The time I spent in Akihabara was pure, nerdy bliss. I couldn't go anywhere without being surrounded by all of my favorite things. The first time I got to walk around and explore the hundreds of stores was no exception.
It was Saturday afternoon, and I was heading back from the Washinomiya Shrine.
|A KFC at a train station.|
I was happy to be back in the plaza, where the size of the crowds had increased dramatically. I started by crossing the plaza and climbing the stairs that led to a bridge across the street.
On the other side of the street, there were several canopies set up, so I decided to check that out first.
They were all set up on the sidewalk just east of the main road. I could see the tall buildings covered in colorful ads through the thin alleyways.
They were selling all kinds of goods. Everything from figures to accessories to clothing was lined up on blankets and tables. I stopped by a stand with a multitude of T-shirts and had a long conversation with the man in charge. He wanted me to promote his soccer team to my foreign friends, and I didn't really have the heart to tell him I have absolutely no interest in sports. Eventually I bought 2 shirts from him. They were both covered in art and hilarious Engrish. I also explained to him what Engrish is, but he didn't seem incredibly amused.
After I managed to break off the conversation with her, I found my way over to the towering displays of capitalism along the main road.
I wandered the streets a bit, trying to figure out my way around the maze of buildings.
The first place I went was Super Potato. I already documented my visit to the Super Potato in Nipponbashi, but this place was a whole different experience.
The games themselves were amazing, but there was also lots of merchandise. Books, toys, and decorations everywhere I looked. They had demo systems set up, including a Virtual Boy! That's right; I got to try the failure of a predecessor to the 3DS for the first time.
On the top floor was an arcade, with lots of video game branded candy and beverages on sale. There was also a life size statue of Snake, because why not?
I thought about hopping on one of the machines, but it seemed like kind of a waste of time, since most of the games there were games I had played before or had easy access to in other formats.
|Their employees only area was marked in an unusually creative manner.|
|I want that poster. So badly.|
After buying a couple of things from Super Potato (no games, the games were way too expensive), I crawled the streets some more.
I found Mandarake, another chain I had visited before.
|That's not a name that would fly in America.|
The Don Quijote in Akihabara was positively gigantic. At eight floors high, there was pretty much nothing you couldn't buy there. Apparently it was also the birthplace of AKB48, so, if you're looking for somebody to punch in the face for that, Akiba's Don Quijote might be a good place to start.
Restrooms are really hard to find in Akihabara. Some stores have them, but they are usually well hidden. It seemed to me that the only reliable place to find one was the train station. My body still wasn't at 100% from the time I got sick, so this was a bit of a problem for me. Anyway, I left the station from the other side of the tunnel, and I came out in yet another huge, densely crowded part of Akihabara.
There I found a whole new slew of otaku-oriented stores. I had heard of Gamers, and it was actually a place I wanted to check out, so I went in.
"Gamers" wasn't actually a very fitting name for the store. It did have a floor with games, but it was mostly manga and anime goods, much like Animate. On my way down, I noticed there was some kind of event going on one of the floors, but it was closed off. I think it was a Yuru Yuri related event, because I ran into a Kyouko cosplayer, and a pretty good one, at that!
The next noteworthy place I discovered was Kotobukiya. As far as anime-related merchandise goes, I don't think anywhere else came close. They actually had a better collection of Kyoto Animation merchandise that the KyoAni store did!
I kept wandering, enjoying the sights and sounds. It was a pretty crazy atmosphere. I even... is that guy taking ducks for a walk?
I decided to take a look at Mandarake, because if the Super Potato in Akihabara was that much better, that giant black obelisk of a building must be too.
It was quite a large building. There were 8 floors, if I remember correctly. The first floor was dedicated to trade-ins, and there were two floors in the middle exclusively dedicated to porn. No joke. (There was a floor for male-oriented and a floor for female-oriented content)
Just like Den-Den Town, around 8, all of the shops began to close up. Many were open later, I'm sure, but I decided to take some pictures of the beautiful lights contrasted against the night sky, then I called it a night and headed back to the Khaosan Ninja.