As I said in my previous post of my first day in Japan before I conked out due to jet lag, I was going to hit Akihabara hard today. Although my merchandise buying spree was tempered by the fact that I already had a huge shipment from HobbySearch coming in this month, I found myself a nice set of rare figures to take home with me.
This is the view out of my hotel room. Day started off a little overcast, but no real precipitation occurred, and it never got too unbearably hot either. A very nice day to go a-pillaging the unsuspecting stores of Akihabara.
You can see some of the shops on the main road that runs through Akihabara, which is Chuodori, from my window. It’s where the Warriors Orochi advert is.
Walking down towards Akihabara from my hotel, I encountered a decent-sized row of vending machines. Unfortunately, no pantsu-vending machines, as I think the Japanese government finally got around to banning that, much to the overworked salaryman’s chagrin.
Outside of the Big Apple shop before heading down Chuodori, I saw a huge line gathered outside for some EVA-related event. Not quite sure as I didn’t get a good look at the event display, but I impulsively felt a need to line up as well. This many otaku around something must mean that thing is good, right?
A shot of the Sega arcade center before heading down Chuodori to Akihabara proper.
Akihabara is also an electronics center as well as an anime/hobby mecca. LAOX is one such electronics chain.
The Gamers store in Akihabara. Many of these stores are multiple floors of otaku-related goodness. Each floor features a category, such as figures, video games, manga, etc, and you must purchase whatever you want to buy from a certain floor before you are allowed to proceed to the next floor with your goods.
Some treats outside of Gamers. Maid cookies, mmm. Had some sort of small sandwich for breakfast, and my stomach was already grumbling at this point.
There’s quite a bit of duty-free around here as well, which reinforces the fact that Akihabara caters a lot to gaijin shoppers nowadays. Duty free here means that if you present your non-Japanese passport for purchases over a certain price, you are exempt from the sales tax around here.
A closer shot of the store featuring the Warriors Orochi advertisement seen from my hotel room. It’s a Sofmap store, a chain of Japanese electronics retailers, that specializes in video games.
While most of the action in Akihabara is found on Chuodori, it has many tributary roads featuring smaller electronics shops and specialty stores.
Further down Chuodori, you can find the other Sofmap store which is more oriented towards general electronics.
Inside, you can find deals such as this 1 yen Dell Mini 9 netbook, but you have to purchase a data plan for wireless Internet in order to get it for that price. Danny Choo obtained his Dell Mini 9 for 100 yen in a similar deal, which he details in this blog post.
Now heading down south on the eastern side of Chuodori, towards the Animate, another excellent shop for anime goods.
From inside the Animate, on the figure floor. I thought I was going to walk out of this a few bags heavier, but then I realized I already had most of the figures that I wanted from their selection already. D’oh! Foiled by my own pre-orders.
Don’t tell any of their employees about these photos though, as you aren’t supposed to take pictures of their goods here. That was the case with a lot of the stores around here, and I don’t have many photos of store interiors because of that. I snuck these in though, as my camera runs silently and is fairly small.
The Animate also has a cosplay floor as well, and I noticed a few other cosplay-oriented shops as well. Perhaps I shall decide on my cosplay for Otakon this year here and pick one up, although most of these outfits were oriented towards shoujo.
Life size Rei and Asuka outside of an arcade. Anybody else pumped for Evangelion 2.0: You Can [Not] Advance? I can’t wait for Asuka to make her film appearance.
Put your face on a manga character!
Inside the arcades, you can find these game machines that take around 100 yen for one play and allow you to control a claw to grab hold of figures. These Haruhi Live Alive figures are decent for being game figures, but I already have the first Live Alive set, and I’m completing my Haruhi Gekisou set as well, so I’m not keen on giving up my limited space for figures for even more Haruhi in concert figures.
Further up the floors in that arcade, I found a Half-Life 2 arcade machine. Instead of using a mouse and keyboard to control Gordon Freeman, you use a joystick to control where you shoot and some sort of control stick to control your movement. It looked like Half-Life 2 alright, but there was a running score total that flashed across the screen whenever you killed enemies and complete objectives.
I also managed to sneak in this pic of the next Banpresto Ichiban Kuji set, of which I already have the Macross Frontier set. The next one is focused around Gurren Lagann, and includes Gurren Lagann with its drill piercing the heavens, Yoko, and an imposing LordGenome. Am considering getting the Yoko, will have to sleep on it. Her back does look a little broken, the way its bent.
On the side roads of Akihabara, you can find smaller specialty stores such as this Kotobukiya shop that sells figures and other character goods.
Some of these stores are good bets to find rare figures released in days past, while the larger stores like Animate and Gamers generally stock the latest mass-produced releases.
These stores are also good bets to find figures such as these, which are great ways to make your non-otaku houseguests and future in-laws uncomfortable as you display these around your house.
This was all before lunch as well, so my stomach was really grumbling at this point. We went to a restaurant underneath the Akihabara train station. This sashimi bento set was 980 yen.
This chirashi bowl with soba in soup was around 780 yen. Very good stuff, and just about the right portions, replenishing my energy for the afternoon pillaging.
I walked far enough north on Chuodori to see the anime/manga stores begin to thin out and normal civilization begin to appear. There was a Mos Burger up here as well, didn’t eat there though. I turned around at this point and went back into the embrace of otakudom.
One of the many meidos on the street handing out flyers for their respective meidocafes. I went to one before dinner, I’ll detail my experiences later.
Akihabara after the sun goes down. The nightlights here are bright and colorful, but not obnoxious flashing and neon like you would find on Times Square in New York City.
I went to the @home Maid Cafe before dinner.
Four floors of meido! I went to the 4th floor with just restaurant-style seating, but the other floors had karaoke and stages for performances. There was a 700 yen seating charge, but there was a combo deal at 1400 yen with a drink, a dessert, and a picture with the meido of your choice. You aren’t allowed to your own pictures here.
This is the poster outside of the meidocafe. I ordered with my combo deal a melon soda, a mashiro fuwafuwa usapyon cake, which was a scoop of cream as the usa‘s (bunny’s) face, and whipped cream and some sort of jam as the usamimi (ears). My meido was pretty cute, and she also did the Moe Moe Kyun! pose as she served me. I then had my picture taken with a maid, but it was a Polaroid. I will post that at some point in the future, after I blur out my face to avoid Internet-wide embarassment.
Afterwards, I went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner, to taste what spin the Japanese give to Chinese food.
Chicken and leek noodle soup.
Soy sauce noodles. Dinner wasn’t bad, couldn’t really detect a difference between this and other Chinese noodles I’ve had in the past.
Final loot for the day. I already have a School Festival Tsuruya-san figma coming in the mail, but I picked up this one for Mikuru. I also got my hands on Saber Lily in the Fate/Unlimited Codes PS2 box.
I also picked up a Kyou, which is a prize figure. You could also get a Nagisa from the same game machine. Along with these are two oldies that I stumbled upon and just had to have. Alter’s Sawachika Eri from School Rumble in her bikini, and GSC Henrietta from Gunslinger Girl, which happens to be one of my favorite shows, and I already have the Amie-Grand version with her firing her P90 submachine gun.
I also got two t-shirts, one with the Haruhi gang in concert, and the other with Yoko from the Gurren Lagann movie. One more full day in Akihabara to add onto this loot, and then its off to an onsen. Maybe I can find that mythical hole drilled into the divider between the male and female sections.