Hello and Konnichiwa!
Check out the previous part by clicking here- https://mwhitehouse22.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/to-the-land-of-the-rising-sun-part-3-give-me-all-the-pokemon/
Going to Akihabara wasn’t that difficult actually, it was very easy to find once we got back on the train, it was only a few stops away and before we knew it, we were leaving the station and were stop in Electric Town! Maps were handy to find your way around the area and this was really helpful as it was a really big area and if you’ve never been here before, you’ll likely get lost if you don’t know where your going. Also, mind out for monks who want money for the smallest trinket, he got 500 yen from me because he saw the coin that I had but I also saw him get 2,000 from a lady as well so beware of people like that in Akihabara! It was world peace and all but as far as I can see 2017 so far…it didn’t work!
Your overwhelmed immediately as you can see shops and arcades everywhere, you don’t have to go far at all, they are literally on the train station’s doorstep! Really handy as I wanted to see everything that I could! It’s strange as I’ve been in city centers that have far less going on than this place does, a district full of life and excitement as everyone is there for the same reason as you (Well most people) some are there for weird reasons…I wanted to look around the stores, buy a few things, play some arcade games and maybe give something new a try!
Obviously, we would spend the next while looking in as many stores as we could and they were all so amazing! Many seemed endless and you always feel like you don’t have enough time to see everything. It was all great but we noticed that in many of the stores, a warning sign would appear on the 2nd to top floor saying you must be 18+ to enter…however, we happened to miss the first sign in a store and…well…need I say more except it was very embarrassing for us both SO BE CAREFUL AND READ THE SIGNS FIRST! They can be the tiniest things though and easily missable, and to be honest, if someone who was under 18 went in…most people probably wouldn’t be bothered, I could swear that a few kids were in an 18+ section in one store but no one batted an eye lid!
In Britain, such things are well hidden away and very hard to access, yet over here, you can easily walk into a shop with….images that many would consider incredibly inappropriate, I’ve never seen Emma go so red! ANYWAY, the stores were all vast in numbers as were the arcades….I can’t remember ever going to as many arcades in one day as I had here in my entire life or spent as much money either….they all looked so much fun, I couldn’t help but try to win giant Pikachu’s or figurines
I noticed quite a few second hand shops for things like models and figurines which was quite cool as the price was quite down from what many other stores was showing, like 8,000-10,000 for a figurine compared to say 2,000-5,000 yen at a 2nd hand store and for someone like me who didn’t own a single figurine, the 2nd hand places were really great
I bought a few at a cheap price but the process of getting them was interesting as they were locked behind glass display cases so you needed to fill out a form, explaining which one you want and such and where it is and the corridors are so small in many of the shops, I felt like a giant in a couple of places, it became a laugh though because I saw other people who weren’t from Japan struggling as well. I was worried about getting it all home as they didn’t have boxes or anything but I decided to worry about that when we went back home. Satisfied, we moved on to look at other stores and every shop felt different yet had essentially the same stuff but some were much broader and had more so we needed to look everywhere
All the stores had so many floors on them, it’s breath taking to how many places you can explore and the wonders that they all have within them. From 6 floor Arcades to 10 floor Anime and Manga shops and of course, electrical stores are all over the place as well, many cafes were spread throughout as well and we often saw maids on the ends of street corners, handing out fliers to attract customers and they were really dedicated to what they were doing as well (which I would find out soon) but what made me love was how often we came across pictures of these girls!
This would become a common theme throughout the trip to be honest, every city we went to had the Love Live girls songs playing somewhere! You couldn’t escape it but in Akihabara, it was often center stage, every arcade had the songs on, most of the arcade games had Love Live prices to grab, many department stores did as well, billboards of them, lift doors with their faces on, people dressed as them! it was amazing as to how much attention was being paid to this show! Yes I know the show is based on this area! My wife that barely knows anything about Anime made us buy the series once we returned home, she liked the music that much!
I decided to spend some time in just arcades and try out some of the games and the majority were crane games with cool prizes in them and weirdly enough, you felt like you could win these ones, unlike the ones at a fair ground in Britain, and I won a few small trinkets like a small bear that looked very evil and a good luck charm! Better than nothing but I couldn’t win any of the Pokemon like Pikachu or Mega Blastoise!
Warning- You may get addicted to the games here and spend a lot of money, be careful!
The arcades are amazing! Absolutely astounding! The amount that we came across could keep you entertained for days one end, mainly because they have floor after floor after floor of games to be played ,like the Pikachu crane game you can see me playing in the picture up above! Like I said before, I spent a bit of money in these places…it’s incredibly hard to not do that though, your surrounded by arcades, cafes and stores that all look so cool, it’s a place that many would call heaven!
Tip for coming here……BRING LOTS OF MONEY, YOU’LL NEED TO EXPERIENCE EVERYTHING!
Afterwards, we started to feel thirsty so we looked for a place to relax for a bit but before we could choose anywhere….a woman grabbed me by the hand and showed us to a stair case and smiled at us, my wife found this to be hilarious as I had no idea what was going on, a random stranger in a maid outfit was dragging me down the street! She still laughs about it to me! As we got to the 5th floor, we stopped in front of a door and she opens it and to be honest, the outfit should of tipped me off but I was the hopeless tourist she had found and brought to her place of work.
We went to a Maid Cafe…that’s right, I was curious to see what it’s really like and I would probably have kicked myself if I hadn’t after coming all this way, I mean if you travel thousands of miles, you might as well do everything that you can, right? That and I didn’t really have a choice, I had a Japanese lady smiling at me and meowing like a cat…it’s already beyond weird but you might as well experience it once…especially as we spent 5,000 yen in total there!
Just to point out, being Autistic, new things can be a bit intimidating but when I was here…nothing made me feel too uncomfortable, weirdly enough, I was too excited to be like that and it made me feel happy that I can overcome nerves sometimes and not let things ruin a good day, overthinking never happened today and I consider that a victory!
It felt like a ritual half the time as our Mid kept making us do heart signs with our hands and wishing for good luck and love and she kept making me meow like a hat. And she kept calling me master the entire time…it just made me smile every time because it sounded so serious but full of happiness, that and my wife couldn’t stop laughing at it. She did ask where we were from and when she found out we were on our honeymoon, she nearly exploded with happiness, seriously, I have seen anyone more happier then that one woman was in that Maid Cafe…she was more happy when I found out what my final grade at University was! We entered into a prize draw or something and I won….cat ears….I won cat ears, to which my lovely wife forced me to wear them for the rest of the experience and even have a picture taken in them
The things I do for that woman! I love her though…It got weirder when another customer in the store won a big prize which was a maid outfit…that he decided that he wanted to wear…not his partner if he had one or anything but him…didn’t bother me, just didn’t see it coming…especially when another maid helped him get changed….I just wanted our food and stuff at this point
Ok so the food was great…don’t understand why you’d put ice cream with cornflakes but fair enough! The performance was quite interesting as well…one maid gets onto a stage and sings a few songs and I’ll admit, it was a fun experience….clapping along and cheering her on, a little different and a little strange and quite expensive as everyone copied her dance moves…well we didn’t as we were sat down but a group of lads were dancing but an experience none the less. She gave me a little heart candle with the word master written on and she wrote my name in Japanese as well which was cool! she wished us a great honeymoon and we even had to do a heart gesture to leave…I can’t remember the words but it made us smile….they did try very hard to make us feel welcome and happy which we were.
At this point, we had spent over 5 hours here and were feeling tired so agreed to call it a day and head back to the hotel and get something to eat but Akihabara was an amazing day…it was more than I expected, so much more, it is a place I would easily want to go back to someday in the future and do it all over again. I wasn’t bored for a single second, even if half the time we didn’t know which way we were going, it was all fun and exhilarating, it was new and exciting! I would recommend trying this place out if you ever come to Japan, you won’t be bored but your wallet might feel a lot lighter by the time you decide to leave. I honestly could not think of a reason why you would be bored at this place, it’s a vibrant and full of life place that brings the kid in you out, arcade games and book stores are the cool thing here and everyone was packing the shops full.
I had to be sort of dragged to the train station, I didn’t want to leave and to be honest, if it wasn’t for my wife, I would have spent a lot more money and had a much heavier case going home…I had regrets for things I didn’t end up buying but was happy with the figurines I had bought, the games I had been, even being a cat! and the experiences I had were life changing, in that case, this place can’t be bad, not if it can make you experience such joy and emotion, even if some things were a bit strange.
I went back to the hotel, satisfied!
See You Next Time!