Just got back from a short day in Akihabara, and about to pass out due to jet lag. Will power through this, although this post might end with a jumble of letters if I fall asleep on my keyboard.
Took off from Philadelphia International Airport early in the morning, arrived at Detroit Int’l, and then boarded my Northwest Airlines flight to Tokyo – Narita Airport. Spent most of the flight playing Resistance: Retribution on my PSP, and then watching the new episodes of K-ON! and Eden of the East on my laptop, and then sat cursing the heavens as they both ran out of batteries while I was still three hours away from Tokyo.
I finally touched down, went through customs, and picked up my luggage. Then I went to purchase a train ticket to make my way into Akihabara, where my hotel was.
This was right outside of the luggage pickup area. Apparently the ticket booth didn’t take credit cards, so I had to hunt down an ATM to make a quick yen withdrawal.
There were plenty of people on my flight wearing surgical masks as a precautionary measure against swine flu infection. One of them makes his appearance below.
The people wearing these masks however were all invariably Asian, while I saw no other nationality sporting these CDC-approved fashion statements. The same thing happened during the SARS outbreak, and you saw lots of photos of people in Southeast Asia wearing these things, while I saw nobody here stateside follow suit. I also found these to be pretty pointless as many wearers took them off in order to talk, which sort of negates the purpose as talking to other people is when you’ll be the closest to them and most likely to transmit any infection.
The JR Express train from Tokyo-Narita Airport to Tokyo proper and then Shinjuku. I got off at the Tokyo station and transferred to the 4-5 Yamanote line, where two stops later I was in Akihabara.
The interior of the JR Express train below. The train didn’t seem like much of an express train though, as it stopped plenty of times in the middle of the tracks and slowed down inexplicably as well on many occasions. It took a little over an hour to make the express journey, and I passed alot of small towns and rice fields along the way. Couldn’t get any pics though as the train was moving and my camera can’t handle that kind of shot, and when the train did stop it was usually always in the middle of a tunnel or next to some electrical substation.
Very few people were on our train as well. Made it into Tokyo at around 4:30PM JST. Was already feeling the effects of jet lag then as I didn’t get much sleep flying coach and playing around on my portable electronics.
At the Akihabara station off of the 4 train on the Yamanote Line. A shot of Yodobashi Akiba, the giant electronics store near the station.
A shot of the Remm Hotel, where I will be spending a few nights at, murdering my wallet in Akihabara.
Yodobashi-Akiba from the front desk of the Remm hotel.
The interior of the hotel room I was sharing with one other person. A much tighter squeeze than I am used to with hotels in the United States and in other countries. There is a nice HDTV and a free internet connection, but no drawers to put clothes in, but there was also a massage chair!
Then we went to dinner at a nice place next to the hotel, didn’t get any pictures though as I was famished and dug right into the meal as it came, but it was fairly standard faire with yakitori, sashimi, and cooked fish, as well as a strange baked potato with cheese and octopus in the middle.
Afterwards we went to check out Yodobashi-Akiba.
Immediately saw an advert for K-ON! as I walked in and knew I was in Otaku-Mecca! I watched all my anime everyday in the direction of Akihabara, and now it is sinking in that I am finally here.
Hung out in the video games section for a while. Saw some games that I think were eroge, but I wasn’t sure because Yodobashi-Akiba seemed like a place that was oriented in keeping the foreign tourists comfortable (English-speaking store associates, English announcements on the intercom, etc), but then again, this is Japan.
The laptop I picked up for the trip to Japan, along with my loot of the day. Since I went back to the hotel after Yodobashi-Akiba, I kept most of my lootage in check. The laptop is an Asus G50VT-X5, and the goods are the July issue of Megami, and the Final Fantasy – Advent Children Blu-Ray that comes with the Final Fantasy XIII Trial version. The laptop’s specs are as follows:
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo 2.13 GHz|
|Hard Drive||320 GB 7200rpm|
|Video Card||NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GS w/ 512MB GDDR3 RAM|
|Screen||15.4″ with 1366×768 resolution|
|Operation System||MS Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit|
I felt this was an excellent buy at the sale price I got it for at $800. It can be found now on Best Buy for $900. It’s powerful enough to play all the latest games and playback HD video (it has an HDMI output so I can even use it as an impromptu HTPC), but it didn’t break the bank, and its manageable at 7.7 lbs with 15.4″ screen size as a fairly mobile device. Battery life is OK at 3 hours on power saving mode.
I took some photos of my favorites in this months Megami as well.
Azu-nyan from K-ON!, along with Mio, Yui, and imouto-character Ui.
The chibis from Suzumiya Haruhi-chan no Yuutsu.
Alicia and Isara from Valkyria Chronicles.
Moar Yoko from Gurren Lagann.
Jet lag is really setting in now, so I’ll be hitting the dusty trail in preparation for hitting Akihabara tomorrow hard.