Day 3 was supposed to be Akhibara in the morning and then the NikeLab store in Ginza in the afternoon. But, I could’ve spent a couple of days going through everything in Akihabara.
Breakfast first, though. The walk from the hotel to Shinjuku station can be done above or below ground. It’s long corridors. Great for rain and cold weather. Had breakfast at Cafe Amati, one of the many places inside the station. Then hopped on the train.
At breakfast it occurred to me that most workers have uniforms. All the staff at restaurants, coffee shops, information booths, etc. Everyone looks so professional. We had heard that English menus were only a subset of most regular menus, and it’s true.
As a family who spends time going to Anime conventions and meandering through the exhibit floor for hours, Akihabara is overwhelming. It’s the dreamland of crazy people like us. I could’ve come back with suitcases of stuff. They have everything, including every Hot Toy I could think of. But, I showed some restraint. Not like we have room in our apartment for more kitschy junk -- I’m sad when I say that. I did bring home a couple of statue things that I won on “UFO” crane games -- think of the Claw from Toy Story -- so, I didn’t leave empty handed.
Everything in Tokyo is vertical. In a lot of buildings, there are multi-level stores, or different stores on each floor. Often, there’s a ramen shop in the basement, a store on the street level and a couple more floors, then other stores or restaurants above that. And, they’re not big floors. Some look like they’re only 400sqft per floor. You get a lot of exercise going up and down stairs.
Akihabara - Kirk was in heaven! There was just so much stuff, it was overwhelming. Think of the busiest day on any comic or anime convention floor and it was pretty much like that in a lot of the stores!
Kirk got all excited when he saw the Gundam Cafe and Square Enix Cafe, but the names were more exciting than what was inside. We had seen photo of a giant Gundam, but that wasn’t here :(
Kirk and the kids are completely taken with the arcades here. They are everywhere, and everyone, and I mean everyone (school children, teenagers, college students, business people and seniors) plays! Kirk and the kids are addicted to the UFO games!
We went to Maid Dreamin’, which is one of many “maid cafes”. The women dress up and serve you in the cutest (or sometimes sexiest) way possible. Kali really wanted to try it, and I think it’ll go down as a highlight for both of them.
The food at Maid Dreamin’ was super cute. The kids loved them. At the restaurant itself, there were tourists like us, local first-timers and regulars. There were so many maid cafes throughout Akihabara - almost to the point of thinking there were only two choices for food, ramen joint or maid cafe. I don’t remember seeing any in the other neighbourhoods but we weren’t really looking for them.
We spent the rest of our time in Akihabara going through more shops. The selection is amazing. Kali got a yoyo.
The Yobadashi Camera store is mind-blowing. It’s like a Best Buy multiplied by 100. They have everything in stock. They even had my Campfire Andromeda earbuds, which are a pretty esoteric item. I spent a while listening to digital audio players and portable DACs. Everything is out on the floor to try. I bought an iPhone DAC.
We had dinner and Kyle finally tried salmon sashimi for the first time, and he liked it. He’s been eating ebi sashimi for a long time, but first time for any fish.
We visited a few cosplay shops but they seemed to only have costumes for adults.
There was a ton of Star Wars stuff next to all the anime and manga stuff. Not really much of other North American comic related things other than higher end collectibles.
The huge Yobadashi Camera store had this camera lens that was so big, I had originally mistook it for a telecscope! Kirk was drooling at all the different models of electronics that he never sees in Vancouver.
The kids had gone through phases where they played with Beyblades and Tamagotchis but those ended a while ago. I thought those were just fads and that they were long gone. But nope, here both of them are still popular for kids. I guess they are small and one simulates a pet which most people don’t have space for.