This Is Why I Shouldn’t Have the Power to Design My Own Pokémon Shirt

You’re reading the fourth chapter of my eight-day travelog recounting my unbelievable trip to Japan to cover the 2023 Pokémon World Championships.

If you already haven’t, be sure to check out the other chapters:

Day 4 – Psyduck Fan, Unleashed

7:45 am – I wake up actually feeling rested for the first time since we got to Japan. The first stop of the day is to Pokémon Center Shibuya, and then we’ll be set free to explore the area, shop, and eat, so I figure I should have a light breakfast. I go to the buffet and grab a Malasada donut, Spanish omelet, croissant, orange slices, berry pastry, chocolate pastry, coffee, orange juice, thin pancakes with berries, and a piping-hot slice of lasagna.

8:25 am – We pile onto the bus and start our journey to Shibuya. It strikes me how this is our fourth day here and the World Championships haven’t even started, yet we’ve seen and done an astounding amount of stuff. We’re getting the full experience, indeed. This feeling continued to strike me for the next two hours.

10:25 am – Two hours later, we arrive at Pokémon Center Shibuya, on the sixth floor of the Shibuya Parco shopping mall in Tokyo. This is the third Pokémon Center of the trip yet there are still new things to be found. The first thing that catches the group’s eye is the newly released Wigglet plushie. As you can see, it looks totally fine and there’s nothing more to say about it.

Nothing to see here. (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)
Nothing to see here. (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)

10:35 am – I see a line forming behind a set of machines and discover they let you design your own Pokémon shirt!

Let's do this! (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)
Let’s do this! (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)

A few minutes of waiting and I’m on a console scrolling through all of the options. There are a decent amount of layouts and styles, and I’m drawn to the one where you can display your team of six Pokémon.

I've been given too much power. (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)
I’ve been given too much power. (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)

I decide to imitate those Pokémon Trainers from the games that have a team full of the same unevolved Pokémon and then the last one is the evolved form, but with my favorite Pokémon, Psyduck!

My masterpiece is complete. (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)
My masterpiece is complete. (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)

After submitting my design, an attendant tells me it takes an hour for the shirt to be printed and prepped for pickup.

10:55 am – On the way to the checkout line, I find a Pikachu hand fan and decide to make what would be the most important, life-saving purchase of my entire trip, because it somehow feels even hotter today than it had before.

11:23 am – With my purchases in-hand, I pop over to the Nintendo Store across from the Pokémon Center and say hello to the Hero of Time. I’m tempted to buy something here, too, but manage to exercise some self-control. First time for everything!

Oh hi, Link! (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)
Oh hi, Link! (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)

11:41 am – We decide to grab some food and wind up in the mall’s lowest level, a basement with mirrored ceilings full of different restaurants. I order mackerel with herbed breadcrumbs that comes with a salad, mashed potatoes, with a side of tangy-spicy sauce. It’s the bomb.

11:55 am – The bus is going to leave soon, so we circle back to the Pokémon Center to pick up our shirts now that they’ve had time to be printed out. It’s magnificent.

I'm wearing this every day until the end of time. (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)
I’m wearing this every day until the end of time. (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)

3:00 pm – After a bit of downtime, we meet up again to attend the Pokémon x NHK Symphony Special Orchestra. We’ve been running around so much these past few days, it’s a nice change of pace to sit back, relax, and enjoy some fine Pokémon music.

Now that's what I call music. (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)
Now that’s what I call music. (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)

Part One of the program treats us to classic music from the various places the Pokémon World Championships have been held over the years, finally ending here in Japan. It’s a fun trip down memory lane that shows the legacy of the competition, the cool designs from past Worlds, and the many players who have made a name for themselves over the years. It’s a fitting tribute that captures the excitement and camaraderie that every Worlds creates. It also reminds me that my first Worlds was 2016 in San Francisco.

The very best orchestra. (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)
The very best orchestra. (Photo by Joshua Yehl, IGN)

The second part of the program treats us to the opening theme of every main series Pokémon video game, while the third is a selection of tunes from the Paldea Region. The show culminates with “Victory Lies Before You!” from Pokémon Black and White, an energetic piece that ends things with a bang. It’s a fantastic choice go to go out on, as it leaves me feeling pumped up for Worlds to kick off tomorrow. Besides, everyone knows Black and White music just hits different.

5:20 pm – The excellent orchestral performance gives me just enough energy to make it back to the hotel. The tiredness of the past few days finally catches up with me and I pass out on the bed without eating dinner or taking my clothes off.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for Day 5, when the Pokémon World Championships finally begin!

Until then, check out our other coverage on Pokémon Worlds:

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