.
“So you’re a Saniwa?”
Finally, otaku talk! “I went to the Touken Ranbu live-action play the other day for research and I was surprised at how excited everyone was for it,” the head therapist continued. Hold up, for research? Udonko was impressed at such dedication.
It was thoroughly enjoyable to talk about game-related events they both participated in, stage shows they’d both been to see, and more. The Touken Ranbu franchise covers a wide spectrum of media, so it takes real dedication to hold a conversation about all of it.
Just when the conversation was getting deep, though, the therapist said, “All right, we’re done here.”
▼ Wait, what!?
That only felt like 20 minutes, Udonko thought. But a glance at the time told her it had been the full 60 minutes. Time flies when you’re talking oshi talk.
As for the massage, it was fantastic. Udonko’s shoulders had never felt this relaxed, and the effects lasted over the coming days as well like a true Cura spell. So if you’re looking for a good massage and good nerdy conversation, Udonko highly recommends visiting Cura! Just note that the head therapist and other staff may not always be there depending on where their oshi activities takes them.
Seitai Cura / 整体ケアルラ
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 1-15-4 Sekiguchi Building 1st floor
Open Noon-10 p.m. (Monday), 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (Tuesday-Saturday), 11 a.m.-9 p.m. (Sundays, holidays)
We got a massage and talked games at Tokyo clinic made for and run by otaku
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