Sunday, September 15, 2013

Akihabara, Japan

This past Friday I went with a friend from my dorm, Rachel, to Akihabara. It is known as Japan's Electric Town and sells all sort of electronics, anime themed items, and video games. We left in the morning so that we would have plenty of time to explore. When we got to Akihabara we were super hungry, so the first thing we did was stop for some lunch. We went to Curry House Coco, which was very good. I got Fried Fish Curry (フィッシュフライカレー).

I would give this restaurant 3 stars. It was very good, pretty cheap, and the service was great!

After, we decided to walk around and just see what Akihabara had to offer. Our first stop was a gigantic electronics store called Yodobashi-Akiba. Every floor had a different section of electronic goods. For example, one floor was all video games, CD's, and DVD's. The next floor was home goods, like vaccuums and refrigerators. It was fun walking around each floor and just seeing what they had to offer. There were so many electronics, it was overwhelming at times! Next, we stopped in a little arcade. The one we went to was very small, but we saw some other larger ones later on. I can see how people can get addicted to playing at the arcades. There are so many fun things that you can win!

Some of the prizes you could win

A row of arcade game machines

Next, we found the Shosen Book Tower. It is a giant book store, with about 8 floors. Similar to Yodobashi-Akiba, each floor had a different section of books. I was very sad, because I am not very good at Japanese yet, so all I could do was walk around and look at the covers, but I had no idea what all the books were about! I spent most of my time just wandering around the different floors. I did have a few awkward encounters while wandering. When I went on to a few of the floors, there were only men, and they gave me the weirdest looks when I came off the escalator. I didn't really know what was going on at first, but when I started looking around I understood. I was on the porn floor! In Japan, it is completely acceptable for people to walk around reading semi-pornographic manga. However, since most people in Japan can actually read the signs in stores, women don't usually just wander around the porn floors! Once I realized where I was, I quickly got back on the escalator and went to a different floor! It was definitely a small moment of culture shock. I have never really been exposed to things like that, so to have it so out in the open like it is Japan, was very different for me. 

The book store is huge!

At this point, Rachel and I were getting a bit confused. We had been walking around for a few hours, but we hadn't found anything like what we heard Akihabara was like. Where were all the huge anime stores and the flashing lights? We figured maybe we just were getting it confused with other districts in Tokyo, and since it was hot we were going to just head back to the dorm. When we got to the station, I was looking at the signs to see where our train was, when I saw a big sign that said "this way to Akihabara Electric Town". Rachel and I just cracked up, and followed the path, and all of a sudden, we were in Electric Town! 

Electric Town

There were so many more stores here, that I forget all the different ones we went in. So far, I have just seen what would be considered a more normal side of Japanese culture, but going to Akihabara, I definitely got to see a little more of the extreme culture. Anime characters were on almost every building and girls in maid costumes were on street corners advertising the maid cafes that they work in. I'm really glad that we finally found the place that we had been looking for! One of our last stops was a photo booth at another arcade. We took a bunch of pictures, and then got to edit some of them. It was so much fun, and I can't wait till I can go to another! It's a really good way to create fun memories with your friends while you're out and about.

After that we were pretty tired, so we just went back to the dorm. It was a great day seeing a different part of Tokyo! Below are a few more pictures from the day!

Akihabara Street View

View from Shosen Book Tower

Kanda River

P.S. The tea of the day is some more Lemon Tea ^_^ 

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