BEST OF - Akihabara

I was originally going to call this a series, but... Well, we'll see how that goes. This is a way for me to exercise my blogging power and summarize stuff for people who don't want to read through my posts to find stuff at the same time. I don't like to choose favorites most of the time, but it's kind of hard to think of any place quite as wonderful as Akihabara. As the nerd capital of the world (that's what I'm calling it) it is a perfect place for someone like me.
Part of what makes Akihabara so great is its wackiness. I like to think of myself as a unique person who likes unique things, and Akihabara sure is that. While I was in Akiba, I saw:
A man walking ducks.
A hummer carrying a couple of statues endowed with chair-phalli.
Lots of itasha.
Walls plastered with ero-game advertisements.
Maids from maid cafes, waving potential customers in.
Okay, you probably have to really squint to see the maid in that picture. Truth be told, they didn't really like having their pictures taken. I get the feeling many aren't exactly proud of their job, or perhaps they were told to behave that way by management. Either way, I didn't take many pictures of them.

Super Potato

What I was really framing in that shot was Super Potato, one of the most famous (and most expensive) retro video game shops in all of Japan. There are several strewn about Japan, but the one in Akiba is the largest of them all as far as I know.
There are 3 floors packed with all manner of retro video gamey goods, from Game and Watch handhelds to guide books and magazines dating back to the '80s to local and imported cartridges and discs of all older generations of consoles.
They also had gaming-related merchandise, 8-bit chiptunes playing over the speakers, and consoles set up for testing and demoing. In fact, the entire upper floor was an arcade, with a small candy shop, a full size statue of Snake, and retro games galore.

The Product

There are a few things about Akihabara that will really make or break the experience for a person. How nerdy are you? How much anime have you watched? Are you willing to throw away a little pride to put that figure on display in your room? Can you read Japanese?
I can imagine one who lacks enthusiasm about all nerdy things "not getting" Akiba. But there is a boat load of stuff to see, buy, and admire in general there. And there is variety.
Military stuff, for that lovely crowd.
Train... sets?

Actually, those last two pictures are from the same store, which, while lacking the simple charm that the smaller stores on the main street of Akihabara have, is pretty much a one-stop-shop for all manner of technology and nerdy things and pretty much everything else, too. That store is Yodobashi Camera, another chain store whose prices aren't phenomenal, but selections are.

Yodobashi Camera

Yodobashi Camera is absolutely massive. And they have everything.
I live in backwater, isolated Utah, so a store that carries computer components is already an unheard-of commodity, but to see them in a multi-story department store like this is even more amazing. An entire half of a floor was dedicated to parts like these, and that may not sound like much, but you have to understand just how massive Yodobashi camera is first. Half a floor is probably an entire city block.
True to their name, they do have cameras, and lots of them. An entire floor is dedicated to camera-related stuff. I could see myself going broke here if I was a camera nerd. Luckily, I'm largely satisfied with my high-end point-and-shoot.
And of course, it wouldn't be an "everything" store without figures of cute anime girls. Unlike most places in Akiba, though, everything is first-hand, brand new, so prices were a little outrageous at times.
They even have a section labeled for Kotobukiya figures. Kotobukiya is another chain store, which could be found just a couple blocks away from Yodobashi, so I thought this a little strange.


Kotobukiya was one of my favorite places, because they seemed to have a higher density of stuff I cared about than other stores. I don't know why.
They had an entire section devoted to Kyoto Animation, which was awesome, but also irked me a little, because the selection was way better than the actual KyoAni shop, which I went to back in Tokyo nearly a month prior.
Their stock wasn't limited to anime stuff, though. There also had Star Wars figures...
And Alien-inspired chopsticks, because why not?


Akihabara is a beautiful place. Perhaps the vibrant colors and glimmering lights of commercialism aren't to everyone's taste, but I constantly felt lucky just to be there, surrounded by everything I love.
On Sundays, the street is closed off and turned into an open plaza where pedestrians can freely walk.
Some of the best times I had in Akiba were just the result of wandering the streets, in and out of stores. The first time I really visited on a Saturday, I was presented with this:
On the side of the street, sellers without shops had setup tents and laid out blankets or tarps to sell their supply of anime goods, among other things.
Halfway through, I came across this display of T-Shirts. After having a conversation with the owner (he wanted me to join his soccer team or something), I bought a couple of his T-Shirts. They aren't Japanese-made, but I still treasure them as an awesome reminder of my adventures in Akiba. This was one of two T-Shirt stores I came across. The other was inside a building near Mandarake.
As much as I loved their T-shirts, I just couldn't justify spending the money on them. Most of them were 45 dollars, although there were some cheaper ones. If I could go back and convince myself to buy that Jet Set Radio T-shirt on display in front of the store, I would.
That just about covers my collected adventures in Akihabara. To end this post, I will throw in a few more photos of the beautiful advertisements and consumerism adorning the walls of the buildings there.
Please let me know what you thought of this post. I'm trying to hammer out my writing style, quality vs. quantity, and I'm refining the format of my posts a little bit as well. If you have any suggestions, compliments, or just want to make fun of me, the comment box is ↓↓down there↓↓


  1. Ahh this place looks like heaven!

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