The last time I was in Tokyo, I stopped by Akihabara the “Electric Town”. For tourists, it’s known to be the spot to get deals on new or unreleased (in their country) electronic devices. So you can get the coolest stuff before anybody at home does. It’s also known as the favorite spot for Otaku. A friend of mine’s told me that Otaku can mean freak as in you like something a lot so you’re a freak. So if you like golf then you’re a golf freak or golf Otaku. But in today’s world I believe the word Otaku refers to a dude who is shy around women, nerdy, and/or geeky. They are typically into electronics, computers, cameras, anime, toys, and women. Except that they don’t actually hook up with women. They just love them from a distance. That’s why when you go to a Japanese book store there are so many of those model “pictorial” books. These are full on bound books printed on super nice paper with pictures of one scantily clad model who is either cute, sexy, pretty, or all of the above. In America we don’t have full on picture books on Lindsay Lohan or Hillary Duff right? We have Otaku here in America, but in America we have Warcraft and internet forums so the American Otaku just stay home. It’s cheap to be an Otaku in America because electronics, computers, and cameras are WAY cheaper than Japan. The whole Otaku culture is just not as developed over here in the states, but it does exist. So anyhow, my friends and I visited Akihabara and here’s a photo log of my tour. For more info on Otaku and Akihabara, watch “JDM Insider: The Kanto Tuners”.
First my friend Jeff had to buy a new camera. Of course he got the Kodak Easyshare V705 with the dual lens. This is the ultimate point and shoot camera (I got one). The Casio EXLIM 700 is badass too, but Jeff exchanged it for the Kodak. Everybody’s getting one; you should too! Anyhow, the name of the building was Yodobashi something or other. Right outside the Akihabara train station you will see the BIGGEST electronics store in the world. Imagine 3 Macy’s put together and you got Yodobashi.
Afterwards we met up with Jackie who writes for Primedia, Gary from Design Craft Fabrications, and Alan from Sparco’s buddy (sorry man I forgot your name). One hot spot for Otakus are the “maid cafes” so we decided to check one out. Maid cafes are where young girls (sub 25) dress up in, you guessed it, maid outfits and they act very animated like a fantasy based anime character. For example, you walk through the door and they say stuff like, “Welcome home master. It’s been a long time. I’m so glad you’re here!!!” No shit…they really say stuff like that. They don’t allow pics inside so that totally sucked. We went and had coffee, lunch, snacks, etc. The whole time the chicks/waitresses were acting super animated and cute. Just like they popped out of one of those fantasy type anime movies. It turns out you can play games and chat with them for 500 yen for 3 minutes. So that’s approximately $100/hour. You can play board and card games like Uno and Chutes and Ladders. You can even BUY their maid outfits for about $300. What a trip….
Damn, this is turning out to be pretty damn long. Stay tuned for part 2 of my Akihabara adventure.