Tokyo, a long day in the city. Where to go next? So far we have seen the city at night, today we step into a bright and colorful landscape. Some of our group have decided to visit the old part of town. I get out of the underground a couple of stations earlier. "I need to start with a big Tokyo punch in the face for a start!"
Akihabara is also known as Electric City and we are about to find out why. A long and broad street, on each side colorful narrow buildings full of imagery and signs. I am impressed and dazzled. I walk into a small store to dip a first toe into the water of this hyper specialist, almost freaky district.
Manga, figurines, collectors items, the palce is packed. The deeper I get inside the stranger it gets. Shelves full of pictures for sale. Akihabara is a world of extremes. From friendly toys and military robots to kinky stuff. Nothing is hidden once you have passed the doorstep. Outside on the street again the overflow of colors, street life and urban impressions.
This district is also about high tech. I cannot imagine a place on earth where one can find shops so specialized. Akihabara, a buzzing conglomerate of niches piled on top of each other. Step into any building, take the elevator to whatever floor, step into a small room and your jaw will drop. Modell trains, baseball cards, LEDs, transistors. We have seen many specialists. Looking for a headphone? You will find a friendly shop owner who has everything on offer. Crazy Japan.
One of my high lights? I point out a 8-bit graphic behind a window somewhere on the fourth floor of a building. "Let's take a peak inside Steve, this might be interesting". One minute later we are back in the eighties, surrounded by piles and piles of hand held video games. Eldorado! There are three more floors to go and we take our time. Mint condition retro games, often wrapped in the original packaging. Gold mine. Hand held, consoles, cartridges. At the top floor we step into an arcade of big machines. Ready to play? Akihabara, a must if you want to take a deep dive into japanese crazy culture.