PRINCETON: New store showcases Japan’s pop culture

By Lauren Otis, Staff Writer
   PRINCETON — Fans of anime and Japanese pop culture will all be wearing big smiles on their faces with the arrival of the new boutique Niko Niko.
   ”It is like a little Tokyo in Princeton,” said Kelly Jung, the store manager of Niko Niko, which means smile in Japanese.
   Ms. Jung — whose smile and animated demeanor matches her store’s ethos — operates the new shop at 20 Nassau St. for her mother, Sun Ko, who also owns Morning Glory, the Asian toy store a few doors down.
   The new store weds Ms. Jung’s interest in Japanese pop culture with her mother’s need in more space, Ms. Jung said.
   ”It was getting overcrowded there (at Morning Glory). She was thinking it was time for an expansion,” said Ms. Jung who, along with her mother, is of Korean descent and lives in West Windsor.
   When Giselle, the ballet boutique, moved out of the storefront in the building, an opportunity presented itself. Niko Niko opened in May.
   Princeton has plenty of adult and children’s boutiques but few shopping options for young adults and “tweens,” which Niko Niko is catering to, Ms. Jung said.
   ”There aren’t many places for juniors to go,” she said, adding the store “has been received well” since opening.
   The shop features clothing and accessories from Japanese and Japanese-American brands including Tokidoki, Kidsrobot, Paul Frank, and Harajuqu Lovers, Ms. Jung said. Cosplay fans and anime enthusiasts will find plenty to excite them, she said, referring to Japanese animated comics and movies, and youth who roleplay and dress up (cosplay is short for “costume roleplay”).
   ”We are going to get more dresses and shoes,” Ms. Jung said.
   Ms. Jung said her mother has built Morning Glory into a thriving business since she opened it five years ago, mostly by word-of-mouth, and hopes to do the same with Niko Niko despite the poor economy.
   ”She’s really brave about that, my mom,” said Ms. Jung.
    Niko Niko is located at 20 Nassau St., Store A, in downtown Princeton. The store is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday and Monday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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