12/15/2014

The Grand Finale - Akihabara Fun Part 2


T'was my last day in Japan. That fateful Friday, I spent nearly the entire day wandering the streets of Akihabara. This was the end. The grand finale.



First thing in the morning, I made preparations to check out. This meant cleaning up all of my stuff, folding up my bedding, and turning my back on that little alcove that had served as my bedroom for the past week.





I descended the stairs adorned with strange illustrations of octopus samurai battles, down into the main lobby of the building, heavy baggage in hand.



I gave up my room key to the attendant. Although she intended to just take it directly from me, I insisted on dropping it into the hole designated for checking out after hours, because it seemed kinda fun. It wasn't particularly fun though.





I proceeded to take some pictures of the basement lounge, where I had spent a few nights planning out the following day. It was a pretty nice place, with a kitchen, ridiculously lumpy couches, and a couple vending machines. That Asahi one in particular had served me well.





I had tried to relax in the Japanese-style tatami mat corner earlier that week, but sitting on the floor is only comfortable for so long.





Instead of going straight to Akihabara, I wandered the streets around the hostel first, but I didn't find anything particularly interesting.





After a few minutes, I hopped on the train, straight to Akiba.



I guess I wanted to soak it all in, since it was my last day. It was still a little early, so some places hadn't opened their doors yet. I stopped by a convenient store and got me some of that milky Salt & Litch drink. Yum.

It tastes way better than it sounds.








There were some lines forming outside of the shops. perhaps there was some game or book launching that day. I don't know. Maybe it's like that every day.



I found a Dr. Pepper vending machine. This was only the second time I had ever seen this beverage in Japan. There was also a Steins;Gate promotional sticker on the machine apparently, although I didn't see Steins;Gate until a few months later, so I didn't get that reference.

"Have you lost weight?"


I stopped by Don Quijote again, where the escalators complain about your weight.

"So heavy..."
...And they would rather you didn't sleep in the bathroom stalls.

"Please refrain from using the stalls for long periods of time,
taking naps, etc."


I stopped by a dollar store on the western edge of the district, and bought a lot of candy, for gifts and personal use. There were some itasha parked just beside it, because Akihabara.









I stopped by my favorite T-shirt store once more, but I still didn't buy anything. They were just too damn expensive. Maybe next time.





I did have a list, of sorts. One thing I was looking for was a USB charger for my new 3DS, since I didn't bring anything like that, or have one to begin with. It was surprisingly hard to find, but I did get to see some interesting electronics shops with all kinds of stuff I'd never seen before.




I also went back to Super Potato. Although their prices were a bit high, it was still an amazing spectacle of video game madness.





Even the inside of the elevator was decked out with ads and posters.




I took a closer look at Kotobukiya, as well. Kotobukiya was one of my favorite places in Akiba, because of its in-depth selection of modern anime merchandise.





I had never been to the second floor before, but there was quite a lot to see. They were selling brand new figures and anime merchandise, which was actually pretty rare for Akihabara (most stores only sold used stuff).







It wasn't just anime merchandise. They had some western figures, too.







They even had an entire section devoted to Yotsuba&! I love Yotsuba&!, but I don't think I would buy figures. It was still really cool to see the variety, though.







Alien chopsticks








I had only recently discovered the Akihabara "Cultures Zone," and I was sad that I didn't have more time to explore it. Just to the west of the main intersection, Cultures Zone is a huge, 5-6 story building chock full of figures, manga, and all kinds of other awesome geeky stuff.





This was the only time I saw Rum Raisin,
Kyouko's favorite flavor.






After walking the floors of Cultures Zone, I decided to call it a day. I went and bought the stuff I had been eyeing, and returned to the hostel, where I could hang out in the basement lounge until it was time to leave for my flight.





It was hilarious how much of a discount you could get for a slightly (and I mean slightly) dented box. These boxes are in a landfill somewhere now, probably. I wasn't about to try and jam all of that wasted space into my luggage.


Feeling pretty depressed about being at the end of the line, I tried to decide what to do with my last few hours before I had to leave. In the end I just went back to Akiba.


Round Two





Truth be told, there wasn't a lot left for me to do there. But, just like you want to spend those last few minutes talking nonsense with a friend getting ready to depart, I wanted to see my friend Akiba one last time.





I did see some weeeeiiird stuff, though. This hummer carrying robots with chair-phalluses was probably an ad for the infamous robot restaurant, which I had only slight desire to see.





I stopped by Kotobukiya again, and bought a couple of things, because who needs money?

Deja Vu


I saw a few more itasha.











I took a few more pictures of those beautiful ad-covered buildings.







And I walked away.


It brought tears to my eyes, seeing my favorite place in the world get smaller in smaller, not knowing when I would ever return.



I crossed the street, entered the train station, walked a few minutes across the canal to the hostel to pick up my luggage, and it was just about time for my return trip.


Goodbye, Akiba. Goodbye, Japan.

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