I changed my mind. Harajuku can have someone else.
I was born to live in Akihabara.
Akihabara is an area of Tokyo known for selling electronics. More specifically, it’s known as a center of “otaku” culture—you know, anime, manga, video games—all the stuff I know and love.
So this place.
Is my paradise.
The main street in Akihabara, or “Akiba” for short, is jammed with multi-story shops selling all sorts of goodies from the latest, trendiest anime series. Figurines, manga, DVDs, CDs…
As if that wasn’t good enough, the street is also filled with arcades. Except these aren’t American arcades, with those old, clunky games of skee-ball and whack-a-mole. No, these games are the latest and greatest. And people get hardcore about them.
I, for one, tried out this awesome taiko drumming game…
…and also my all-time favorite, Dance Dance Revolution.
One thing that surprised me, though—crane games are actually a huge thing here! We have them in America too—those rigged machines where you try to scoop a stuffed animal with an incompetent mechanical claw. Arcades here had floors full of these crane games. And they introduced all sorts of new gimmicks, such as
I thought they were impossible—but then I remembered that this is Japan, where level = Asian. And I saw a girl walk by with her bag of crane game prizes:
Not all of Akiba is shiny shiny fun time, though. Sometimes the stores would delve into… more mature culture.
Sometimes, you don’t even see it coming.
What really got me the most about this place, though, were the maid cafes. These (extremely expensive) restaurants feature little Japanese girls dressed in cutesy maid outfits, speaking in very high-pitched voices and acting as “kawaii” as possible. The entire street was full of maids, handing out flyers for their café. These themed cafes weren’t restricted to only maids, however. I saw schoolgirl cafes, catgirl cafes, even a schoolgirl-themed massage parlor. I’d like to not think too much about that one.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to go to a maid café, which is extremely disappointing. Perhaps one day. But for now, I got to go to Akihabara—a place I’ve been dreaming of going to for ages! It was a beautiful thing.
Though now I’m down about ten million dollars. Hey, it’s not every day I get to go to Tokyo. It was worth it.